Watch The Towering Inferno
- 2 hr 45 min
The Towering Inferno is a captivating American disaster movie released in 1974, directed by John Guillermin. With a packed ensemble cast of legendary actors such as Paul Newman, Steve McQueen, and William Holden, it becomes an instant classic of its genre. The storyline is terrifying, and the special effects are breathtaking, which all pose to make it a trailblazer example in disaster filmmaking.
The events of the movie take place at the world's tallest building, the 138-story Glass Tower, located in San Francisco. The opening ceremony of the building is in progress with a parade of a glamorous guest list which includes architects, builders, politicians, and businessmen. But things take a horrible turn when a short circuit in the electrical room, located in the basement, causes a fire to start. The fire takes no time to spread, and it quickly engulfs the entire building, trapping its guests inside.
The chief architect Doug Roberts (Paul Newman) is not just a spectator, and he feels responsible for the disaster, which he is confident he could not have foreseen. He feels the urge to rescue as many guests as possible, and he teams up with the Fire Chief "Vernon O. Martin" (Steve McQueen) to fight the blaze. However, this is no ordinary fear to fight; the building's height makes it almost impossible to access every floor. A group of guests on the 81st-floor lounge is trapped, and nuclear scientist James Duncan (William Holden), who organized the party, is among them.
The primary responsibility for the safety of the building lies with the building's owner, Jim Duncan's son-in-law and a wealthy businessman, James Duncan, Jr.(William Holden). He attempts to keep the event under control and avoid the crisis reaching the media. But soon realizes that he is up against a towering inferno that can only be dealt with by the fire department.
As the fire rages on, the situation becomes even more intense, and the characters are forced to confront their limitations as heroes. Meanwhile, the frightened guests, including the grudge-holding con artist and a blustering power-mad Senator, fight for survival as their different interests collide.
The entire rescue mission hangs in the balance on the 65th floor, where the guests hope to be rescued by a helicopter hovering near the roof. However, this goes wrong, and the guests are forced to climb down the outside of the building by a wire, which creates even more chaos.
The film's special effects redefined the concept of disaster filmmaking during the 1970s by creating gigantic fireballs and sculptures, and they are spectacular. The inferno takes on a life of its own, with the actors appearing helpless against it, which grips the viewer into the action even more. The movie continually ratchets up the tension and anxiety as more stories unfold.
In conclusion, The Towering Inferno remains a masterpiece in disaster filmmaking, and it is also memorable as the final film for two Hollywood greats: Fred Astaire and Jennifer Jones. The multiple Academy Award-nominated film will make you feel you are engulfed in a raging inferno on its own, creating intense emotions with its plot and characters. It's a must-watch for fans of the genre and fans of the talented cast members.
The Towering Inferno is a 1974 action movie with a runtime of 2 hours and 45 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.0 and a MetaScore of 69.