Believe it or not, the Irwin Allen produced The Towering Inferno was not only nominated for eight Academy Awards, it won three of them. This star-studded ensemble disaster flick was not the first of its kind, but it is definitely one of the best. I remember when I first watched it, I was dubious of its merit and wondered about its Oscar pedigree, but in the end, I was sucked in by it and entertained from start to finish. If you look at a lot of the other Oscar nominated films from 1974 – and the 70s in general – The Towering Inferno is like a breath of fresh air made of pure entertainment. I hate the notion that Oscar nominated films need to be serious or arty or what have you. This is cinema in all its glory. The Towering Inferno’s Oscar nominations were as follows: Best Sound, Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography (won), Best Film Editing (won), Best Original Song (won), Best Original Dramatic Score, Best Supporting Actor Fred Astaire and Best Picture. The other films nominated for Best Picture that year were Chinatown, The Conversation, Lenny and winner The Godfather Part II.
Doug Roberts: I thought we were building something where people could work and live and be SAFE! If you had to cut costs, why didn’t you cut floors instead of corners?
James Duncan: Now listen. Any decisions that were made for the use of alternate building materials were made because I as a builder have a right to make those decisions. If I remained within the building code and god-dammit I did!
Doug Roberts: [Chuckling] Building code? Jesus. Building code. Come on, Dunc, I mean now that’s a standard cop-out for when you’re in trouble. See, I was crawling around up there. I mean duct holes weren’t fire-stopped! Corridors without fire doors in them, sprinklers that won’t work, and an electrical system that’s good for what? I mean it’s good for starting fires! Phew, where was I when all this was going on? Because I’m just as guilty as you and that god-damned son-in-law of yours! What do they call it when you kill people?