The Towering Inferno (1974)


Action, Drama, Thriller


John Guillermin




Paul Newman, Steve McQueen, William Holden, Faye Dunaway, Fred Astaire, Susan Blakely, Richard Chamberlain, Jennifer Jones, O.J. Simpson, Robert Vaughn, Robert Wagner, Susan Flannery, Sheila Matthews Allen, Norman Burton, Jack Collins


At the opening of The Glass Tower, the world's tallest skyscraper, a massive fire breaks out and a determined fire chief (Steve McQueen) and an honourable architect (Paul Newman) must work together to fight the fire from the outside and the inside.


This film came up a while ago during a conversation with my mother. We thought we were talking about the same movie until I mentioned a terrorist attack. Turns out I was talking about Die Hard and she was talking about The Towering Inferno, a damn accurate title to be honest. Since it came up again a few weeks ago on Birgit's blog, and it sounded fun, I eventually watched it. And it was fun.

The story is well crafted, interesting and suspenseful and that's basically because of all the subplots this film has. The film does not only revolve around the attempts to escape from the building on fire - which I was worried it was going to happen - but it also focuses on the individual dramas of the characters, being a bit moralistic at times. Like with the couple having an extra-marital affair who is among the first victims. At times, it does get a little melodramatic and soapy, and there are things going on that really add nothing to the story, but it's still bearable.

There isn't much of a character development, but the main characters, those being Steve McQueen's fire chief O'Hallorhan and Paul Newman's architect Roberts, are quite interesting. The others, well, it's not like they are not interesting, but they are not likeable.

The best thing is easily the pacing. With a running time that almost touches the 3 hours, which to be honest scared the crap out of me, the film flows smooth like water, and it goes way faster than a lot of other disaster movies, like Titanic. The action isn't bad either.


  1. Oh.."thanks for the shout out and I am so happy that you watched the movie. I know what you mean about the couple who are carrying on an affair. Poor Robert Wagner is full on on fire and then she also, as she falls through a window to her death. They really do die a horrible death. You can't wait for Richard Chamberlain to die and one wishes Fay Funaway would have as well. I'm actually surprised that Paul and Steve are in this flick but it make sure it more fun especially how nutty Steve McQueen acted behind the scenes. I had to laugh that all Oj had to do was go down and put the fire out but misses this. I'm glad you enjoyed this flick

    1. You're welcome! I didn't know much about the McQueen-Newman rivalry but now I do, and you're right, the two together make it more fun.