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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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Writers:

(novel), (novel) | 2 more credits »
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4,178 ( 181)
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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...
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Simmons
...
Lisolette
...
Jernigan
...
...
Bigelow
...
...
Paula Ramsay (as Sheila Mathews)
...
Giddings (as Normann Burton)
...
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:

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:

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

In April 1973 Twentieth Century-Fox and Warner Bros entered a bidding war for the rights to the two novels that the film is based on. On September 17 it was formally announced that, for the first time ever, two major studios had entered into a joint venture. John Guillermin was announced as director in March 1974. Production began on May 7, 1974. See more »

Goofs

A gallon of water weighs approximately 8 pounds. A tank holding a million gallons of water would've collapsed all or part of the building under its weight. See more »

Quotes

Senator Parker: At this rate it's going to take a couple of hours to get everyone down. So, I would suggest that those of us with stout hearts and trim waistlines start using the stairs.
James Duncan: That's 135 floors.
Senator Parker: All downhill.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

 
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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