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The Towering Inferno (1974)

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

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Lisolette
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Jernigan
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Bigelow
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Paula Ramsay (as Sheila Mathews)
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Giddings (as Normann Burton)
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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:

One minute you're attending a party atop the world's tallest skyscraper. The next... you're trapped with 294 other guests in the middle of a fiery hell. See more »

Genres:

Action | Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

1 January 1975 (Singapore)  »

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
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In his ridealongs with the Los Angeles Fire Department, Steve McQueen actually took part in dousing a blaze. See more »

Goofs

There is an obvious stunt double for Paul Newman's character when he is falling down the blown-up staircase after the gas line explosion. At the same time, the stunt double keeps dropping himself from one part of the staircase to another until he reaches the bottom, instead of falling down in a more seamless manner. See more »

Quotes

Doug Roberts: I thought we were building something that... where people could work and live and be SAFE! If you had to cut costs, why didn't you cut floors instead of corners?
James Duncan: Now listen. Any decisions that were made for the use of alternate building materials were made because I as a builder have a right to make those decisions; if I remain within the building code and god-dammit, I did!
Doug Roberts: [Chuckling] Building code? Jesus. Building code. Come on, Dunc, I mean that's a standard cop-out when you're in trouble. I...
See more »

Crazy Credits

The 20th Century Fox and Warner Bros. Pictures logos don't appear in the beginning. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Good Times: The Enlistment (1975) 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
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Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Classic star-studded disaster film....

With the likes of INDEPENDENCE DAY and DIE HARD, which were both influenced by THE TOWERING INFERNO, a new awareness of the potential of the disaster film emerged, culminating in the likes of DEEP IMPACT, ARMAGEDDON and the more recent THE CORE.

The definition of 'all-star cast' and 'star-studded' has changed substantially in the last few years and in fact, the true star of THE TOWERING INFERNO wasn't any actor or star, but the late Irwin Allen, whose career in this type of film ended with the poorly-received WHEN TIME RAN OUT.

The film, which was adapted from two source novels, THE GLASS INFERNO and THE TOWER (both of which were bought by rival studios Fox and Warner to compete at the box-office - and then decided at the last minute to pool their resources into creating a single script) is impressive in scope and design.

For the uninitiated, one of the books deals with a disgrunted ex-employee who decides to cause an accident which starts a fire and in some ways that would have made a more intriguing storyline, but the plot of the actual film which involves cost-cutting to electrical circuits which causes the fire int the first place works as it is.

At a running time of 158 minutes some may think the film too long. In this day and age there would have possibly been test screenings and some cutting of the film, but since the success of TITANIC at the box-office longer films have become the norm. Indeed, the more recent HARRY POTTER and LORD OF THE RINGS movies are in this bracket (although the upcoming KILL BILL story that the three-hour film will be split in two may pave the way for shorter lengths!!) Mind you, THE GREAT ESCAPE is of similar length and that film moves at a cracking pace.

Steve McQueen is on screen less than some of the other stars in the film, but his performance is the best and complements others on show.




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