The Towering Inferno

Trivia: Stars Paul Newman and Steve McQueen apparently argued intensely over who should get top billing. In the end the producers settled for a compromise: reading the film poster (which is reproduced as the DVD cover) top to bottom, Paul Newman is first, i.e. higher, or "top" billing. But reading left to right, Steve McQueen is first. The same applies to their photographs either side of the main artwork, McQueen on the left but Newman (marginally) higher up. Ironically, this billing format was an issue when McQueen was considered for a role in "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid."

Eliza

Trivia: Fred Astaire was not acting during the climactic scene where the water tanks explode in an attempt to extinguish the flames. His terrified reactions were real.

Continuity mistake: When O.J. Simpson (Security Guard) attempts to rescue the mother and 2 children from their apartment, he kicks the door in. If you look closely, the door is actually open and he's holding it shut so he "can" kick it in! (01:06:45)

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Doug Roberts: I don't know. Maybe they just oughta leave it the way it is. Kind of a shrine to all the bullshit in the world.

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Answer: Mainly it was about egos (mostly McQueen's) and a professional rivalry, not only as top movie stars, but also as auto racers. McQueen considered himself a superior driver to Newman, even though they never competed against each other. When McQueen was considered to co-star with Newman in "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid," McQueen wanted top billing, then dropped out when he wouldn't receive it, even though Newman was considered the bigger star. In "The Towering Inferno," McQueen supposedly obsessed over how many lines he had compared to Newman.

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Expanding on this: McQueen's demand for top billing continued on this film (as did William Holden's, but he was never a serious candidate), which is why the end result was "staggered": McQueen's name was to the left but lower, while Newman's was higher but to the right, so both had top billing depending how one read it (left-to-right, or top-to-bottom). Studies have shown that the name audiences tend to see first is the one on the left, regardless of staggering, so McQueen may have "won" here.

Newman does get a small victory of sorts at the end of this film when the cast credits begin scrolling upward on the screen. Newman's and McQueen's names are again staggered like in the beginning intro, but Newman's name appears first as it scrolls up from the screen's bottom.

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