All the films from all the editions, including those subsequently removed, presently totalling 1177. An easy way of seeing how…
The Towering Inferno
The world's tallest building is on fire. You are there on the 135th floor... no way down... no way out.
At the opening party of a colossal—but poorly constructed—office building, a massive fire breaks out that threatens to destroy the tower and everyone in it.
Step 1: Get two copies of The Towering Inferno.
Step 2: Get two large televisions and push them closer together.
Step 3: Start the first copy of The Towering Inferno somewhere between 10-15 minutes earlier than the second copy of The Towering Inferno.
Step 4: Get a horrified look on your face as it is confirmed for you that, yes, I'm totally making a 9/11 joke.
If I were a building, I’d probably also go up in flames if I had Paul Newman and Fred Astaire walking around inside of me. Only so much hotness a building can handle, right? But it gets worse. Steve McQueen shows up on the scene — of all people! — to extinguish the fire. McQueen the fireman. What a joke. If I were a building in flames and McQueen was sent over to get me under control, I can tell you right now I’d burn more, not less.
Here was a production so enormous that they had to double the duties of a normal production. Two studios put it together (20th Century and Warner Bros.), two directors were credited (one for talking scenes, one for action scenes), it's based on two novels smooshed together, and they very intricately and carefully designed it for two superstar leads (Steve McQueen and Paul Newman) to anchor the film. It's documented that McQueen only signed on if him and Newman had the exact same number of lines in the script. Even on the poster it's unsure who actually has top billing. McQueen's name comes first if you're reading left to right, but Newman's name is positioned higher if you're prone to read…
It comes as a bit of a shame (but understandable nevertheless) that The Towering Inferno doesn't get shown as often on television anymore following 9/11. Possibly the finest example of a seventies disaster film alongside The Poseidon Adventure, The Towering Inferno stuck two of the three biggest Hollywood stars of the decade together in a fight to save hundreds of people from a fire in a newly-built skyscraper in San Francisco. Paul Newman and Steve McQueen play the architect and a fire-chief respectfully who both play their part in an epic race against time as the fire rages out of control engulfing the building. We have heroics from many quarters, and the usual cliche-ridden rich cowards, but it's the two…
Now this is a proper blockbuster! Just look at that cast!
As The Towering Inferno approaches 40, it's safe to say that, bar some hammy acting, it has aged really well.
It is classy filmmaking that still carries the same tension and horror it did the first time I saw it. While it doesn't give me the nightmares it gave me the first time I saw it, I still find the randomness and the fierceness of the fire terrifying.
The cast is absolutely stellar and a joy to watch. I love disaster films and seeing Newman and McQueen together with Astaire running around is just icing on the cake.
I'm sure I'll stick around to see this fantastic film reach 50!
If you are one of those saps who believes that the Academy Awards have lost their artistic integrity over the years, let me remind you that this film was nominated for EIGHT Oscars forty years ago, including Best Picture and Best Supporting Actor for Fred Astaire because he was OLD and the voters were concerned he'd kick off before they had a chance to honor him... so why not just give him a nomination for his performance in this piece of crap which required no more acting talent that a late-season Fantasy Island episode?
If people are appreciating The Towering Inferno for its cheesiness and/or silliness, then yes... I suppose I can get behind that. But if people actually think…
There are some good action scenes and the cast is great, but for what this movie is it is too damn long.
Tonight on "Let's ruin older Films with modern Eyes," watch as Faye Dunaway is being reduced to a passive nothing of a character while the script forgets O.J. Simpson for almost one and a half hours in this all-white sausage fest where hybris meets greed, known as "The Towering Inferno"
We *could* chalk OJ up as one of the script's many casualties, since this adaptation of two novels is overstuffed with way too many characters. It's funny, though, because occasionally the film manages to make us care for characters outside the maybe twelve people roster of central characters. These outside characters get one little moment, one scene but that surprisingly works more often than it doesn't. The side effect is…
To be reviewed on Episode #44 of The Immortals...
Steve McQueen vs. Paul Newman
The concept is completely ludicrous but surprisingly works and it's good, its biggest sin is that it's a bit long.
Also you have Paul Newman and Steve McQueen on it.
A classic of disaster films like Poseidon and Earthquake.
A pretty solid disaster movie -- but legitimately amazing that it was best picture nominated, and perhaps more shocking that Fred Astaire was nominated for best supporting actor. Some great set pieces, and two strong lead performances, sure -- but it's an hour too long, and by 2016 standards, it's just a disaster movie. Still dug it though. I've always liked disaster movies.
There seems to be zero subtext here, meaning the only cinematic message is about fire safety.
How do you like your stars? Grilled? Roasted? Smoked? Here you can take your pick, as a host of celebrities—most of them fading—line up for fiery deaths, just for your pleasure.
This was the pinnacle of the disaster genre, transposing all the stuff of The Poseidon Adventure and turning it up to eleven.
There’s some stunted bits of story and character development in the first hour, but when the fire breaks out, no one much cares about all that anymore, and we settle down for two more protracted hours of pyrotechnics and ruined cocktail dresses.
It’s an expensive, occasionally thrilling hoot.
All you dumb directors and producers of the 21th century who keep making helpless disaster movies! Have a look at The Towering Inferno. It is possible to make a great disaster movie that isn't just a lot of CGI and bad acting. This movie is the very finest of the genre, and I really wanted to rate it higher, but couldn't because it's no more than great entertainment that doesn't get much deeper. But on that level, it's great!
Edit! Did raise to four stars. My feeling about this movie is just too good. Great entertainment, and a bunch of the greatest actors. McQueen, Newman, Vaughn, Astaire, Dunaway, Holden, Chamberlain, Wagner. Who could wish for more?!
Every film that has ever been nominated for an Academy Award in any category. Enjoy!
This list is the Letterboxd version of The Oxford History of World Cinema.
The book celebrates and chronicles over one…