The Towering Inferno


The Towering Inferno

Critics Consensus

Although it is not consistently engaging enough to fully justify its towering runtime, The Towering Inferno is a blustery spectacle that executes its disaster premise with flair.



Total Count: 29


Audience Score

User Ratings: 28,295
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Movie Info

On the day of its grand opening, the world's tallest building becomes victim to an electrical mishap and a subsequent huge fire on its upper floors, causing all of the city's rescue teams to converge upon the scene and attempt to fight against what is a raging monster.


Steve McQueen
as Mike O'Hallorhan
Paul Newman
as Doug Roberts
William Holden
as Jim Duncan
Fred Astaire
as Harlee Claiborne
Faye Dunaway
as Susan Franklin
Susan Blakely
as Patty Simmons
Richard Chamberlain
as Roger Simmons
Jennifer Jones
as Lisolette Mueller
O.J. Simpson
as Security Chief Jernigan
Robert Vaughn
as Sen. Gary Parker
Robert Wagner
as Dan Bigelow
Sheila Mathews
as Paula Ramsay
Norman Burton
as Will Giddings
Jack Collins
as Mayor Robert Ramsay
Carol McEvoy
as Mrs. Albright
Mike Lookinland
as Albright Child
Carlena Gower
as Albright Child
Olan Soule
as Engineer
John Crawford
as Callahan
Dabney Coleman
as Assistant Fire Chief
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News & Interviews for The Towering Inferno

Critic Reviews for The Towering Inferno

All Critics (29) | Top Critics (7) | Fresh (21) | Rotten (8)

  • 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.

    Jan 15, 2013 | Full Review…
  • Irwin Allen, the Busby Berkeley of natural disasters and other people's troubles, teams up with John Guillermin, a competent if undistinguished action director.

    Feb 3, 2012 | Full Review…
  • The Towering Inferno is one of the greatest disaster pictures made, a personal and professional triumph for producer Irwin Allen.

    Sep 22, 2008 | Full Review…

    Variety Staff

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

    Jun 24, 2006 | Full Review…

    Geoff Andrew

    Time Out
    Top 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 | Rating: 3.5/5
  • The Towering Inferno is a brawny blockbuster of a movie, by far the best of the mid-1970s wave of disaster films.

    Oct 23, 2004 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Towering Inferno

  • Dec 02, 2015
    Really cool. This film is legendary for basically starting the entire disaster movie genre. It's very entertaining from beginning to end, and watching Newman and McQueen together in one movie is pretty damn awesome.
    Stephen S Super Reviewer
  • May 12, 2014
    If it's the 70s, it must be the era of the disaster movie. Here we have yes..a towering inferno and a bunch of stars desperately trying to escape it. These epics are entertaining but superficial in their treatment of natural disasters.
    John B Super Reviewer
  • Dec 15, 2012
    Overlong by a good half hour but still pretty gripping, "The Towering Inferno" is one of the classic disaster movies and deserves to be treated as such. There's nothing incredible about it, but you might be surprised at how involved you actually get.
    Stephen E Super Reviewer
  • Mar 29, 2012
    The movie was ok but a few scenes got dragged out and the movie was too long for what it was. The acting was alright but could of been better. Wouldn't recommend watching it unless you love these types of movies. I myself got a little bored of it. Seemed to have some errors as well why did a door on the observatory floor say fl 102 meaning floor 102 when the tower is over 135 stories high?
    Paul A Super Reviewer

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