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Animation, testimony, and archival footage combine to relate the events of August 1, 1966 when a gunman opened fire from the University of Texas clock tower, killing 16 people.


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Credited cast:
Claire Wilson
Louie Arnette ...
Ramiro Martinez
Houston McCoy
Monty Muir ...
Neal Spelce
Allen Crum
Alfred(Alfie) McAlister
Rita Starpattern
Aldo Ordoñez ...
Aleck Hernandez Jr.
Vicky Illk ...
Brenda Bell
John Fitch ...
Billy Speed
Margaret C. Berry
Jeremy Brown ...
Jerry Day
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Séamus Bolivar-Ochoa ...
John Fox
Cole Bresnehen ...
James Love
Timothy Lucas ...
Kent Kirkley


Nearly fifty years ago, a gunman rode the elevator to the twenty-seventh floor of the University of Texas Tower and opened fire. TOWER, an animated and action-packed documentary, shares the untold story of that day - when the worst in one man brought out the best in so many others.

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Release Date:

13 March 2016 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Wieża  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$8,542 (USA) (14 October 2016)


$94,329 (USA) (2 December 2016)

Company Credits

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Did You Know?


The film is based on the massacre that occurred on the grounds of the University of Texas in August of 1966. Rightly, it's about the victims and the survivors, with the killer barely even named. See more »

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User Reviews

High crime
13 February 2017 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

This unusual film demonstrated an innovative way to fill in the gaps of a major news event where there are still survivors alive to share their memories but where there's a lack of available archive footage to fully tell the story. The event here was as I understand it, the first, but as we now know, far from last occasion when a warped individual exercised their constitutional right to bear arms by massacring innocent civilians in cold blood. On this occasion, ex-Marine Charles Whitman killed his mother and pregnant wife before taking to the tower at Texas University to rain down murder and mayhem onto whoever came into his eye-line.

I can recall the excellent debut feature of Peter Bogdanovich "Targets" made in 1968 which made this then very recent story its backdrop, albeit with different names for the principal characters. The ambition of this feature however was to take us through the actual 96 minutes of the onslaught almost in real time by recreating the memories of the survivors, some since deceased, in vivid animation sequences. I doubt it's coincidence that the film's running time is the selfsame 96 minutes. Actors resembling the real life characters play the latter's younger selves in both telling the story as it occurred in pieces-to-camera as well as in physical recreations of the events of the day as it unfolded. There is no third party commentary at all and at the end we get to see the witnesses in the present day, to give the film, as well as themselves perhaps, a sense of closure.

The animation takes a little getting used initially to but is skilfully done in a near-lifelike manner which gradually draws the viewer into the action. Again I applaud the modern trend of giving next to nothing by way of background or motive and therefore importance far less justification to the perpetrator of these awful killings. Instead the focus is, as it should be, on the remarkable courage of everyday individuals, from the young cop who goes to the crime scene even when off-duty, the shopkeeper who ends up on the tower with the policeman, rifle-in-hand, to the young students who run in full view of the shooter, one young girl to comfort a wounded pregnant young woman, lying prone next to her fatally shot boyfriend and a couple of boys who actually lift her out of harm's way.

One wonders if the filmmakers here will go on to use a similar technique on other in-living-memory calamitous events but one suspects it will more likely prove a one-off exercise. I do believe though that the director's primary motivation was to re-tell a remarkable, if tragic, story rather than demonstrate flashy technique. If occasionally there are mistakes in the pacing as sequences are unnecessarily run and re-run for no apparent reason and also no real political point is made about gun-control itself, still the narrative is compelling as only a true-life disaster can be.

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