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The Triangle Factory Fire Scandal (1979)

The story of a fire in the Triangle Shirt Mfg. Co. building in New York City in 1911 that resulted in the deaths of 146 employees, mostly young women. The ensuing investigation revealed the... See full summary »


Mel Stuart


Mel Brez, Ethel Brez
Won 1 Primetime Emmy. Another 2 nominations. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
David Dukes ... Lou Ribin
Tovah Feldshuh ... Florence
Lauren Friedman ... Sonya Levin (as Lauren Frost)
Janet Margolin ... Rose
Stacey Nelkin ... Gina (as Stacey Nelkin)
Ted Wass ... Vinnie
Stephanie Zimbalist ... Connie
Tom Bosley ... Morris Feldman
Charlotte Rae ... Bessie
Erica Yohn Erica Yohn ... Mrs. Levin
Milton Selzer ... Mr. Levin
Michael Mullins Michael Mullins ... Max Levin
Sean Roche Sean Roche ... Teacher
Olivia Barash ... Ruthie
Judith Bergan Judith Bergan ... Edith


The story of a fire in the Triangle Shirt Mfg. Co. building in New York City in 1911 that resulted in the deaths of 146 employees, mostly young women. The ensuing investigation revealed the company's almost total disregard for its workers' safety in pursuit of increased production and profits, and resulted, among other things, in the passage of new worker safety laws and the formation of the International Ladies Garment Workers Union. Written by frankfob2@yahoo.com

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Release Date:

30 January 1979 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Feuerfalle See more »

Filming Locations:

New York City, New York, USA

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Tovah Feldshuh, who starred in this film, later narrated a documentary about the Triangle Fire Scandal. See more »


At one point one of the ladies working in the factory makes reference to having seen Charles Chaplin. This film is set in 1911; Chaplin didn't make his first film until 1914 and would have been completely unknown in America in 1911. See more »

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User Reviews

Visually Decent, But I Doubt It is Based On Personal Fact
12 February 2004 | by richard.fuller1See all my reviews

Film version of the notorious Triangle Shirt Waist Factory Fire in 1911 that saw over a hundred people, most of them young immigrant girls, perish, and most of them from jumping.

The factory was on the top three floors of an eleven story building and had no access for fire escapes or any other form of rescue should a fire break out.

The film here follows the story of four young women who work there. We are given tired plots of Stephanie Zimbalist and her two-timing boyfriend, who is cheating with a good friend of hers, Gina (played by Stacy Nelkin, the only one with a foreign accent).

It seems that David Dukes may have been some form of early champion for workers, and Zimbalist has an uninteresting moment of feminism (she protests the womens' purses being searched and the men's pockets not getting the same treatment).

Ted Wass was the philandering Vinnie. In real life, Wass was married to Janet Margolin, who here is paired up with David Dukes.

Tom Bosley of Happy Days was the boss, and Charlotte Rae is very impressive as a woman who arranges marriages for young people. She would have a small scene and wouldn't be in the fire, but nevertheless, she is very convincing here in this part.

Also keep an eye out for a very young Valerie Landsburg, who had played Doris on Fame. Here she is a young hair-bowed girl named Loretta.

But outstanding is Rhoda Gemighani as Mary Grasso, Loretta's mother.

Even with Tovah Feldshuh, Janet Margolin and Stephanie Zimbalist, it seems that unknown Lauren Frost as Sonya is the central character.

The fire would start in the most low key manner, which made it all the more effective. From there, we would be subjected to our cast surprised, running then desparate to escape, finally realizing all is lost in some instances, in others being saved by the grace of God.

Feldshuh's fate is a bit odd and peculiar, Dukes and Margolin was the stuff movies are made for, then it would be the incredible moment with Gemighani that captured what happened that horrible day.

There would be rescues with ladders stretched to the next building, jumping to a fireman's net, and then the infamous elevator incident with Gemighani.

Finally, all that was left was the young girls jumping, as the terrified crowds below could only watch. Pairs would hold hands and leap. There would be a mysterious man seen who also jumped, who talked a girl into doing likewise. It is still unknown who he was.

There is one final miraculous rescue.

In the end, Sonya's family is grieving for the loss of their daughter. No way she could have survived. The conclusion is so remarkable you can't help but smile.

We are treated to a finale of those that are left to enjoy what they have and realize what is really important.

Ruthie gets an ice cream cone from Poppa.

And check out that new hat.

Nice and decent period piece of an actual tragedy.

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