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The Towering Inferno (1974)

6.9
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 25,695 users  
Reviews: 189 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)

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Won 3 Oscars. Another 10 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

Plot Keywords:

fire | trapped | party | architect | skyscraper | See more »

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:

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:

(35 mm magnetic prints)| (35 mm optical prints)| (70 mm prints) (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In the original script the role of the fire chief (known at the time as Mario Infantino) was considerably smaller. According to director John Guillermin, the role was offered to Ernest Borgnine with Steve McQueen playing the architect. McQueen later said, "If somebody of my caliber can play the architect, I'll play the fire chief," and Paul Newman was brought onto the project as the architect. See more »

Goofs

When the electrical junction box explodes open in the storage closet on the 81st floor, a fairly thick wire flops down and sparks. The thick wires in such a box are made out of bundles of copper wire, too stiff to flop down as shown in the movie. See more »

Quotes

Roger Simmons: [He tears up his breeches buoy ticket and indicates some of the men directly behind him] The women are gone. WE are going next.
James Duncan: [Punches him hard in the stomach; to the other men] You've all got numbers, and you're going to take your turn. And if it's any consolation, I'm going to be the last one out of here, along with my son-in-law!
See more »

Crazy Credits

In the comic magazine MAD's version of the film, there is a question asked by the character played by Fred Astaire, that does NOT appear in the film, but by logic should have been asked: "Ten minutes ago we couldn't get down from the building. Now we all are down on the street. How did that happen?" See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Girls Next Door: The Showering Inferno (2009) 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

 
The more I think about it, the less I enjoyed it.
27 March 2002 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I saw "The Towering Inferno" when it was first released in theaters in 1974. I was about 12 years old. I thought it was really cool to see all of this death and destruction. I felt sorry for the so-called innocent or heroic characters who met their doom and hissed at the villain(s) who met their makers. It was big and bombastic, with, as a voice-over artist would say in the trailer "...an all-star cast" (long-term stars, has-beens, and the ones who are stars only from the eyes of their agents). I thought the movie was the best film I saw in my short life.

I've seen the movie several times since then and it's like watching a bad wreck. A semi-entertaining one but still a wreck.

I was looking at the list of other disaster movies Irwin Allen produced (which includes "The Poseidon Adventure", "The Swarm", "When Time Ran Out", etc.) and it's interesting how quickly the genre became a cliché:

***POSSIBLE SPOILERS***

1. If your name is above the title, you will survive.

2. If your name is below the title, you might die.

3. If you are a precocious child and you have a sibling, you'll survive.

4. If your role is to save a number of people from disaster in earlier scenes, very likely, you will die later in the movie. No worry, the audience will have "genuine sympathy" because you sacrificed your life so that others can live.

5. If you play the villain, YOU WILL DIE!!!!

6. If your character is a jealous spouse or is having an illicit affair, YOU WILL DIE A HORRIBLE DEATH!!!!!

7. If you're an extra, no matter which movie you're involved in, YOU WILL DIE A VERY, VERY HORRIBLE DEATH!!!!!!!!!


24 of 39 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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