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The Towering Inferno (1974)

6.9
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 25,576 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)

The Towering Inferno (1974) on IMDb 6.9/10

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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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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:

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

Genres:

Action | Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

14 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

Paul Newman later regretted his decision to co-star with 'Steve McQueen' (I) 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." See more »

Goofs

Lifting the brakes on the scenic elevator would not involve cutting wires and shimming relays (unless there was still power, in which case the brakes wouldn't need to be lifted. Manually lifting the brakes would require large wrenches on the elevator machine itself, and could not be done in 30 seconds. See more »

Quotes

[to Duncan after hearing about Giddings on the phone]
Doug Roberts: Will Giddings is dead. He died twenty minutes ago.
[pause]
Doug Roberts: Oh, boy. Ohh! I wonder how many more will be dead by tomorrow.
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 Los liantes (1981) See more »

Soundtracks

The More I See You
(uncredited)
Music by Harry Warren
Played as the group is heading to the elevator after the tower's lighting ceremony
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Classic star-studded disaster film....

With the likes of INDEPENDENCE DAY and DIE HARD, which were both influenced by THE TOWERING INFERNO, a new awareness of the potential of the disaster film emerged, culminating in the likes of DEEP IMPACT, ARMAGEDDON and the more recent THE CORE.

The definition of 'all-star cast' and 'star-studded' has changed substantially in the last few years and in fact, the true star of THE TOWERING INFERNO wasn't any actor or star, but the late Irwin Allen, whose career in this type of film ended with the poorly-received WHEN TIME RAN OUT.

The film, which was adapted from two source novels, THE GLASS INFERNO and THE TOWER (both of which were bought by rival studios Fox and Warner to compete at the box-office - and then decided at the last minute to pool their resources into creating a single script) is impressive in scope and design.

For the uninitiated, one of the books deals with a disgrunted ex-employee who decides to cause an accident which starts a fire and in some ways that would have made a more intriguing storyline, but the plot of the actual film which involves cost-cutting to electrical circuits which causes the fire int the first place works as it is.

At a running time of 158 minutes some may think the film too long. In this day and age there would have possibly been test screenings and some cutting of the film, but since the success of TITANIC at the box-office longer films have become the norm. Indeed, the more recent HARRY POTTER and LORD OF THE RINGS movies are in this bracket (although the upcoming KILL BILL story that the three-hour film will be split in two may pave the way for shorter lengths!!) Mind you, THE GREAT ESCAPE is of similar length and that film moves at a cracking pace.

Steve McQueen is on screen less than some of the other stars in the film, but his performance is the best and complements others on show.




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