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131 Ratings


Directed by Keith Maitland
United States, 2016
Documentary, Animation, Crime


On August 1st, 1966, a sniper rode the elevator to the top floor of the University of Texas Tower and opened fire, holding the campus hostage for 96 minutes. When the gunshots were finally silenced, the toll included 16 dead, three dozen wounded, and a shaken nation left trying to understand.

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Tower Directed by Keith Maitland

Awards & Festivals

Village Voice Film Poll

2016 | Nominee: Best Animated Feature

Indiewire Critics' Poll

2016 | Nominee: Best Documentary

What are people saying?

  • Daniel Roque's rating of the film Tower

    Rotoscoping animation doesn't always work right, but in 'Tower' it blends perfectly with the archive footage and the testimonials. Also, there aren't many documentaries with this amount of anxiety, thrill and commotion. Definitely a must-watch!

  • saitosouta's rating of the film Tower

    Through that blue sky alien comes. On the tower it shoots people to death and there is brutal landscape like western movie....“Tower” is a movie between real & unreal/reality & dream with slippery images of rotoscopy which has delicate touch like reality but surely different, telling us the truth of terror, bravery, vivid color of life and happiness now disappeared. Tough to watch yet amazing cinematic experience.

  • msmichel's rating of the film Tower

    Maitland's documentary on the infamous '66 Texas clock tower shooting mixes archival footage, interview and rotoscopic animation capturing both the terror of the moment and the beginning of a phenomenon that rears its ugly head far too often. By keeping the focus on the ground with the victims and participants it does justice to those involved In giving no quarter to the assailant. One of the year's strongest docs.

  • Jason's rating of the film Tower

    A historical event that traversed an emerging hyper-mediatized landscape. Dawn of the television age. We have some images. