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
3,359 ( 1,253)
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'Halloran
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:

The tallest building in the world is on fire. You are there with 294 other guests... ...There's no way down. There's no way out. See more »

Genres:

Action | Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Katharine Ross, Raquel Welch and Natalie Wood were all offered the role that was eventually played by Faye Dunaway. Wood declined because she was pregnant with her second child, she also found the script "mediocre." See more »

Goofs

When James Duncan walks to the bar in the promenade room and speaks to the Senator Parker, a rear shot of the band is shown. The drummer is seen not hitting the drums when the band is playing. See more »

Quotes

James Duncan: [smiling genially, sure that he can smarm his way out of the situation] Everything under control?
Chief O'Hallorhan: You've gotta move all these people out of here.
James Duncan: Aw, now, just how bad is it?
Chief O'Hallorhan: It's a fire, mister, and all fires are bad.
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Crazy Credits

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

Alternate Versions

The film was re-dubbed in 2003 for the German DVD release. All subsequent releases on DVD and Blu-ray feature this new dubbing, many TV airings as well. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Emergency!: The Steel Inferno (1978) See more »

Soundtracks

The Morning After
(uncredited)
Written by Al Kasha and Joel Hirschhorn
Played at the party when Roberts is first reporting the fire to Duncan
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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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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

14 December 1974 (Canada) See more »

Also Known As:

The Towering 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
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
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