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The Deadly Tower (1975)

TV Movie  -   -  Thriller | Action | Drama  -  18 October 1975 (USA)
6.7
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Ratings: 6.7/10 from 584 users  
Reviews: 13 user | 5 critic

The infamous story of Charles Whitman, "America's favourite sniper" (in Stephen King's words), is told here once again.

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(teleplay), (story), 1 more credit »
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Title: The Deadly Tower (TV Movie 1975)

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Cast

Cast overview:
...
Charles Whitman
...
Ramiro Martinez (as Richard Yñiguez)
...
Allan Crum
...
Lieutenant Lee
...
Captain Fred Ambrose
...
Lt. Elwood Forbes
...
Narrator (voice)
...
C.T. Foss
Alan Vint ...
Tim Davis
Maria Elena Cordero ...
Vinni Martinez (as Maria-Elena Cordero)
...
Mano
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Storyline

Charles Whitman is student at the University of Texas in Austin. He often suffers from headaches, during which he tends to violence. One night, he kills wife and mother, buys a number of rifles and loads of ammunition and takes them to the top of the tower of the university, where he barricades himself. With his long-range weapons his starts to shoot at everything that moves. Already until the police arrives, there are numerous people wounded or dead. Written by Tom Zoerner <Tom.Zoerner@informatik.uni-erlangen.de>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Thriller | Action | Drama

Certificate:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

18 October 1975 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Sniper  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to the book "Suicide by cop", Houston felt that Whitman could have shot him and Martinez, but he didn't because he was waiting for them to shoot him. See more »

Goofs

Police Officers Houston McCoy and Ray Martinez both shot Whitman during the final confrontation. The autopsy credited McCoy with firing the fatal shot. But he was not included in the movie. See more »

Quotes

[a receptionist on the top floor sees Charles Whitman exiting the nearby elevator and hauling a large trunk]
Receptionist: Sir? Can I help you. I'm sorry, you can't take that up their without permission!
Charles Joseph Whitman: [points to the door to the nearby security office] Who's in there?
Receptionist: Nobody now, they're at lunch but you still can't take that on the observation deck.
Charles Joseph Whitman: [grabs the receptionist and forces her to the elevator] Listen, you go on down and don't you come back here... not if your life means anything to you!
See more »

Connections

Spoofed in Scenic Highway (2006) See more »

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User Reviews

 
The Texas Sniper Tower Massacre
19 December 2010 | by (the Draconian Swamp of Unholy Souls) – See all my reviews

Charles Whitman was a dangerously disturbed but nevertheless deeply fascinating individual. Arguably even the most fascinating murderer in recent American history. Whitman can't really be referred to as an authentic serial killer, but due to his mariners' background and reputedly high IQ, he can't just be dismissed as an ordinary madman on a rampage, neither. The full reason why Whitman went up the Austin University tower on the 1st of August 1966 and caused a terrible bloodbath will probably never be revealed. Were it the insupportable headaches that Whitman repeatedly complained about and the brain tumor found in his head during the autopsy, or did he snap because of other personal reasons? "The Deadly Tower" is a sober but very compelling and intense re-telling of the events that occurred on that horrible day, when Whitman killed 16 people and wounded over 40 more with his shot and sniper guns. This is the second film I've seen regarding the subject, after Peter Bogdanovich's "Targets". Whereas that film was merely a statement regarding the alienation of youth and the largely uncontrolled weapon legislation, "The Deadly Tower" is a very truthful reconstruction of the facts. In an aptly stone cold manner, Kurt Russell (until then only known from silly Disney comedies like "The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes" and "The Barefoot Executive") depicts Whitman from the day before the massacre until the moment when Texas police officers shot him dead. Prior to going up the tower, Whitman murdered his mother and wife, went out to buy an arsenal of artillery and – knowing very well he wouldn't return – wrote a suicide note. The film is slow-paced but moody, atmospheric and very suspenseful. Given the fact it's a made-for-TV, and out of respect for the victims and their families, "The Deadly Tower" isn't a very bloody or exploitative thriller. The emphasis lies on inhumanity of the crime and solidarity/collaboration of the people downstairs – police officers as well as civilians – to stop the killer. Jerry Jameson, the director of "Airport 77", does a professional job and the supportive cast including Clifton James and Ned Beatty deliver admirable performances.


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