6.7/10
852
19 user 8 critic

The Deadly Tower (1975)

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

Director:

Jerry Jameson

Writers:

William Douglas Lansford (teleplay), Antonio Calderón (story) (as Antonio Calderon) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview:
Kurt Russell ... Charles Whitman
Richard Yniguez ... Ramiro Martinez (as Richard Yñiguez)
Ned Beatty ... Allan Crum
Pernell Roberts ... Lieutenant Lee
Clifton James ... Captain Fred Ambrose
John Forsythe ... Lt. Elwood Forbes
Gilbert Roland ... Narrator (voice)
Paul Carr ... C.T. Foss
Alan Vint ... Tim Davis
Maria Elena Cordero Maria Elena Cordero ... Vinni Martinez (as Maria-Elena Cordero)
Pepe Serna ... 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:

Action | Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

18 October 1975 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Deadly Tower See more »

Filming Locations:

Austin Texas, USA See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

MGM Television See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Houston McCoy and Ray Martinez, the police officers who shot Whitman, both sued MGM. Martinez sued because he felt he and his family were portrayed in a manner that perpetuated Hispanic stereotypes. His wife wasn't pregnant, and her ethnic background was German-American, not Hispanic-American. A disclaimer at the beginning of the movie reads: "Both the character and personality of Ramiro Martinez' wife and certain scenes about the Martinez family have been fictionalized for dramatic effect." See more »

Goofs

Whitman killed the receptionist in the tower that day and did not let her go. as well as two women sisters and one of the sons they and another son were the only ones in the tour group the other people the movie shows were not there, the other son survived. 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

Referenced in The Simpsons: Treehouse of Horror XXI (2010) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A terrible day in Austin
10 July 2012 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

Several years ago in 1971 when I was doing the weekend warrior thing in Fort Sam Houston I visited Austin one weekend and did go on the university campus. My reason for going was to see the newly opened Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library. It's almost as big as the infamous tower. Still I did note the tower little dreaming that it would be the site of a terrible tragedy. Like passing by the former World Trade Center towers before they became infamous.

The Deadly Tower is the story of the massacre at the campus of the University Of Texas by former serviceman Charles Whitman suffering from an undiagnosed brain tumor who managed to sneak up some assault weapons, enough ammunition for a company who barricaded himself in the tower and started shooting at random.

The story is that of Whitman and one of the Austin police officers who took him down on that fateful day. Kurt Russell who broke from the Disney G rated mold finally got taken seriously as an actor with a wonderful performance with minimal dialog.

Richard Yniguez who should have had a breakthrough performance is also good as Austin PD officer Ramiro Martinez. I don't know why Yniguez never became a star.

Folks like John Forsythe, Clifton James, and Pernell Roberts play other police officials. Ned Beatty plays Alvin Crum, a university employee who with Yniguez and Paul Carr are the ones who finally reached the demented and troubled Whitman.

For a while as well he should, Charles Whitman became a poster child for gun control. Even with a president nearly assassinated not a decade later we still have no effective national policy to prevent future Charles Whitmans. The other view of gun control is also presented here as various citizens with hunting weapons join in to help the cops. There weapons are more effective and keep Russell pinned down.

The Deadly Tower is a fine film and good telling of one of the saddest days of the last century.


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