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The Towering Inferno (1974)

tomatometer

50

Average Rating: 7.2/10
Critic Reviews: 6
Fresh: 3 | Rotten: 3

No consensus yet.

audience

72

liked it
Average Rating: 3.3/5
User Ratings: 27,845

My Rating

Movie Info

A skyscraper and an all-star cast go up in flames in Irwin Allen's classic disaster movie. To celebrate the construction of the Glass Tower, the world's tallest building, architect Doug Roberts (Paul Newman) and builder James Duncan (William Holden) hold a gala bash on the highest floors. Trouble is, Duncan's son-in-law and electrical subcontractor Roger Simmons (Richard Chamberlain) installed faulty wiring throughout the 138-story behemoth to save money. While the guests -- including Doug's

Mar 9, 1999

20th Century Fox

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All Critics (27) | Top Critics (6) | Fresh (20) | Rotten (7) | DVD (17)

The movie doesn't stick together in one's head; this thing is like some junky fairground show -- a chamber of horrors with skeletons that jump up.

January 15, 2013 Full Review Source: New Yorker
New Yorker
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Irwin Allen, the Busby Berkeley of natural disasters and other people's troubles, teams up with John Guillermin, a competent if undistinguished action director.

February 3, 2012 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The Towering Inferno is one of the greatest disaster pictures made, a personal and professional triumph for producer Irwin Allen.

September 22, 2008 Full Review Source: Variety
Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A starry cast share out roles that are less like characters than places in a lifeboat.

June 24, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

You may not come out of the theater with any important ideas about American architecture or enterprise, but you will have had a vivid, completely safe nightmare.

May 9, 2005 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The Towering Inferno is a brawny blockbuster of a movie, by far the best of the mid-1970s wave of disaster films.

October 23, 2004 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The result is everything a disaster movie should be, a combination of soap opera and the spectacle of destruction.

February 3, 2012 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Ironically, there's now something almost comforting about the way the film sticks to formula, but the action is still authentically thrilling.

February 3, 2012 Full Review Source: Film4
Film4

Featuring an all-star cast (Paul Newman, Steve McQueen), the movie delivers the goods of a well-crafted disaster flick, but strangely, it was nominated for the Best Picture Oscar.

March 30, 2011 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com
EmanuelLevy.Com

A Titanic tale of hubris...knot-in-the-stomach scary from the moment the fire gets out of control to the last-ditch heroics that come hours later. [Blu-ray]

July 28, 2009 Full Review Source: Groucho Reviews
Groucho Reviews

break out the popcorn, sit back, and enjoy a galaxy of stars picking up their fat paychecks and having a great time. They absolutely don't make 'em like this anymore

May 13, 2009 Full Review Source: Filmcritic.com
Filmcritic.com

Towering Inferno's glass-spangled erection burns with an uncontrollable lust for spectacle.

May 8, 2006 Full Review Source: Slant Magazine
Slant Magazine

For pure disaster-time spectacle, the short list begins (and basically ends) with Poseidon and Inferno. They're time-capsule genre classics that just never get old.

April 28, 2006 Full Review Source: DVDTalk.com
DVDTalk.com

Scared me as a kid. Bored me as an adult.

November 10, 2004 | Comments (3)
Juicy Cerebellum

a camp classic disaster movie

November 8, 2004
Shadows on the Wall

for camp value only

July 26, 2002
Hot Button

The all-time classic disaster movie.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: BBC

Much more than a way to pass a rainy bank holiday afternoon, this is rocking good superleague disaster adventure...

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

Audience Reviews for The Towering Inferno

Starting up, you're praising the fun and beauty. By the end, you're praising that it's over.

Full review at themoviefreakblog.com on 11/27
November 24, 2012
spielberg00

Super Reviewer

The Towering Inferno is a clusterfuck of hammy dialogue, overly ambitious cinematography, and explosions aplenty. Meaning of course, that it is surely nestled in Roland Emmerich's home DVD collection, covered with semen stains.
While I do give it credit for not bogging itself down the plausible, it's nearly three hour running time really tests the patience of any sane viewer. The fact that the academy even threw this into the same league as The Godfather Part 2 & Chinatown is mind-blowing.
Sure the cast is pretty stunning, but the material gives them nothing interesting to do. McQueen and Newman don't even seem into it. In fact, if you listen closely, you can hear them counting their cash in between their scenes. And pardon the pun, but Fred Astaire's performance shows that going down in a blaze of glory isn't always a good thing.
However, all is not lost. There is one really ballsy scene in which a young Robert Wagner makes a nearly death defying escape, only to be thoroughly and violently torched. It is easily the best moment in a film that probably shouldn't have been made.
February 29, 2012
axadntpron
Reid Volk

Super Reviewer

Lengthy, yes, but it didn't feel at all lengthy to me. Before I knew it, I was 2 hours into the film, but remember thinking it only felt like 30 minutes...that's always a good sign of being really into a movie. "The Towering Inferno" laid the foundation for good disaster movies to come, both in being huge budget and cast wise, and with great special effects that accompany a story that makes you glad you're not one of the people you're watching on the screen. It isn't as great as "The Poseidon Adventure," but it's still one of the classics of classics in its genre.
November 12, 2011
stormyweather980

Super Reviewer

Decent entry in the disaster genre, character development is obviously kept to a minimum. The two main reasons to watch this are the cast and the old school effects, which stand pretty damn well to this day.
August 14, 2011
DragonEyeMorrison
Tsubaki Sanjuro

Super Reviewer

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Foreign Titles

  • Flammendes Inferno (DE)
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