11 Best Fire Movies To Add To Your Watchlist

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Whether you are a firefighter yourself or you just love to watch fire-based movies, you have come to the right place.

In this article, I am going to tell you all about some of the best fire movies that have ever been made, so you can add them to your watch list.

There are so many different movies that are based around fires, and they come in all different genres.

If you are struggling to find the ones that are most worth the watch, then you are probably looking for some new ideas, which is why I will leave my list of best fire movies below for you to choose from.

Best Fire Movies

There are so many different fire movies that it can be difficult to know where to start and which ones are the best ones to watch. You can take a look at my list of the very best fire movies below to save some time.

1. Ladder 49

Ladder 49 is an amazing fire movie with a cast of stars including both Joaquin Phoenix and John Travolta. This is an American disaster thriller film that was directed by Jay Russel and written by Lewis Colick.

The story follows a probationary firefighter called Jack Morrison, under the careful watch of his mentor, Captain Mike Kennedy. Starting at Baltimore fire station, the viewer can watch as he develops throughout the film.

Jack saves a man’s life in a huge four-alarm fire in a 20-story concrete grain warehouse in the neighborhood of Baltimore.

However, what they don’t know is that the warehouse is about to explode, causing Jack to fall through multiple floors and break his leg.

The movie follows the efforts of all of the other men in his unit at Ladder Company 49 to try and save him. In the meantime, Jack is forced to try and find a safe haven in the burning building.

As well as all of this action, there are several flashback scenes that take place throughout the attempted rescue that show exactly how Jack joined up with the fire department.

You even get to see Jack’s very first meeting with the woman that will eventually become his wife, a further insight into his relationship with his children, and the bonds that were created with other firefighters throughout the battle that led to his career.

2. Backdraft

Backdraft is a movie that is loosely based around the Hoff brothers and their story, and it is an American action thriller film that was directed by Ron Howard and written by Gregory Widen.

This movie is packed full of stars like Kurt Russel, William Baldwin, Donald Sutherland, Robert De Niro, and more.

The story follows Chicago firefighters as they trail a serial arsonist.

Two firefighters of Engine 17 with the Chicago Fire Department are actually brothers. Stephen is the older and more experienced firefighter, while Brian does not have as much experience, and has always lived in his brother’s shadow.

Brian decides to rejoin the fire service after failing at various other career paths, but Stephen expresses his doubts that Brian is still fit to be a firefighter. 

As the movie progresses, inspector Donald Rimgale, a dedicated arson investigator and veteran firefighter, is brought in to investigate a series of recent explosive fires.

However, all of these fires resemble those that were set by pyromaniac Ronald Bartel in the past. Bartel has been imprisoned for years, and Brian is reassigned as Rimgale’s assistant after a falling out with his brother.

The story is full of twists, turns, and surprises that keep you on your toes throughout.

3. Hellfighters

If you are looking for an older movie, then this is the one for you. Hellfighters is an American adventure film that was directed by Andrew V. McLaglen and released in 1968.

This movie stars John Wayne, Katharine Ross, and Jim Hutton, and it follows the story of a group of oil well fighters. It is loosely based on the life of Red Adair.

The story begins with Chance Buckman, who is the head of a Houston-based oil well firefighting outfit. His team includes Joe Horn, Greg Parker, and George Harris, and he travels around the world to put out fires.

He enjoys the thrill of his work and loves the job, but still longs for his ex-wife Madelyn, who divorced him and took his daughter with her 20 years earlier. All of this because she couldn’t bear to watch her husband risk his life every day.

In an attempt to reunite with his ex-wife, Chance leaves the Buckman Company and accepts a position with an old friend on the board of directors of Lomax Oil.

However, after some time, Greg encounters an issue with a fire in Venezuela, where five oil wells in a line are all burning at once.

He calls on Chance for his help, who returns without question to help fight the fire, and ultimately, is reunited with the thing he loves most.

4. Only the Brave

Only the Brave is a movie that came out in 2017, and it is an American biographical drama film that was directed by Joseph Kosinski and written by Ken Nolan and Eric Warren Singer.

