City on Fire (1978) - Rotten Tomatoes

City on Fire1978

City on Fire (1978)





Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

City on Fire Photos

Movie Info

City on Fire, a disaster thriller filmed in Canada with dialogue in both French and English, tells the story of an oil-refinery explosion in a small town. Dr. Frank Whitman (Barry Newman) and his co-workers, including Nurse Harper (Shelley Winters) and Dr. Matwick (Donald Pilon), fight bravely to save the victims even when they, themselves are endangered by the fire. The film also features cameos by Ava Gardner and Henry Fonda. The film moves at a fast pace and creates a great deal of suspense as the fire closes in on the survivors. Director Alvin Rakoff uses creativity instead of a big budget and, aided by the splendid cinematography of Rene Verzier, succeeds in creating an exciting disaster film.

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Barry Newman
as Dr. Frank Whitman
Susan Clark
as Diana Brockhurst-Lautrec
Shelley Winters
as Nurse Andrea Harper
Leslie Nielsen
as Mayor William Dudley
Ava Gardner
as Maggie Grayson
Henry Fonda
as Fire Chief Albert Risley
Mavor Moore
as John O'Brien
Jonathan Welsh
as Herman Stover
Richard Donat
as Fire Captain Harrison Risley
John Welsh
as Herman Stover
Ken James
as Andrew - Deputy Fire Chief
Hilary Labow
as Mrs. Adams
Donald Pilon
as Dr. Matwick
Terry Haig
as Terry James
Cec Linder
as Councilman Paley
Hilary LeBow
as Mrs. Adams
Melody Ryane
as Nuerse Florence Stoddard
Nancy Beatty
as Mary Stover
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Critic Reviews for City on Fire

All Critics (2)

...a misbegotten endeavor that's rarely, if ever, able to live up to the potential afforded by its seemingly foolproof premise.

June 25, 2021 | Rating: 1.5/4 | Full Review…

The attractions of City on Fire may be encapsulated thus: Fire destroys city. Not many stars killed. Except that 'dull', as criticism, scarcely does justice to the ludicrous contrivance of this disaster movie.

August 2, 2015 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for City on Fire


Closing in on the bottom of the barrel disaster flick makes no sense picking up and dropping plot points at random intervals. 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.

jay nixon
jay nixon

Super Reviewer


A campy B-disaster film about a resentful pyromaniac caused the explosion at a local refinery in Canada and somehow set the entire town on fire. Shockingly, there were many well known actors in the film like Leslie Nielsen and Henry Fonda for instance. The acting was so bad that I cringed constantly, the dialogues were ridiculous. To be honest, it might have been better if this was a comedy.

Sylvester Kuo
Sylvester Kuo

Super Reviewer

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