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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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(novel), (novel) | 2 more credits »
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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 Tiny Spark Becomes A Night Of Blazing Suspense. 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)
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Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)| (Japan theatrical release)

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.55 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Based on two novels: "The Tower" by Richard Martin Stern, and "The Glass Inferno" by Thomas N. Scortia and Frank M. Robinson. After the success of The Poseidon Adventure (1972), disaster was hot property and Warner Brothers bought the rights to film "The Tower" for $390,000. Eight weeks later Irwin Allen (of 20th Century Fox) discovered "The Glass Inferno" and bought the rights for $400,000. To avoid two similar films competing at the box office the two studios joined forces and pooled their resources, each paying half the production costs. In return, 20th Century Fox got the US box office receipts and Warners the receipts from the rest of the world. See more »

Goofs

The "main generator" is said to be "blown" Besides it being nearly impossible to "blow" a generator simply by running it (it would more likely seize up due to inadequate lubrication or bearing failure) the system shown is clearly NOT a generator as it has a belt shroud and belt drive that a generator wouldn't need. See more »

Quotes

Lorrie: [smelling smoke] Did you leave a cigarette burning?
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Crazy Credits

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

Connections

Referenced in Fame (1980) See more »

Soundtracks

We May Never Love Like This Again
Maureen McGovern sings
Words and Music by Al Kasha and Joel Hirschhorn
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Frequently Asked Questions

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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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