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Firehouse (1973)

Not Rated | | Action, Drama | TV Movie 2 January 1973
Tensions arise when a previously all-white firehouse gets its first black fireman.


Alex March


Frank Cucci


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Michael Lerner ... Ernie Bush
Paul Le Mat ... Billy Dalzell
Val Avery ... Sonny Caputo
Richard Jaeckel ... Hank Myers
Andrew Duggan ... Capt. Jim Parr
Vince Edwards ... Spike Ryerson
Richard Roundtree ... Shelly Forsythe
Sheila Frazier ... Michelle Forsythe (as Sheila E. Frazier)
Mel Scott Mel Scott ... Mamu
Alma Beltran ... Spanish Lady
Howard Curtis Howard Curtis ... Eddie Doyle
Mwako Cumbuka ... Clarence
Ty Henderson Ty Henderson ... Bobby
Otis Day ... Oldest Boy
Bobby Johnson Bobby Johnson ... Bartender


The first African-American assigned to an all-white firehouse, rookie firefighter Shelly Forsythe must battle both blazes and racism as the fire department hunts for a serial arsonist in 1973 New York. The house's senior firefighter is hostile to Forsythe at first but eventually comes to respect him and is forced to make a dangerous choice between his orders and his duty to a fellow firefighter. Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


When the fire's out...the heat is on See more »


Action | Drama


Not Rated | See all certifications »






Release Date:

2 January 1973 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Comando antifuego See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)


Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Very loosely based on the 1972 non-fiction book, "Report From Engine Company 82" by retired FDNYC firefighter Dennis Smith. Smith sold the rights to the movie for $100,000--a huge sum of money in those days. See more »


Followed by Firehouse (1974) See more »


Written by Ron Grainer
(various cues from Thief (1971))
See more »

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User Reviews

Dated TV movie, but odd in other aspects
13 June 2006 | by vandino1See all my reviews

This is from 1973, when New York City was still a hotbed of hate and racial tensions were still high. You've got the usual good-black-man-fights-white-racism storyline with nothing new added (you know as soon as the bitter racist, played by Vince Edwards, lays into Roundtree that they'll overcome their animosity and bond in some climactic fire). It's still just a TV movie with the usual cheap soundtrack, including the cliché dramatic outro-to-commercial music every fifteen minutes. Roundtree is humorless throughout, but then it's hard to offer any lightness when Vince Edwards' character is an open-all-night cafe of anger. Talk about a one-note performance: Edwards seethes from the beginning to the end. And although the fire sequences are effectively smoky (unlike the typical TV fire sequences that are all gas jets and smoke free) the opening sequence that features the death of Edwards much-loved buddy is badly bungled. Instead of rushing out of the burning building, the firemen are seen standing around inside, smoke and flames seemingly inches away from them, joking with each other---one of them coming down the burning stairs with a kitten in his hands and then stopping to share some banter with his pals, until the ceiling caves in on him. Absurd. Actually, some other odd things about this film: Duggan, the firehouse captain, seems to have almost no authority, pushed around by Edwards and even Roundtree, the new guy; and then there is the fact that both the writer and director of this film died within a month of each other in 1989; and beyond the movie itself is the DVD box that features a picture of what looks like Fred Williamson with a cigar in his mouth and a fireman's helmet on. If it IS Williamson, then where did it come from? Did Williamson ever play a fireman? Because if he didn't, then the company that put out the DVD must've taken a picture of Williamson and pasted a fireman's helmet on him. Why not take a shot of Roundtree from the film? And does this provide a weird example of racism to the effect that slapping any black actor on the cover is okay since the buyer won't notice.... because blacks all look the same, right?

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