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The Towering Inferno

4.5 out of 5 stars 352 customer reviews

Additional DVD options Edition Discs
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(Apr 15, 2003)
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$19.99 $4.55
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$6.94 $5.84
(May 09, 2006)
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Special Edition
$19.65 $6.77

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

The Towering Inferno

Disaster movies used to work because there was little certainty as to who would survive. Not so in this film, really an amalgam of two original stories, about a group of well-to-do celebrants at the top floor of a skyscraper. Cheapo electrical wiring and bad construction management cause an enormous blaze at the lower floors, steadily rising to consume the revelers. Newman's an architect, McQueen a firefighter, and Fred Astaire a kind old gentleman, for which he was Oscar-nominated. O.J. Simpson plays a security guard who rescues a cat. Now that's a disaster. --Keith Simanton

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Paul Newman, Steve McQueen, William Holden, Faye Dunaway, Fred Astaire
  • Directors: John Guillermin
  • Writers: Frank M. Robinson, Richard Martin Stern, Stirling Silliphant, Thomas N. Scortia
  • Producers: Irwin Allen, Sidney Marshall
  • Format: AC-3, Closed-captioned, Color, Letterboxed, THX, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox
  • DVD Release Date: April 15, 2003
  • Run Time: 165 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (352 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6305280762
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #14,479 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Towering Inferno" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
Irwin Allen decided to follow up his "The Poseidon Adventure" success with the 1974 suspense-thriller "The Towering Inferno," a movie which also garnered an impressive 10 Oscar nominations and is released as a 2-disc DVD special edition this week.
Whereas in "The Poseidon Adventure" the leads had to travel up, the only way is down for Steve McQueen, Paul Newman, William Holden, Fred Astaire, Richard Chamberlain, Robert Wagner and Faye Dunaway. Attending the opening night gala the guests are trapped on the 129th floor of the world's tallest building which becomes an inferno thanks to the shoddy wiring system installed by chief builder James Duncan (Holden) and his electrician son Roger Simmons (Chamberlain).
Newman plays Doug Roberts, the proud architect behind the Glass Tower, a skyscraper, which dominates the San Francisco skyline at a height of 138-story's. Returning from a long vacation Roberts immediately recognizes that something is wrong and he is proven correct when a circuit breaker burns out and ignites garbage on a lower floor.
While the script can be a tad melodramatic at times, the effort put into this movie is obvious. Nominated for Best Picture and winning for best cinematography, best special effects and best song, the movie was a smash hit and still holds up well today in this age of blockbuster special effects extravaganza's.
As with "The Poseidon Adventure" the previous DVD release was sorely lacking in special features and has been replaced with three hours of extras. Joining the nine all-new featurettes which includes a retrospective, a look at the special effects and the art design is the AMC Backstory on the making of the movie, 32 deleted or extended scenes and an audio commentary by film historian F.X. Feeney.
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Format: DVD
I remember when I first saw the 1974 disaster epic "The Towering Inferno" as a child. The movie was playing exclusively at one of those old-fashioned, huge theaters, complete with balcony and curtains which drew open as the film began. The screen was gigantic. There was not an empty seat in the house. Moviegoers applauded as the opening chords of John Williams' tremendous score began thundering from the speakers during the opening credit sequence. And fans continued to applaud, most notably when Steven McQueen finally arrives on the scene, fire marshall red car skidding to a halt, helmet in hand. This film, one of the greatest blockbusters in cinema history, was a true event for 1970s audiences.
It has always been easy to dismiss this film, just as most critics dismiss many of the popular disaster films of this era ("Airport," "Earthquake," "The Poseidon Adventure"). When watching "The Towering Inferno" today (this film must be seen in the letterbox format, if only to truly appreciate the fantastic special effects), I feel a sad twinge of nostalgia. Steve McQueen's presence alone is worth the price of admission, and this role would turn out to be one of his last in a major film. He steals just about every scene he's in, simply because of his extraordinary screen presence. A few wrinkles crease his weathered face, he's kind of chubby, but even with middle age slowly approaching, McQueen's spark is undeniable. "The Towering Inerno" is a great example as to why McQueen was one of our greatest movie stars.
Sure, the enormous cast sleepwalks through most of this film in "I'm-just-collecting-a-paycheck" fashion, but has Paul Newman and Faye Dunaway ever been as attractive as they were in this flick?
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Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
I saw this movie when I was just 16 in 1974. It made a big impression on me then - that such a big, exciting movie could even be made. Now - in 2009 - we get the first hi-def home video version of this film on Blu-ray disc. Let me just say - Fox did a great job! The detail is all there - along with the brilliant 70s colors (check out Fred Astaire's taxi near the beginning for super solid yellow), and, of course, the great John Williams score. All of the extras from the DVD special edition have been ported over as well. Fans of this movie should be ecstatic with this new edition.

Sure, the movie is dated, somewhat overlong, and the acting a bit wooden - but as shear spectacle (and 70s kitsch) - it kept this viewer interested. Another thing that is very refreshing - real models for the special effects work. Some of these models were built 70 feet high in order to ensure realism. If this movie were remade today - I'm afraid it would suffer from overuse of CGI effects (such as in the recent _Poseidon_.)

One other note - the opening menu on the Blu-ray disc is not to be missed. Someone worked really hard on creating a menu that honors the film. Let the disc spin up naturally without clicking ahead. A very nice touch.
1 Comment 28 of 28 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: DVD
After the success of The Poseidon Adventure, disaster flicks became the rage in Hollywood. Stars lined up left in right to appear in them. While most are laughable and only worth watching for the camp value, Towering Inferno rises above the pack. It is a well-crafted and well-acted movie, with excellent performances. Like most disaster movies, the plot revolves around a state of the art high-rise in San Francisco. Due to faulty wiring, the building catches fire trapping people all throughout. You are kept on the edge of your seat with amazing pyrotechnics, daring helicopter rescues and the fire departments last ditch effort to save the last remaining people on the top floor of the building. Paul Newman plays the architect who designed the building and Steve McQueen is the fire chief who risks his life fighting the fire. They are but two of a mega-watt cast that includes Fred Astaire (who received his only Academy Award nomination for the role), Faye Dunaway, Robert Wagner, Richard Chamberlain (who is cast against type as the villain), Jennifer Jones, OJ Simpson and Robert Vaughan (Mike Lookinland, Bobby Brady from The Brady Bunch has a small part). The film was a huge success and received a nomination for Best Picture in 1974.
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Topic From this Discussion
So why are they not mentioning the MAIN characters???
thats amazon for you. why do they also have every reveiw ever posted on blu-ray titles i just want the blu-ray reveiws not reveiws of the old dvds.....
Aug 19, 2009 by BOB SZVETICS |  See all 2 posts
OK, so where is The Poseidon Adventure blu-ray???
I'm wondering the same thing. Next year (2012) will be the 40th anniversay for the original Poseidon Adventure. I'm hoping fox will release on blu ray. We need a good stereo sound on this release.
Aug 7, 2011 by Jeffery D. Lefleur |  See all 4 posts
Rate the sound and picture
The Blu-Ray is better than the two disk dvd. The video is better and the audio is in dts 5.1 sound. Fox has done a good job for once.....
Jul 16, 2009 by BOB SZVETICS |  See all 4 posts
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