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The Towering Inferno Details

FULL SYNOPSIS

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 lady friend (Faye Dunaway), a rich widow (Jennifer Jones), a con man (Fred Astaire), and a politico (Robert Vaughn) -- enjoy the party, and a security guard (O.J. Simpson) wonders why his equipment is on the fritz, a burnt-out circuit breaker ignites some garbage on the 85th floor, swiftly turning the high-rise into, well, a towering inferno. With the guests trapped on the 135th floor, it's up to Roberts and Fire Chief O'Hallorhan (Steve McQueen) to find a way to stop the blaze. Though not the first all-star '70s disaster movie (1970's Steve McQueen and 1972's Steve McQueen preceded it), The Towering Inferno was the most popular and the most spectacular. In a move that would become more common in late-'90s blockbuster Hollywood, The Towering Inferno's mammoth production was mounted by two studios; screenwriter Stirling Silliphant combined the two novels owned by the studios into one saga. 1970s "shake 'n bake" maestro Allen, with co-director John Guillermin (Allen did the action sequences), tapped into deep fears about the fragility of modern life in the face of extreme natural phenomena, as well as into the envies and insecurities of middle-aged professional men. The Towering Inferno packed theaters and earned eight Oscar nominations, including Best Picture; it won for Cinematography, Editing, and Song. While its heroic, no-nonsense men provided some traditional comfort, The Towering Inferno still might provoke second thoughts about going into a skyscraper. ~ Lucia Bozzola, Rovi

  • Release date:December 14, 1974

Awards

Awarded by
Nominee
Category
Year
Status
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Harold Kress Best Editing 1974 Winner
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Herman Lewis Best Sound 1974 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Joel Hirschhorn Best Song 1974 Winner
Hollywood Foreign Press Association Joel Hirschhorn Best Original Song 1974 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Raphael Bretton Best Art Direction 1974 Nominee
Hollywood Foreign Press Association Susan Flannery New Star of the Year - Female 1974 Winner
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Theodore Soderberg Best Sound 1974 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Ward Preston Best Art Direction 1974 Nominee
Hollywood Foreign Press Association Fred Astaire Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture 1974 Winner
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Fred Astaire Best Supporting Actor 1974 Nominee
British Academy of Film and Television Arts Fred Astaire Best Supporting Actor 1975 Winner
Hollywood Foreign Press Association Jennifer Jones Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture 1974 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Joseph Biroc Best Cinematography 1974 Winner
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences John Williams Best Original Dramatic Score 1974 Nominee
British Academy of Film and Television Arts John Williams Anthony Asquith Award 1975 Winner
Hollywood Foreign Press Association Stirling Silliphant Best Screenplay 1974 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Irwin Allen Best Picture 1974 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Al Kasha Best Song 1974 Winner
Hollywood Foreign Press Association Al Kasha Best Original Song 1974 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Carl Kress Best Editing 1974 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Fred Koenekamp Best Cinematography 1974 Winner

Cast

Steve McQueen
as Fire Chief Michael O'Hallorhan
Paul Newman
as Doug Roberts
William Holden
as James Duncan
Faye Dunaway
as Susan
Fred Astaire
as Harlee Claiborne
Richard Chamberlain
as Simmons
Malcolm Atterbury
as Jeweler
Dabney Coleman
as Assistant Fire Chief
John Crawford
as Callahan
Sheila Mathews
as Paula Ramsay
Gregory Sierra
as Carlos
Norman Burton
as Will Giddings
Don Gordon
as Kappy
Felton Perry
as Scott
Robert Vaughn
as Sen. Gary Parker
Susan Blakely
as Patty Simmons
Jennifer Jones
as Lisolette Mueller
O.J. Simpson
as Security Chief Jernigan
Robert Wagner
as Bigelow
Susan Flannery
as Lorrie
Carlena Gower
as Albright Children
Carol McEvoy
as Mrs. Albright
Susan Blakely
as Patty Simmons
Gregory Sierra
as Carlos
Felton Perry
as Scott
Jennifer Jones
as Lisolette Mueller
Susan Flannery
as Lorrie
Robert Wagner
as Bigelow
O.J. Simpson
as Security Chief Jernigan
Carlena Gower
as Albright Children
Robert Vaughn
as Sen. Gary Parker
Don Gordon
as Kappy
Dabney Coleman
as Assistant Fire Chief
Malcolm Atterbury
as Jeweler
Norman Burton
as Will Giddings
Sheila Mathews
as Paula Ramsay
John Crawford
as Callahan

Crew

John Guillermin
Director
Irwin Allen
Director
Irwin Allen
Producer
Stirling Silliphant
Screenwriter
Fred Koenekamp
Cinematographer
Joseph Biroc
Cinematographer
Jim Freeman
Cinematographer
Joel Hirschhorn
Songwriter
Al Kasha
Songwriter
John Williams
Composer (Music Score)
Carl Kress
Editor
Harold Kress
Editor
Ward Preston
Art Director
Raphael Bretton
Set Designer
Paul Zastupnevich
Costume Designer
Herman Lewis
Sound/Sound Designer
Theodore Soderberg
Sound/Sound Designer
Malcolm Harding
First Assistant Director
Wes McAfee
First Assistant Director
Newt Arnold
First Assistant Director
Bud Ekins
Stunts
Monty Westmore
Makeup
Paul Stader
Stunts Coordinator
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