The Towering Inferno (1974)


 “I’ll be back, with the whole fire department. ” – Bigelowinferno-poster02

Number of Times Seen – at least 3 times (cable in the 80’s, 10 Feb 2013 and 11 Jul 2016)

Brief Synopsis – At the gala opening of the worlds tallest building, something goes wrong and the guests get trapped as the fire slowly creeps upwards.

My Take on it – When it comes to disaster movies, there are basically two kinds; natural disasters or human error.

This is one of the best ones that fits into the latter category.

The dangers of cost cutting when building high-rise towers is discussed over and over here and even now 42 years later, there are too many scandals that pop up dealing with these kinds of problems; albeit on a smaller scale.

The way that this film was shot was done in a way that it really keeps the viewers on the edge of their seats for the entire (nearly) three hours run time.

It’s quite interesting and eerie how much this movie can remind people of the tragic events in NYC on 9/11 which happened 26 years after this movie came out.

The special effects and stunt-work are superbly done and it makes things look even more realistic because of it.

The cast list is enormous and is filled with  known and unknown actors and actresses and I really liked the way they introduced us to some of the more prominent characters by “announcing” them to a crowd as they showed up at the gala party.

Steve McQueen and Paul Newman (or Paul Newman and Steve McQueen, if I don’t want to get sued) are both great here as the joint leads and each excels in their role despite the apparent friction between the two behind the scenes.

Along with them, the cast includes Faye Dunaway, William Holden, Fred Astaire, Robert Vaughn, Jennifer Jones, Rchard Chamberland, Susan Blakely, OJ Simpson (yes, THAT OJ), Robert Wagner and even Mike Lookinland (Bobby from teh Brady Bunch).

What I liked about this film was that unlike films nowadays, the stars are untouchable, but here they don’t discriminate between who gets to live or die based on their fame making it even more realistic.

Great theme song that won an Oscar for Best Song – We May Never Love Like This Again

Here it is

Bottom Line – Excellent disaster movie that keeps you on the edge of your seat for almost 3 hours. Cast is superb and anyone is fair game in this film. Eerily reminds us of what happened on 9/11 26 years later. Amazing special effects and stunt-work makes it all seem so realistic. Nice to see McQueen and Newman working together onscreen despite the known friction between them behind the scenes. Highly Recommended!

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – During filming an actual fire broke out on one of the sets and Steve McQueen found himself briefly helping real firemen put it out. One of the firemen, not recognizing McQueen, said to the actor, “My wife is not going to believe this”, to which McQueen replied, “Neither is mine.” (From IMDB)

Rating – Oscar Worthy (9/10)

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8 thoughts on “The Towering Inferno (1974)

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