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 <email@example.com>
Paul Newman later regretted his decision to co-star with Steve McQueen because of the rivalry between the two, created by Steve. As a result, the fireman role dominates Newman's architect. Three contributing factors are 1) Both characters have the same number of lines (at McQueen's insistence); 2) McQueen's character doesn't appear until 43 minutes into the film. As a result, Newman had used almost half his lines before McQueen enters. And 3) the fire chief is the authoritative hero who outranks and captures center stage over all other characters. During filming, Newman was quoted as saying, "For the 1st time, I fell for the goddamn numbers. I did this turkey for a million and 10% of the gross, but it's the 1st and last time, I swear." He later collaborated with Irwin Allen on When Time Ran Out... (1980). See more »
Throughout the movie, it is night time, but many window shots show a dusk sky. See more »
[about breeches buoy lottery]
We'll send the kids out first, and then the women. Number this up to, I don't know - a hundred or so.
High-rise roulette. That's right.
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The 20th Century Fox and Warner Bros. Pictures logos don't appear in the beginning. See more »
Television Versions of the movie start with an alternate opening. Instead of the camera facing the helicopter at the left, the camera is on top of the helicopter, in view of the rocks that the helicopter will go over. See more »
When I was an impressionable teenager in 1975 I saw Towering Inferno 4 times at the cinema, Still a record for me, and despite the years and jaded view of middle age, this is still a thrilling film, mainly because the effects are so realistic, no CGI then, and the characters are so presented well (if a bit archly at times). I still cannot decide if the ending would actually put the fire out, but who cares, that countdown still gets to me. I forgot how good Paul Newman was in his role, and I can never forget Fred Astaire, such a smooth performance. Great cinema, daft in parts, but the best films always are.
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