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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.

Director:

John Guillermin

Writers:

Richard Martin Stern (novel), Thomas N. Scortia (novel) | 2 more credits »
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Popularity
3,881 ( 188)
Won 3 Oscars. Another 9 wins & 13 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Steve McQueen ... Chief O'Hallorhan
Paul Newman ... Doug Roberts
William Holden ... Jim Duncan
Faye Dunaway ... Susan
Fred Astaire ... Harlee Claiborne
Susan Blakely ... Patty
Richard Chamberlain ... Simmons
Jennifer Jones ... Lisolette
O.J. Simpson ... Jernigan
Robert Vaughn ... Senator Parker
Robert Wagner ... Dan Bigelow
Susan Flannery ... Lorrie
Sheila Allen ... 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

Taglines:

You are there on the 135th floor, no way down, no way out. See more »

Genres:

Action | Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

1 January 1975 (Singapore) See more »

Also Known As:

Flammendes Inferno See more »

Filming Locations:

Los Angeles, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$14,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$116,000,000

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$116,000,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)| 4-Track Stereo (Japan theatrical release)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35:1 (35mm) 2.2:1(70mm)
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway left strict instructions that they should not be approached by visitors to the set. McQueen also refused to give any interviews. Paul Newman asked only that he not be "surprised". See more »

Goofs

After the helicopter has crashed on the top of the tower during an aborted rescue, the second of the two ladies who caused the crash by running into the path of the helicopter gets up from the ground, revealing a knee pad she was wearing to protect her knees under her dress. See more »

Quotes

[about the fire spreading up the building]
Mayor Ramsey: How much time do we have?
James Duncan: Bob, I wish I knew.
Mayor Ramsey: Goddammit, Jim, you built the place!
James Duncan: I just don't think that all of us are going to make it.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Alternate Versions

Television Versions of the movie start with an alternate opening. Instead of the camera facing the helicopter at the left, the camera is on top of the helicopter, in view of the rocks that the helicopter will go over. See more »

Connections

Referenced in At Last, at Last (1975) 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

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User Reviews

Hot Potato.
25 August 2003 | by tfrizzellSee all my reviews

"Grand Hotel"-styled disaster epic that, along with the original "Airport" and "The Poseidon Adventure", became a monstrous money-maker which dominated not only economically, but also critically. "The Towering Inferno" is an intense affair as a high-rise skyscraper in San Francisco seems to be a state-of-the-art marvel, but sometimes things are not as perfect as they seem. There are still flaws in the building and naturally a small spark in a utility room will lead to an overwhelming night of terror and heroism. A who's who cast in Hollywood at the time makes up the mind-blowing list of performers. Paul Newman, Robert Vaughn, William Holden, Faye Dunaway, Steve McQueen, Susan Blakely, Richard Chamberlain, Robert Wagner and Jennifer Jones all make lasting impressions. However it is Fred Astaire (in an Oscar-nominated role of a lifetime) and then-Buffalo Bill superstar O.J. Simpson (showing the style, grace and power that he showed on the playing field here in his debut screen performance) that stand out and create a higher dimension to an honestly corn-filled story. A terribly difficult production to pull off due to the very large scope involved. The technical effects compete well with the all-world performers to make a stunningly impressive movie. Near the top of the usually ho-hum genre of the period. 4 stars out of 5.


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