This movie is based on the GQ article called No Exit, written by Seas Flynn. The movie tells the story of the Granite Mountain Hotshots, which are an elite crew of firefighters from Prescott, Arizona. 

This group of firefighters lost 19 out of 20 of its members while fighting the Yarnell Hill Fire in June of 2013, so this movie is dedicated to their memory.

It features a brilliant cast  including  Josh Brolin, James Badge Dale, Jeff Bridges, Miles Teller, Alex Russell, Taylor Kitsch, Ben Hardy, Thad Luckinbill, Geoff Stults, Scott Haze, Andie MacDowell, and Jennifer Connelly.

Set in 2007, in Prescott, Arizona, Eric Marsh becomes frustrated with fighting forest fires when the front line forest fire fighting crews are able to overrule his operational suggestions.

Unfortunately, it all goes south from here and there is nothing he could do about it.

To stop this from happening again, Marsh is able to gain approval from the Mayor to attempt to organize an unprecedented certified municipal-based Hotshot crew for Prescott.

In order to do this successfully, Marsh needs new recruits, including Brendan McDonough, to go through the rigorous training and qualifications that are required of firefighting.

Somewhere along the way, the new teams pull through, and so the Granite Mountain Hotshots are created.

All of the men have changed throughout the experience and gained the essential level of maturity that is needed in order to become a firefighter and work as a team.

However, all of these new qualities are put to the test in 2013, with the famous Yarnell Hill Fire that demands both efforts and sacrifices that just cannot be ignored.

5. The Towering Inferno

The Towering Inferno is a 1974 American disaster movie that was produced by Irwin Allen.

It features an epic cast led by Paul Newman and Steve McQueen making it one of the best fire movies on the big screen.

It was directed by John Guillermin and is a cooperation between 20th Century Fox and Warner Bros, making it the first joint film between two major Hollywood studios. 

Architect Doug Roberts returns from a long vacation to find that his work on his skyscraper is almost complete.

However, upon attending a party that evening, he is concerned that he has found that the wiring specifications for the building have not been followed.

This means that the building continues to develop short circuits, and after no time at all, a fire breaks out. Michael O’Halleran is the chief that is on duty as a series of daring rescues take place. 

6. World Trade Center

The World Trade Center movie came out in 2006, and it is an American docudrama disaster film that was directed by Oliver Stone.

Interestingly, this movie was based on the experience of emergency services staff that responded to the September 11 attacks, in which they were trapped underneath the rubble of the World Trade Center.

This movie stars  Nicolas Cage, Maria Bello, Michael Peña, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Stephen Dorff, and Michael Shannon.

The story is set on September 11, 2002, when  Port Authority Police Officers John McLoughlin and Will Jimeno are patrolling the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Midtown Manhattan when they see a plane fly dangerously low overhead.

It is broadcasted on TV that the North Tower of the World Trade Center had been hit by the plane, and emergency services go in to assist in a precautionary evacuation attempt of the North Tower.

However, while they are on the bus, they hear reports that the South Tower has also been hit by another plane, which is no coincidence.

Only when they arrive at the World Trade Center do they realize the full extent of the disaster before them. Firefighters  McLoughlin, Jimeno, Dominick Pezzulo, and Antonio Rodrigues prepare to enter the North Tower when the building starts to rumble.

They soon realize that the South Tower is collapsing onto them, and that their only chance to survive is to run towards the elevator shaft.

Three men manage to escape the force of dust and rubble that is coming down from the South Tower, but as it continues to come down on them, they become trapped in the buried elevator shaft.

Just when they start to become optimistic about their rescue and ultimate survival, the rumbling starts up again as the North Tower starts to collapse.

Now, only two men are left, and they spend hours under the rubble exchanging stories about their lives and families, hoping that rescue is coming.

7. The Tower

The Tower is a South Korean disaster thriller film that came out in 2012. The film is about a fire that breaks out in a luxury skyscraper in central Seoul on Christmas Eve.

This movie is directed by Kim Jo-hoon and stars Kyung-gu, Kim Sang-Kyung, and Son Ye-jin in the lead roles.

