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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 27,360 users  
Reviews: 192 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 fancy "blinkenlights" computer which runs the Glass Tower is an IBM AN/FSQ-7 Combat Direction Central, built in 1954 to protect the US from Soviet bomber attack. About a dozen of them were installed around the US. Based on vacuum tube technology, the 'Q-7 in action took up the whole first floor of a "bomb-proof" concrete blockhouse, and generated as much raw heat as five single-family houses. The whole system became obsolete when missiles replaced manned bombers as the main threat. Components of decommissioned systems were sold for scrap and bought by film and television production companies who wanted futuristic looking computers, despite the fact they were built in the 1950s. The components used in this film were previously used in _The Time Tunnel (1966)_ and _Earth II (1971)_, and later used in Futureworld (1976) and Independence Day (1996). See more »

Goofs

When the helicopter is bringing the scenic elevator down, in one shot you can see the top of skyscrapers, then within seconds, it is only 20 or so feet off the ground. See more »

Quotes

Dan Bigelow: I used to run the 100 in 10 flat.
Lorrie: Don't go.
Dan Bigelow: I'll be back with the whole fire department.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Connections

Referenced in Série noire (1979) See more »

Soundtracks

The Morning After
(uncredited)
Written by Al Kasha and Joel Hirschhorn
Played at the party when Roberts is first reporting the fire to Duncan
See more »

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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