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The Towering Inferno (1974)

PG  |   |  Action, Drama, Thriller  |  16 December 1974 (USA)
6.9
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 27,065 users  
Reviews: 190 user | 89 critic

At the opening party of a colossal, but poorly constructed, office building, a massive fire breaks out that threatens to destroy the tower and everyone in it.

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(novel), (novel), 2 more credits »
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Title: The Towering Inferno (1974)

The Towering Inferno (1974) on IMDb 6.9/10

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Won 3 Oscars. Another 9 wins & 13 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
...
...
Patty
...
Simmons
...
Lisolette
...
Jernigan
...
...
Bigelow
...
...
Paula Ramsay (as Sheila Mathews)
Norman Burton ...
Giddings (as Normann Burton)
Jack Collins ...
Mayor Ramsay
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Storyline

Doug Roberts, Architect, returns from a long vacation to find work nearly completed on his skyscraper. He goes to the party that night concerned he's found that his wiring specifications have not been followed and that the building continues to develop short circuits. When the fire begins, Michael O'Halleran is the chief on duty as a series of daring rescues punctuate the terror of a building too tall to have a fire successfully fought from the ground. Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The world's tallest building is on fire. You are there on the 135th floor... no way down... no way out. See more »

Genres:

Action | Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

16 December 1974 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Flammendes Inferno  »

Box Office

Budget:

$14,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$116,000,000 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System) (5.0) (L-R)

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The First Interstate Tower in downtown Los Angeles was completed the same year this film was released (1974). 14 years later, in May of 1988, the FI Tower experienced a real-life fire which burned out 4 1/2 floors , ruined many floors above with smoke and floors below with water, and closed the building for almost five months. The fire happened late at night, when only a few dozen people were in the building, and no crowds, traffic or other demands on water hampered firefighters. Only one death occurred, when someone used an over-ride key to force an elevator to the floor where the fire had started, and perished much as was shown happening to elevator riders in the film. The Los Angeles Herald ran side-by-side photos of the actual fire and the fire from The Towering Inferno on its front page the following day. The story of the real fire was told in the 1991 TV film "Fire! Trapped on the 37th Floor" See more »

Goofs

Lifting the brakes on the scenic elevator would not involve cutting wires and shimming relays (unless there was still power, in which case the brakes wouldn't need to be lifted. Manually lifting the brakes would require large wrenches on the elevator machine itself, and could not be done in 30 seconds. See more »

Quotes

[Chief O'Hallorhan has just found out the fire is heading towards the elevator shaft]
Chief O'Hallorhan: You'd better call Duncan, tell him to stop those people in the car room from using that express elevator, or somebody's going to get killed.
[Roberts picks up the phone to comply]
Chief O'Hallorhan: [addressing a colleague] OK, Kappy... ring in a third alarm. I want some rescue squads here and I also want choppers. We're going to need them if we're going to get those people. - All right, come on, firemen. I'll be on 81.
Doug Roberts: [...]
See more »

Crazy Credits

In the comic magazine MAD's version of the film, there is a question asked by the character played by Fred Astaire, that does NOT appear in the film, but by logic should have been asked: "Ten minutes ago we couldn't get down from the building. Now we all are down on the street. How did that happen?" See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Social Network (2010) See more »

Soundtracks

The More I See You
(uncredited)
Music by Harry Warren
Played as the group is heading to the elevator after the tower's lighting ceremony
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

McQueen and Newman create sparks
13 December 2003 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Your typical dumb disaster flick, produced by the king of the genre, Irwin Allen, made notable by the presence of Steve McQueen and Paul Newman who finally agreed to share the screen as equals, something they almost did in "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid." The ever competitive McQueen made his film debut with a bit part in "Somebody Up There Likes Me" in which Newman starred, and one of his ambitions was to finally get top billing over his number one rival. Even with the so-called "diagonal billing" employed in the film and its advertising (with Newman's name elevated slightly above McQueen's), those of us who read from left to right can see that McQueen got his wish. He also got the best role. He's the firefighter, a tight jawed man of action, while Newman is saddled with the less sympathetic role of the architect. But the real star is the burning building. It burns, and impressively at that, but there's something very claustrophobic about this situation which results in less action than Allen's previous smash, "The Posiedon Adventure."

But the acting is better. In addition to McQueen and Newman, the cast includes Richard Chamberlain (particularly good), William Holden, Faye Dunaway, and Fred Astaire. That's an improvement over Carol Lynley and Eric Shea, both of whom Gene Hackman had the misfortune of emoting with two years earlier. Whatever one thinks of this particular genre, "The Towering Inferno" is probably the best of the bunch.


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