The Towering Inferno (1974)

PG   |    |  Action, Drama, Thriller

The Towering Inferno (1974) Poster

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.




  • Irwin Allen in The Towering Inferno (1974)
  • Faye Dunaway in The Towering Inferno (1974)
  • Fred Astaire in The Towering Inferno (1974)
  • Paul Newman and Steve McQueen in The Towering Inferno (1974)
  • Fred Astaire in The Towering Inferno (1974)
  • William Holden and John Guillermin in The Towering Inferno (1974)

See all photos

Get More From IMDb

For an enhanced browsing experience, get the IMDb app on your smartphone or tablet.

Get the IMDb app

Reviews & Commentary

Add a Review

User Reviews

3 April 2006 | ccthemovieman-1
| The Best Of The Disaster Flicks?
"Disaster Movies" were a big hit in this era, with airplane crashes, earthquakes, fires, etc. This one made huge fires and firemen fashionable for awhile. It certainly had people talking, and it may have been the best of those "disaster" flicks.

The movie certainly had an all-star cast: Paul Newman, Steve McQueen, William Holden, Faye Dunaway, Fred Astaire, Susan Blakely, Richard Chamberlain, Robert Vaughn, Robert Wagner and (gulp) O.J. Simpson. Even Jennifer Jones came out of a long retirement to return to films. It was really nice to see her again.

What really surprised me about this film when I watched it earlier this year was that the special effects were still good, and the film is almost 40 years old. It was also good to see Steve McQueen being the good guy again. He was the best character in the film. The worst was William Holden, who turned out to play a lot profane-spewing nasty people as soon as the Hays' code was totally abolished in 1967. Same thing for Paul Newman. McQueen, meanwhile, kept his class as did Jones, of course, and Astaire.

The film is almost three hours long but, a few soap opera scenes aside, it's a solid adventure story that holds up well and it served a good purpose, making hotel owners more aware of potential fire hazards.

Metacritic Reviews

Critic Reviews

Did You Know?


The First Interstate Tower in downtown Los Angeles was completed the same year this film was released (1974). Fourteen years later, in May of 1988, the FI Tower experienced a real fire that burned out 4-1/2 floors, ruined many floors above with smoke and below with water, and closed the building for almost five months. The fire happened late at night, when only a few dozen people were in the building, and no crowds, traffic or other demands on water hampered firefighters. Only one death occurred, when someone used an override key to force an elevator to the floor where the fire had started, and perished--such as was shown happening to elevator riders in the film. The Los Angeles Herald-Examiner ran side-by-side photos of the actual fire and the fire from this film on its front page the following day. The story of the real fire was told in the TV film Fire: Trapped on the 37th Floor (1991).


James Duncan: You know, there's a saying that goes "No matter how hot it gets up there during the day...
James Duncan, Doug Roberts: There isn't a damn thing you can do at night."
James Duncan: That's right. Now what the hell are you going to do at night in the middle of nowhere?
Doug Roberts: Sleep like a winner.


Doug is told over the phone by the fire chief to tell the firemen to break a window, Doug hangs up and at no time tells the firemen anything yet within a few seconds senator Parker announces to everyone that the firemen are going to break a window, how did he know since the only one there who did know was Doug, even the firemen did not know because Doug hadn't told them.

Crazy Credits

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

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 Astaire 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.
  • additional dialogue between William Holden and Robert Wagner in Duncan's office where Duncan considers canceling the party but is dissuaded by Bigelow.
  • 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 Blakely 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 fire stairs railing of the destroyed stairwell is longer and has some additional dialogue between Paul Newman and the others.


The More I See You
Music by
Harry Warren
Played as the group is heading to the elevator after the tower's lighting ceremony


Plot Summary

Synopsis (WARNING: Spoilers)


Action | Drama | Thriller

Box Office


$14,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:


Contribute to this page

IMDb Picks: What to Watch on Netflix Now

Need some help finding the best things to watch on Netflix? Let our editors help you find what's trending and what's worth your time.

See the full list

6 Great Shows Returning in May

Whether you're ready for the return of your favorite show or need to catch up, May is packed with an array of returning series.

Watch the video

Around The Web


Provided by Taboola

More To Explore

Search on