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      The Towering Inferno

      PG Released Dec 14, 1974 2 hr. 45 min. Action Mystery & Thriller List
      68% 37 Reviews Tomatometer 72% 25,000+ Ratings Audience Score Classic 1970s disaster movie about a fire that breaks out in a state-of-the-art San Francisco high-rise building during the opening ceremony attended by a host of A-list guests. An overworked fire chief and the building's architect must cooperate in the struggle to save lives and subdue panic while a corrupt, cost-cutting contractor tries to evade responsibility for the disaster. Read More Read Less Watch on Fandango at Home Premiered Jan 02 Buy Now

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      The Towering Inferno

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      Critics Consensus

      Although it is not consistently engaging enough to fully justify its towering runtime, The Towering Inferno is a blustery spectacle that executes its disaster premise with flair.

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      Audience Reviews

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      DanTheMan 2 Although it threatens to crumble throughout its slow-burn runtime, The Towering Inferno remains just as exhilarating today as it did 50 years ago, with the glass-spangled exterior burning with an uncontrollable lust for spectacle as the gold standard when it comes to disaster movies. With plenty of bombastic set pieces matched to an understated and delightful score by the legendary John Williams, Director John Guillermin utilises the big co-production budget to a triumphant degree, delivering tense and incredible stunt work and insane pyrotechnics, while netting himself a brilliant cast and all-rounded performances to match. Steve McQueen is just awesome (as he is in everything he's in) while Paul Newman gets to be the everyman hero alongside the lavish conflagration of other big-name stars. Rather than being a reflection on the true terror of a fire of this scale, The Towering Inferno is a gloriously constructed and tremendously entertaining film, with heroes to root for and villains to boo all built with the precision of an architect. Rated 4 out of 5 stars 02/13/24 Full Review Jerry A I don't care what the critics say Towering Inferno, Earthquake and The Swarm was good to me. I remember watching them back in the day when I a was a kid. I'm 53 now and yes it's out dated over time but still entertaining to me. Now more for nostalgia. Rated 5 out of 5 stars 08/16/23 Full Review Tony B A fantastic cast led by Paul Newman and Steve McQueen. Some really exciting and memorable scenes. A great score by John Williams. The special effects hold up very well. Definitely has more impact on the big screen than on TV. Rated 4.5 out of 5 stars 07/27/23 Full Review Leaburn O This film was pretty good 👍🏼 Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 03/26/23 Full Review Julia S It was good but never really saw anyone actually putting the fire out it was all talking. Rated 4 out of 5 stars 03/12/23 Full Review wayne w I was 9-years old when this came out. I've watched it countless times since then. The best parts of this film (with nearly 50 years to think about it) are 1) Steve McQueen, 2) SOME of the special effects (but not others), 3) the cinematography, and 4) John Williams greatly under-appreciated music. Steve McQueen's Battalion Chief Michael O'Hallorhan was without a doubt the best role in the film. He made this film what it was. Thank goodness he decided on this role, and not that of the architect he was originally cast as. Paul Newman's role (no offense to Paul in any way) was really secondary. Some of the special effects still stand the test of time. Other effects were terrible (i.e the massive explosions that looked like a series of bombs going off). The cinematography was so good (especially the visuals of the San Francisco skyline, and Bay Area), they were deserving of the Academy Award it won. John Williams music was masterful. The rousing score for the opening helicopter flight, the suspenseful music for the planting of the explosives - thru the countdown of the detonator, the somber music in the plaza, where we start to see the toll the disaster took, and the end credits are all simply amazing. Steve McQueen had two of my all-time favorite movie lines...1) when told by his superior about the plans to blow up the water tanks, and asks how he'll get back down, his boss is speechless, and McQueen replies "oh sh-t" (knowing this is basically a suicide mission). Moments later when he tells Newman about the plans, Newman asks him how will they get the explosives up to the top of the building, and McQueen retorts "Oh, they'll find some dumb son-of-a-bit-h to bring it up" (that SOB being McQueen). Simply priceless lines. Many fans have compared Inferno to the Poseidon Adventure. Yes, PA was more character-driven. The dysfunctional dynamic between Borgnine and Hackman was far better than anything in TI. This makes it a better film in some respects. In the end, audiences loved both films (highest-grossing of 1972-73, and 1974-75, respectively, given their December releases) And they are considered the "gold standards" of the 1970s disaster genre to this day. Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 03/31/23 Full Review Read all reviews Post a rating

      Cast & Crew

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      Critics Reviews

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      Pauline Kael New Yorker The movie doesn't stick together in one's head; this thing is like some junky fairground show -- a chamber of horrors with skeletons that jump up. Jan 15, 2013 Full Review Don Druker Chicago Reader Irwin Allen, the Busby Berkeley of natural disasters and other people's troubles, teams up with John Guillermin, a competent if undistinguished action director. Feb 3, 2012 Full Review Variety Staff Variety The Towering Inferno is one of the greatest disaster pictures made, a personal and professional triumph for producer Irwin Allen. Sep 22, 2008 Full Review Montezuma Bay Area Reporter The special effects are super and once you get used to the idea of a 136-story building in downtown San Francisco, you are ready for anything thrown at you. Jun 27, 2023 Full Review Danielle Solzman Solzy at the Movies Nearly 50 years after its release, The Towering Inferno remains one of the golden standards in the disaster thriller genre. Rated: 5/5 Mar 2, 2023 Full Review Zita Short InSession Film This is a loud, bombastic, dumb blockbuster and it just doesn’t thrill audiences in the same way that it would have in 1974. I really question whether it became a sensation purely as a result of hype. Rated: D Feb 7, 2023 Full Review Read all reviews

      Movie Info

      Synopsis Classic 1970s disaster movie about a fire that breaks out in a state-of-the-art San Francisco high-rise building during the opening ceremony attended by a host of A-list guests. An overworked fire chief and the building's architect must cooperate in the struggle to save lives and subdue panic while a corrupt, cost-cutting contractor tries to evade responsibility for the disaster.
      Director
      John Guillermin, Irwin Allen
      Screenwriter
      Stirling Silliphant
      Distributor
      20th Century Fox
      Production Co
      Twentieth Century Fox
      Rating
      PG
      Genre
      Action, Mystery & Thriller
      Original Language
      English
      Release Date (Theaters)
      Dec 14, 1974, Original
      Release Date (Streaming)
      Nov 25, 2015
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