6.9/10
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The Towering Inferno (1974)

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2:12 | Trailer
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
3,884 ( 327)
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 Towering Inferno" Is Not Just The Story Of The World's Tallest Building In Flames, It's The Story Of People... 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:

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
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

According to a 1976 New York Times article, Olivia de Havilland turned down the part of Lisolette because it would have required her to be away from home whilst her daughter Gisele Galante was taking important examinations for college. De Havilland would only a few years later appear for Irwin Allen in the disastrous The Swarm (1978). See more »

Goofs

When Wess opens the electrical box that shorts out in the Utility Room, only the edge of the inside of the panel shows scorch marks (from the pyrotechnics that sparked). A real electrical short/explosion would have blackened the entire inside of the panel. See more »

Quotes

Lorrie: There never were any firemen, were there?
Dan Bigelow: I said that to make it easier on you. I switched off the phones. There's no way to call out. Nobody knows we're up here.
Lorrie: [smiles bravely] Well, I always did want to die in bed.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Alternate Versions

Syndicated Network TV versions shorten Dan Bigelow catching fire and cut the scene of Lorrie's death, ending it where she screams "DAN!" and runs away. It then cuts to the firemen fighting the reception area blaze See more »

Connections

Featured in Steve McQueen: American Icon (2017) 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
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

McQueen and Newman create sparks
13 December 2003 | by bwaynefSee all my reviews

Your typical dumb disaster flick, produced by the king of the genre, Irwin Allen, made notable by the presence of Steve McQueen and Paul Newman who finally agreed to share the screen as equals, something they almost did in "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid." The ever competitive McQueen made his film debut with a bit part in "Somebody Up There Likes Me" in which Newman starred, and one of his ambitions was to finally get top billing over his number one rival. Even with the so-called "diagonal billing" employed in the film and its advertising (with Newman's name elevated slightly above McQueen's), those of us who read from left to right can see that McQueen got his wish. He also got the best role. He's the firefighter, a tight jawed man of action, while Newman is saddled with the less sympathetic role of the architect. But the real star is the burning building. It burns, and impressively at that, but there's something very claustrophobic about this situation which results in less action than Allen's previous smash, "The Posiedon Adventure."

But the acting is better. In addition to McQueen and Newman, the cast includes Richard Chamberlain (particularly good), William Holden, Faye Dunaway, and Fred Astaire. That's an improvement over Carol Lynley and Eric Shea, both of whom Gene Hackman had the misfortune of emoting with two years earlier. Whatever one thinks of this particular genre, "The Towering Inferno" is probably the best of the bunch.


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