25 user 62 critic

Tower (2016)

1:55 | Trailer

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

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.


17 wins & 24 nominations. See more awards »



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Tickled (2016)
Documentary | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Journalist David Farrier stumbles upon a mysterious tickling competition online. As he delves deeper he comes up against fierce resistance, but that doesn't stop him getting to the bottom of a story stranger than fiction.

Directors: David Farrier, Dylan Reeve
Stars: David Farrier, Dylan Reeve, Marko Realmonte
Newtown (2016)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A look at how the community of Newtown, Connecticut came together in the aftermath of the largest mass shooting of schoolchildren in American history.

Director: Kim A. Snyder
Stars: Syeda Suriya Ahmed, Daniel Barden, Jackie Barden
Oklahoma City (2017)
Documentary | Crime | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

The bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City in April 1995 is the worst act of domestic terrorism in American history; this documentary explores how a series of ... See full summary »

Director: Barak Goodman
Stars: Janet Beck, Alan Berg, Jim Botting
Weiner (2016)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

An examination of disgraced New York Congressman Anthony Weiner's mayoral campaign and today's political landscape.

Directors: Josh Kriegman, Elyse Steinberg
Stars: Anthony Weiner, Huma Abedin, Jordan Zain Weiner
13th (2016)
Documentary | Crime | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

An in-depth look at the prison system in the United States and how it reveals the nation's history of racial inequality.

Director: Ava DuVernay
Stars: Melina Abdullah, Michelle Alexander, Cory Booker
The Witness I (2015)
Documentary | Biography | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

The brother of Kitty Genovese investigates the circumstances of her murder and the truth of the story that dozens of locals witnessed the crime and did nothing to intervene.

Director: James D. Solomon
Stars: William Genovese, Shannon Beeby, Kitty Genovese
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

The unsolved death of six-year-old American beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey remains the world's most sensational child murder case. Over 15 months, responses, reflections and performances were... See full summary »

Director: Kitty Green
Stars: Hannah Cagwin, Aeona Cruz, Liv Bagley
Documentary | Biography | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Meet the dirtiest cop in NYC history. Michael Dowd stole money and dealt drugs while patrolling the streets of 80s Brooklyn.

Director: Tiller Russell
Stars: Mike Dowd, Ken Eurell, Walter Yurkiw
Documentary | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

In this documentary, the murder of Deedee Blanchard by her daughter Gypsey Rose is explored, as well as the circumstances leading up to the event.

Director: Erin Lee Carr
Stars: Jim Arnott, David Blanchard, Dee Dee Blanchard
Documentary | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  

A filmmaker decides to memorialize a murdered friend when his friend's ex-girlfriend announces she is expecting his son.

Director: Kurt Kuenne
Stars: Kurt Kuenne, Andrew Bagby, David Bagby


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.
Brenda Bell
John Fitch ...
Billy Speed
Margaret C. Berry
Jeremy Brown ...
Jerry Day
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Séamus Bolivar-Ochoa ...
Cole Bresnehen ...
James Love
Himself (archive footage)


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.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


TV-14 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

3 February 2017 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Wieża  »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$8,542, 14 October 2016, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$94,329, 2 December 2016
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on  »

Technical Specs


See  »

Did You Know?


In a Q&A, director Keith Maitland revealed that he filmed locations at the University of Texas with an iPhone in order to obtain the footage animators used for the rotoscoped backgrounds, while most of the actors featured in the re-enactments were filmed in his backyard in front of a greenscreen. See more »


John Fox: I remember looking at the Tower, of course, a lot. And from the Main Mall you can see there's a biblical line from the Bible. "Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free." I've thought about it. One of the truths I learned... Is that there are monsters that walk among us. There are people out there that think unthinkable thoughts and then do unthinkable things.
See more »


References Fistful of Dollars (1964) See more »


Texas We Love You
Performed by Grouchy and the Texas Pioneers
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

A critic took the words out of my mouth: essential viewing.
16 January 2017 | by See all my reviews

TOWER is an important movie for all the right reasons. It is an artistic feast; a cinematic marvel that recreates a tragedy with a simple beauty without falling into the tropes of documentary filmmaking. This is not a documentary, rather it's more of a non-fiction retelling that casts actors to read lines in place of the real people. It recounts a school shooting that happened long before memories of Columbine - on a sprawling Texas campus where a sniper took a town hostage and murdered a total of 17 victims (including an unborn child) and shooting a total of 49 people. In a time when mass shootings have become a standard scroll on the nightly news, this was a new kind of crime. It only seems fitting that the movie uses a new form of craft to tell it.

It was the summer of 1966 on the sweltering campus of the University of Texas at Austin. Summer courses were just beginning, and the college town surrounding the buildings were bustling with excited youth and students. It was just after noon. From nowhere, people recall hearing "pops" and suddenly the air was filled with targeted bullets, first striking down a pregnant woman and her boyfriend in the stone plaza outside the central clock tower. Soon after, a boy on his bike was shot several blocks away. Chaos ensued.

On a day when the top news was going to be little more than the heat, here was suddenly a national emergency that gripped the country. A local news director hopped in his car and broadcast the scene from a portable radio. His voice was heard all over America. From the clock tower, the rumors that a sniper was preying on those below with no regard and no sense. Why don't more people talk about this tragedy today?

The film is designed to be a documentary (although I would argue it doesn't fall into that specific genre for a variety of reasons) with talking heads of students and police officers explaining what happened. We know they are actors, and their accounts strike us as surprisingly modern in expression and tone. The rotoscoped faces keep the past at a safe distance, and it's almost easy for the audience to distance themselves from the horror that actually happened here. Through black and white recreations and grainy archival footage, the film crafts a landscape of southern comfort and familiarity with those living nearby.

There is a moment like a bombshell midway through the film, when we suddenly cut from the illustrated actor to an actual aged woman, continuing her story without a moment's hesitation. This woman (now in her 60's or so) is one of the survivors: the woman who lost her unborn child at the hand of the gunman. It's a revelation - splicing the animation with the real, creating a moment that is all the more impactful by bridging that historical and visual gap. Now we understand that these actors are not reading from a script... They are telling the actual words by those who survived it.

There are beautiful moments that are beyond words - like when a red-headed woman rushed to the aid of this pregnant woman even though she remained completely vulnerable to the shooter. They begin a conversation to keep their minds off the terror and carnage. Another moment when a couple of students act heroically in order to save victims from the slow death that awaited them. They run out in the face of danger and carry victims to safety. This was a time that separated the heroes amongst us, and there were unbelievably brave people that were caught in the midst of it all.

By the end, "Tower" became a movie that commented on the string of recent shootings, the prevalence of violence in our culture, our unwillingness to stop it... There have been several movies made about the ideas of school violence and mass shootings. I recently re-watched "Elephant" which is a great Gus Van Sant film that recreates a Columbine-like shooting and yet does nothing to answer the simple question of "why?" "Tower" is great not because deals with the same question, rather it adds to it: why can't we stop this from happening?

5 of 8 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 25 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page