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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.



(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 overview, first billed only:
Paula Ramsay (as Sheila Mathews)
Giddings (as Normann Burton)


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 Towering Inferno" Is Not Just The Story Of The World's Tallest Building In Flames, It's The Story Of People... See more »


Action | Drama | Thriller


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

1 January 1975 (Singapore)  »

Also Known As:

Flammendes Inferno  »

Filming Locations:



Box Office


$14,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)| (Japan theatrical release)


Aspect Ratio:

2.35:1 (35mm) 2.2:1(70mm)
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Did You Know?


This film marked the first ever joint production by two big-name movie companies; Warner Bros. and 20th Century-Fox. See more »


Steve McQueen's hair appears to change for certain scenes. For the scenes shot on location in San Francisco's Bank of America lobby, which substituted for the Glass Tower lobby, his hair is cut short and tight while the scenes shot in the studio back in Los Angeles, his hair appears a little longer and thicker. There must have been a gap in shooting locations. One example is when McQueen's character arrives at the fire, he walks with Roberts and others to the elevator to set up Forward Command. As he walks in the elevator(in San Francisco), the camera cuts to inside the elevator(LA Studio) a split second later and his hair is obviously longer. See more »


[Returning after his failed attempt to escape down the stairs]
Roger Simmons: Pretty ridiculous spectacle. There's no way down.
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Crazy Credits

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


Referenced in The Omen Legacy (2001) 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
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

" What do they call it when you kill people? "
15 October 2009 | by See all my reviews

In the world of architectural structures, there are some buildings which have become synonymous with the state there were born in. Indeed, the structure which caught fire in this film was actually created from two stories. The original building was called 'The Tower' and it's sister structure was called " The Glass Inferno.' Together they were united summarily and christened as " The Towering Inferno. " Assembling a memorable cast caused this movie to be riveting and spellbinding. The inner tale for this combined feature is of a majestic and towering high rise which has just been inaugurated as it's first occupants are checking in and occupying their rooms. The architect, Doug Roberts (Paul Newman) has just returned from a short vacation and is impressed with his completed design. Immediately upon his return however, he discovers a small fire has broken out, due to faulty wiring. As the fire spreads, the Construction engineer, Jim Duncan (William Holden) is informed his chief electrical engineer has just been burned to death. As the fires continues to grow and evolve into a flaming, dangerous and ever rising inferno, the city's fire departments begin to arrive introducing Chief Michael O'Hallorhan (Steve McQueen). Several other stories thread and interlace the surface story involving Hollywood's elite, including Fred Astaire, Faye Dunaway, Richard Chamberlain, Robert Vaughn, and Robert Wagner. If you're seeing this movie for the first time, be prepared for many action scenes and exciting hair raising stunts. The story line is plausible (due to 911) as we acknowledge the firmly established courage and honored reputation of America's valiant Firemen, which is now fact and part of our history. Great movie which now wears the title of Classic. ****

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