There have been some great disaster movies over the year... but there are few that are as good as The Towering Inferno.

The Towering Inferno

The Towering Inferno

It was back in 1975 when The Towering Inferno was released in the UK and was based on a pair of novels, The Tower by Richard Martin Stern and The Glass Inferno by Thomas N. Scortia and Frank M. Robinson.

The movie saw John Guillermin back in the director's chair while Paul Newman and Steve McQueen took on the films' central roles of architect Doug Roberts and fireman Chief O'Hallorhan.

On the day of its grand opening, the world's tallest building becomes victim to an electrical mishap and a subsequent huge fire on its upper floors, causing all of the city's rescue teams to converge upon the scene and attempt to fight against what is a raging monster.

The seventies was great for disaster movies and The Towering Inferno and The Poseidon Adventure were two of the classics that came out of this decade of film.

I grew up watching The Towering Inferno and, for me, it remains and exciting watch that is driven forward by some great visuals and good performances from both Newman and McQueen.

This is not a movie that re-invents the wheel when it comes to the disaster movie genre, but director Guillermin cranks up the tension and the jeopardy bit by bit and scene by scene until he has you right on the edge of your seat.

The director gets the balance between jaw dropping spectacle and great character driven moments just right - the tower on fire still looks terrific even today.

I am huge fans of both Newman and McQueen and it is great to see these cinema icons sharing the screen. The two may be at loggerheads at the beginning - the fire chief blaming the architect for designing the building so fall in the first place - but they come together to try and save as many lives as they can.

Of course, the film is driven by the disaster spectacle, but it is great to see a movie such as this develop some interesting character and relationships. It gives the film a very human feel and, as an audience member, you are invested in these characters and will them to succeed and survive.

Many may criticise the movie for being a tad long, but it doesn't feel like an overly long movie when you are watching it because the action is so intense.

Forty years on, The Towering Inferno remains one of those great popcorn movies that you can sit back and enjoy. It is hard to believe that they have never tried to remake this film - The Poseidon Adventure is a movie that suffered that fate - and I hope it is one that Hollywood leaves well alone.

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