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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
3,647 ( 80)
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:

One Tiny Spark Becomes A Night Of Blazing Suspense. 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

There was much consternation in the Steve McQueen camp when it was discovered that Paul Newman had 12 more lines of dialogue than he did. See more »

Goofs

At the end of the movie the tower seems to be well lit despite the power outage caused by the fire. See more »

Quotes

Dan Bigelow: I'll be back, with the whole fire department.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Alternate Versions

The TV network version has about 20 or so minutes of footage added for prime time viewing. The some of the extra scenes include:
  • Fred Astair first arriving at the building art gallery and talking with Jennifer Jones.
  • Additional dialogue between Paul Newman and Faye Dunaway in bed in his office.
  • The jeweler first arriving at the building with the gold scissors and Robert Wagner arguing with his office staff of planing the evening dedication party.
  • A scene with William Holden talking to Faye Dunaway in the building lobby about her moving away from San Francisco.
  • Additional dialogue of the Mayor addressing the crowd at the pre-ceremony gathering.
  • A scene with Faye Dunaway and Susan Blanckley talking at at table about their significant others during the party.
  • A scene where a security chief phones about another fire that's now on the reception area of the 65th floor of the building, and more scenes of firetrucks driving towards the building.
  • The harrowing climb down the firestairs railing of the destroyed stairwell is longer and has some additional dialogue between Paul Newman and the others.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Social Network (2010) See more »

Soundtracks

We May Never Love Like This Again
Maureen McGovern sings
Words and Music by Al Kasha and Joel Hirschhorn
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Thrilling and entertaining disaster movie but full clichés and stereotypes with strong performances from Newman and McQueen
25 August 2011 | by ma-cortesSee all my reviews

¨Towering Inferno¨ title tells the story in disaster epic about a burning skyscraper and originally released in Panavision . This is the undisputed king of the catastrophe films of the 70s , a successful film that grossed at box office . This formula disaster movie from Irwin Allen ( previously winner of numerous Oscars for Poseidon ) concerns about a newly built skyscraper located in San Francisco . When takes place on the recently constructed high-rise office building and hotel a fire due to substandard material . Then , the all-star cast (Faye Dunaway, Robert Wagner , Robert Vaughn , Susan Blakely , and many others ) become caught in its penthouse restaurant . An architect (Paul Newman) and the fire fighter chief ( Steve McQueen ) combine their efforts to stop firing as when the building is set blaze .

This catastrophe movie blends action , intrigue , disaster spectacle, suspense and emotional byplay with romance included . Our heroes get stuck in the skyscraper before it burns and when fire takes place they go into action ; as they pay tribute to firemen . Filmed at the height of the disaster genre from the 7os ,this entry in the spectacular series profits of a strong acting by starring duo . The protagonists spend most of their time devising grisly ways for avoid to die and to be fired . The explosions , pyrotechnics , floods are spectacular and breathtaking , being well made by FX expert L.B. Abbot , but the film is just another habitual cold-blooded Hollywood product . Succeeds in combining various talented actors , an all star cast came together formed by Paul Newman and Steve McQueen who tie for film's top casting honors ; furthermore , William Holden , Fred Astaire , Jennifer Jones , Richard Chamberlain , O.J. Simpson , and very secondaries as Dabney Coleman , Don Gordon , Susan Flannery and Gregory Sierra . Musical Score by the classic John Williams , Spielberg's usual ; the song titled ¨We may never love like this again¨ got Academy Award winner . Colorful and gripping photography by Joseph Biroc and Fred Koenekamp , two of the main cameramen of the 60s and 70s ; both of whom had Oscar winner for cinematography . This big-budgeted disaster movie is professionally directed by John Guillermin , habitual of disaster films ( Skyjacked , King Kong, Kong lives ) and airplane movies (Blue Max) . It's an Irwin Allen's rehash of the former disaster movie clichés in which the splendid casting stands out . The picture is one of the last Allen's hits along with ¨Poseidon¨ , after that , succeeds failures as ¨Beyond Poseidon¨, ¨Swarm¨ and ¨When the time ran out¨. Rating : Good and entertaining , it's a fairly watchable disaster movie.


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