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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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4,336 ( 97)
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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...
...
...
...
...
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Simmons
...
Lisolette
...
Jernigan
...
...
Bigelow
...
...
Paula Ramsay (as Sheila Mathews)
...
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:

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:

20 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
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Paul Newman later regretted his decision to co-star with Steve McQueen because of the rivalry between the two, created by Steve. As a result, the fireman role dominates over Newman's architect. Three contributing factors are 1) Both characters have the same number of lines (at McQueen's insistence); 2) McQueen's character doesn't appear until 43 minutes into the film. As a result, Newman had used almost half his lines before McQueen enters. And 3) the fire chief is the authoritative hero that outranks and captures center stage over all other characters. During filming, Newman was quoted as saying, "For the 1st time, I fell for the goddamn numbers. I did this turkey for a million and 10% of the gross, but it's the 1st and last time, I swear." He later collaborated with Irwin Allen on When Time Ran Out (1980). See more »

Goofs

As the breeches buoy is being set up, the fireman in the Promenade Room of the tower signals to the helicopter with his flashlight. We hear clicks, as if the flashlight is being turned on and off, but it is on the whole time. See more »

Quotes

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.
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Crazy Credits

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

Connections

Featured in The Towering Inferno: Running on Fire (2006) 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
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Hot Potato.
25 August 2003 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

"Grand Hotel"-styled disaster epic that, along with the original "Airport" and "The Poseidon Adventure", became a monstrous money-maker which dominated not only economically, but also critically. "The Towering Inferno" is an intense affair as a high-rise skyscraper in San Francisco seems to be a state-of-the-art marvel, but sometimes things are not as perfect as they seem. There are still flaws in the building and naturally a small spark in a utility room will lead to an overwhelming night of terror and heroism. A who's who cast in Hollywood at the time makes up the mind-blowing list of performers. Paul Newman, Robert Vaughn, William Holden, Faye Dunaway, Steve McQueen, Susan Blakely, Richard Chamberlain, Robert Wagner and Jennifer Jones all make lasting impressions. However it is Fred Astaire (in an Oscar-nominated role of a lifetime) and then-Buffalo Bill superstar O.J. Simpson (showing the style, grace and power that he showed on the playing field here in his debut screen performance) that stand out and create a higher dimension to an honestly corn-filled story. A terribly difficult production to pull off due to the very large scope involved. The technical effects compete well with the all-world performers to make a stunningly impressive movie. Near the top of the usually ho-hum genre of the period. 4 stars out of 5.


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