In Honor Of The Great Chicago Fire: Five Best Movie Conflagrations

Categories: Movies
On this date in 1871, the Great Chicago Fire began. It burned for three days, destroying four square miles of the city. Originally blamed on Mrs. O'Leary's cow, later reports revealed the blaze resulted from celebrations following the Cubs' last World Series win. NL Central jokes aside, we thought it would be a perfect opportunity to commemorate Chicago's almost total destruction with a list showcasing some of cinema's greatest conflagrations, which -- given the oppressive heat and the still on-the-loose Heights arsonist -- seemed like a great idea.

5. Firestorm (1998)
In another dimension, Howie Long is known not for his role co-hosting Fox NFL Sunday, but for his string of successful action movies, which have catapulted him into prominence alongside Schwarzenegger, Stallone, Willis, and Gibson. Unfortunately for Long, in our dimension the `80s ended eight years before the release of this stinkbomb.



4. Reign of Fire (2002)
If it wasn't for his anorexic turn in Equilibrium I'd think Christian Bale was unable to make a movie where he doesn't sport huge pecs and speak in a guttural accent. This well-intentioned Jaws ripoff also has the benefit of being the only movie on the list where the entire planet has been pretty much turned into a cinder.


3. Bambi (1942) Being a deer sucks, apparently. Even if you survive your mother's death and befriend a myriad of woodland sidekicks, you still run the risk of dying horribly in a forest fire. This movie really needs Howie Long on a motorcycle to save the day. And I could say the same about most movies.


2. Backdraft (1991)
The passage of time has sort of redeemed Backdraft, which was considered a cliched yet visually impressive actioner at the time of its release. Now, compared to recent firefighter movies like Ladder 49, it it might as well be The Godfather. Plus: Kurt Russell.


1. The Towering Inferno (1974)
I have an engineer friend who collapses into a heap of sputtering rage when the subject of this movie comes up, so of course I have to include it here. As for this scene, I have a hard time believing Robert Wagner used to "run the 100 in ten flat," unless he was going downhill on a skateboard. Because from where I'm sitting it looks like it would've taken him a week to cross that living room.




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