PG | | Action, Drama, Thriller
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.
According to Gregory Sierra, who played the role of noble but ill-fated bartender Carlos, this role was one of the first times where Sierra wasn't typecast as a stereotypical Puerto Rican. Ethnically Puerto Rican in real-life, the actor had also played a Jewish vigilante on the sitcom All in the Family around the same time, hoping that these kinds of roles would get him out of playing stereotypes and non-varied roles. As a character, Carlos broke stereotypes as a sympathetic and lovable bartender who contributes extensively to the rescue efforts; the character's ethnicity in the role is never explicitly stated. Sierra went on to play numerous other varied roles after The Towering Inferno until his death in 2021 due to severe cancer.
I'm not a cheeseburger.
Susan: No, you're way better, all protein, no bread, now all I need to take with you is eight glasses of water.
Steve McQueen's hair appears to change for certain scenes. For the scenes shot on location in San Francisco's Bank of America lobby, which substituted for the Glass Tower lobby, his hair is cut short and tight while the scenes shot in the studio back in Los Angeles, his hair appears a little longer and thicker. There must have been a gap in shooting locations. One example is when McQueen's character arrives at the fire, he walks with Roberts and others to the elevator to set up Forward Command. As he walks in the elevator(in San Francisco), the camera cuts to inside the elevator(LA Studio) a split second later and his hair is obviously longer.
The 20th Century Fox and Warner Bros. Pictures logos don't appear in the beginning.
In UK daytime TV airings of the film, the swear word muttered by Chief O'Halloran (Steve McQueen) after he realizes there is no way to airlift him back down after rigging the water tank charges, is drowned out in the sound mix (although he still mouths it). However in the same scene, when he is on the phone to Doug Roberts (Paul Newman) to say what the plan is, his reference to himself as a "dumb son of a bitch" is still audible.