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The Towering Inferno (1974)

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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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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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Simmons
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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:

The tallest building in the world is on fire. You are there with 294 other guests... ...There's no way down. There's 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:

1 January 1975 (Singapore)  »

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

The HH-1N helicopters are in the original paint scheme used by NAS Lemoore's (CA) Search and Rescue Flight. Later on, they were painted red and white. Up until the unit's disbandment in 2004, the Flight was still pointing out it was their helicopters used in the movie. See more »

Goofs

The one basic tenet of extinguishing a fire is inexcusably ignored by the fire department, and that is to aim the water or suppressant at the BASE of the fire, not above it. See more »

Quotes

Chief O'Hallorhan: [picking up a security phone] This is O'Hallorhan, who am I speaking to?
Flaker: [into the phone] Chief Flaker, sir. US Navy Air Rescue.
Chief O'Hallorhan: It's about time, we can use your rescue choppers.
Flaker: I've ordered them right away. I'd like to set up communications next to the forward command center.
Chief O'Hallorhan: No no, too dangerous! Stay out of those elevators!
Flaker: Well then, sir, we'll just trot right up the stairs.
Chief O'Hallorhan: Yeah, you'll just trot right up to 79, huh?
Flaker: [chastened] Standing by in the lobby, sir.
Chief O'Hallorhan: Thank you.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Connections

Referenced in The Simpsons: The Seven-Beer Snitch (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

We May Never Love Like This Again
Maureen McGovern sings
Words and Music by Al Kasha and Joel Hirschhorn
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
The crowning glory of a much maligned genre.
4 May 2008 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

A newly built state of the art high-rise is hosting a big society gathering when a fire starts up on the 81st floor...

Warner Brothers & 20th Century Fox were both keen to cash in on the success of 1972s The Poseidon Adventure, Warner's buying the rights to The Tower, and Fox buying the rights to The Glass Inferno, both novels about burning skyscrapers and seemingly ripe for a big screen adaptation. Enter producer Irwin Allen who smartly suggested that both studios should come together and produce one blockbusting genre defining film. Splitting the cost down the middle, The Towering Inferno was born and went on to make over $100 million across the globe, a very impressive take for its time, and certainly a shot in the arm for disaster genre enthusiasts.

The Towering Inferno is far from flawless, it contains some cheese sodden dialogue, and the film's running time doesn't quite do the film any favours. However, the film's strengths far outweigh the handful of negatives that are often used to beat it up with. The sets are fabulous (Academy Award Nominated) and all to perish in the fire, the cinematography from Fred J Koenekamp (Academy Award Winner) is lush and puts the fire in the eyes, while the score from John Williams (Academy Award Nominated) is suitably poignant and edgy. What about the action sequences? The set pieces? With many of the illustrious cast doing their own stunts! All impacting sharp on the ears thanks to the brilliant sound from Soderberg & Lewis (Academy Award Nominated), with the cast itself a reminder of a wonderful time when only the big names were considered for the big projects, McQueen, Newman, Holden, Astaire (Academy Award Nominated) & Dunaway rolling off the tongue like a who's who of entertainment heavyweights.

Some say that The Towering Inferno finally killed off the ailing disaster genre, no it didn't, it crowned it, and all the others that followed were merely trailing in its wake. The Towering Inferno is a spectacular production that positively booms with high entertainment values, no expense is spared in the pursuit of entertaining the masses, it's thoughtful in texture and it teaches as it plays and it remains to me a wonderful archaic gem. 9/10


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