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The Towering Inferno (1974)

PG  |   |  Action, Drama, Thriller  |  20 December 1974 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 28,543 users  
Reviews: 193 user | 92 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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Won 3 Oscars. Another 9 wins & 13 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Paula Ramsay (as Sheila Mathews)
Giddings (as Normann Burton)
Jack Collins ...
Mayor Ramsay


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


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


Action | Drama | Thriller


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

20 December 1974 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Flammendes Inferno  »

Box Office


$14,000,000 (estimated)


$116,000,000 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

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


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Of the 57 sets built for the production, only eight remained standing when filming ended. See more »


When they were fighting the fire on 81, before the explosion, we see the exterior of the building and parts of it were scorched but no fire was present See more »


Doug Roberts: I don't know. Maybe they just oughta leave it the way it is. Kind of a shrine to all the bullshit in the world.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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


The More I See You
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

The Best Of The Disaster Flicks?
3 April 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

"Disaster Movies" were a big hit in this era, with airplane crashes, earthquakes, fires, etc. This one made huge fires and firemen fashionable for awhile. It certainly had people talking, and it may have been the best of those "disaster" flicks.

The movie certainly had an all-star cast: Paul Newman, Steve McQueen, William Holden, Faye Dunaway, Fred Astaire, Susan Blakely, Richard Chamberlain, Robert Vaughn, Robert Wagner and (gulp) O.J. Simpson. Even Jennifer Jones came out of a long retirement to return to films. It was really nice to see her again.

What really surprised me about this film when I watched it earlier this year was that the special effects were still good, and the film is almost 40 years old. It was also good to see Steve McQueen being the good guy again. He was the best character in the film. The worst was William Holden, who turned out to play a lot profane-spewing nasty people as soon as the Hays' code was totally abolished in 1967. Same thing for Paul Newman. McQueen, meanwhile, kept his class as did Jones, of course, and Astaire.

The film is almost three hours long but, a few soap opera scenes aside, it's a solid adventure story that holds up well and it served a good purpose, making hotel owners more aware of potential fire hazards.

43 of 62 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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