Lee Seon-woo is a newbie fireman that has just been placed with the Yeouido Fire Station, but upon his acceptance, he learns that the firefighters in this station hardly see any action at all.

Shortly after, a skyscraper party is taking place on Christmas Eve, and while a proposal takes place in an elevator, a big gust of wind causes one of the helicopters outside to lose control.

The helicopter crashes into the side of the building, and another one of the helicopters also crashes head-on into the building. 

The second helicopter starts to leak fuel, and the building catches fire. Chaos ensues as those within the building fight for their survival, and firefighters make it to the scene shortly after.

Despite their efforts to try and contain the fire, it just keeps spreading further throughout the building. Left with limited choices, they must try and find a solution quickly to try and save as many lives as they can.

8. Firestorm

Firestorm is a 1998 action thriller film that is directed by Dean Semler and stars Howie Long, Scott Glenn, William Forsythe, and Suzy Amis.

The plot begins with a group of Wyoming State convicts, who manage to stage an escape with the help of an arsonist that they have on the outside.

The arsonist starts a fire in the forest as the prisoners will then be taken to the forest to help out the firemen. It is then that they will be provided with the perfect chance to escape.

Four years prior to this, Randall Shaye had stolen 37 million dollars and stashed it in the Wyoming forest, so he and the other escapees began their mission to find it.

They can pose as Canadian firefighters, but they also take Jennifer, a bird watcher, hostage amidst their search. The story follows firefighter Jesse Graves that has to save Jennifer and other people that may have been caught in the forest fire.

However, what they don’t know is that another forest fire has been started due to a lightning strike that occurred the week earlier. Now, someone has to find a way to stop Shaye and his group of convicts and save Jenifer at the same time.

Meanwhile, the two forest fires are getting closer to each other, and it won’t be long before they collide and burn up all the oxygen.

9. Fire! Trapped on the 37th Floor

Fire! Trapped on the 37th Floor is a movie that follows the story of the 1988 fire that occurred at an LA skyscraper, becoming the largest such incident in the city’s history.

The majority of people are rescued, but as you might have already guessed from the title, two people remain trapped on the 37th floor.

This movie is actually based on real-life events that are well known as the ‘First Interstate Tower Fire’. This high-rise fire took place on May 4, 1988, in Los Angeles at the tallest building in the city.

The fire rampaged through the five elevators in the building and trapped many employees inside. 

The reason that this took place in real life was that the skyscraper was not equipped with a sprinkler system, as this was not a requirement at the time.

After this unfortunate incident, Los Angeles changed its building codes to include mandatory fire sprinklers. Of course, the movie dramatizes the real events, the plot follows the difficult challenge to rescue the last two people.

10. In Old Chicago (1938)

The Chicago Fire of 1871 is one of the most infamous fires in history, and it took the lives of 300 people and caused hundreds of millions of dollars in damages.

It is thought that this fire started after a cow in Mrs. O’Leary’s barn knocked over a lantern.

The movie In Old Chicago depicts a heavily fictionalized account of Mrs. O’Leary’s life and the events that led up to the fire. It also cultivates a spectacular depiction of the infamous fire and the fight that ensued to stop it.

11. 9/11

9/11 is a 2017 American action drama film that is directed by Martin Guigui and written by Guigui and Steven Golebiowski. The film stars Charlie Sheen, Whoopi Goldberg, Gina Gershon, Luis Guzmán, and Jacqueline Bisset. 

At the start of the film, we see a messenger singing happy birthday to his daughter, a billionaire that is meeting with his wife to sign their divorce papers, a maintenance man that is just starting out his day, and a young lady that makes the decision to break up with her sugar daddy.

When the first plane collides with the World Trade Center, these five people all become trapped inside an elevator.

Metzie, a dispatcher that is able to communicate with people that get trapped in the elevators, tells them that they only have one choice.

They need to break open the elevator door and send the maintenance man to the power room to rewire the elevator.

Meanwhile, the fires are spreading and the elevator is slowly filling with smoke. Forced to band together, they fight against all odds to escape before the imminent and inevitable collapse of the tower occurs.

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