4.0/10
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27 user 9 critic

City on Fire (1979)

A pyromaniac, ex-employee of a city oil refinery creates an explosion at the facility which starts a chain-reaction of fires that engulf the entire city.

Director:

Alvin Rakoff
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This project was unfinished.

Director: Harvey Hart
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Barry Newman ... Dr. Frank Whitman
Susan Clark ... Diana Brockhurst-Lautrec
Shelley Winters ... Nurse Andrea Harper
Leslie Nielsen ... Mayor William Dudley
James Franciscus ... Jimbo
Ava Gardner ... Maggie Grayson
Henry Fonda ... Fire Chief Albert Risley
Jonathan Welsh Jonathan Welsh ... Herman Stover
Hilary Farr ... Mrs. Adams (as Hilary Labow)
Richard Donat ... Fire Captain Harrison Risley
Mavor Moore Mavor Moore ... John O'Brien
Donald Pilon ... Dr. Matwick
Terry Haig Terry Haig ... Terry James
Cec Linder ... Councilman Paley
Ken James Ken James ... Andrew - Deputy Fire Chief
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Storyline

William Dudley is a corrupt mayor of a nameless Midwestern U.S. city who has allowed a chemical refinery to be built right in the center of town, far from any river, lake or reservoir. On one typical hot summer day, Herman Stover, a dangerously disturbed employee at the works has been denied an expected promotion and in addition, finds himself fired. He then decides to take his revenge against the works by opening the valves to the storage vats and their interconnecting pipes, flooding the area and sewers with gasoline and chemicals. It doesn't take long for this act of petty vandalism to start a fire, which starts a chain reaction that causes massive explosions at the refinery, destroying it and spreading a mushroom-cloud of flame that soon engulfs the entire metropolis! The drama focuses on a newly built hospital which, like the refinery and all civic buildings that went up during the mayor's crooked administration, is shoddily built and poorly equipped where the head doctor, Frank ... Written by Alfred Jingle

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

What Happened to Them Could Happen to You ... In Any City Anywhere!

Genres:

Action | Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Canada | USA

Language:

English | French

Release Date:

31 August 1979 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

City on Fire See more »

Filming Locations:

Montréal, Québec, Canada

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Box Office

Budget:

$5,300,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$784,181

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$784,181
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Some elements of the disaster depicted here reflect the Texas City Disaster: On 16 April 1947, a mid-morning fire on the SS Grandcamp, docked in Texas City, caused the ship to blow up and ignite several oil refineries around the harbor. The fire detonated approximately 2,300 tons of ammonium nitrate and the ensuing fires and explosions killed at least 581 people in and around Texas City. These events also triggered the first class action lawsuit against the United States government, on behalf of 8,485 dead and injured victims. See more »

Goofs

Although set in an unnamed American city (identifiable because of the appearance of USA flags in a few scenes), the television station setting for the movie has the call letters listed as CFTM-TV. In the United States, all television and radio station call letters begin with either the letter K (for states west of the Mississippi River), or the letter W (for states east of the Mississippi River). The letter C is used for all of Canada's provinces. See more »

Quotes

Albert: I don't know about this, Sam. Those fires look awfuly close and they're getting closer.
Sam: Just think of your pension.
Albert: I am thinking about it. I'm thinking about how I'm gonna live to collect it!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Road Games: Audio Interview with Grant Page (2016) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Watch out he's got a vendetta..no wait he's got an obsession..no wait..who knows!
3 August 2015 | by jjnxn-1See all my reviews

I'm a disaster movie fan and completist so I've been tracking this down for years, I wish I could say it was worth it. It's good for a laugh or two at the improbable idiocy of the plot but that's about the end of its worth.

Closing in on the bottom of the barrel this flick makes no sense, picking up and dropping plot points at random intervals. The villain of this thing is so sketchily drawn you have only the vaguest idea of what his motive is. That is the largest failing of the film there is no clear focus to anything.

None of the characters are compelling enough to invest in and the special effects are laughable. Not a single one is clearly drawn enough for the viewer to know who they are so you can root for them. Full of one time stars this uses them ill. Shelley Winters at least tries to give a performance but Ava Gardner and Henry Fonda, both looking the worse for wear, obviously did it strictly for the loot and are phoning it in, Henry being the worst offender.

If you're a disaster movie junkie this is a must see but for anyone else its a Grade Z mess.


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