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.




  • William Holden and John Guillermin in The Towering Inferno (1974)
  • Fred Astaire 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)
  • Steve McQueen in The Towering Inferno (1974)

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Reviews & Commentary

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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.

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Did You Know?


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.


Doug Roberts: 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.

Crazy Credits

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

Alternate Versions

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.


We May Never Love Like This Again
performed by
Maureen McGovern
Words and Music by Al Kasha and Joel Hirschhorn


Plot Summary

Synopsis (WARNING: Spoilers)


Action | Drama | Thriller

Box Office


$14,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:


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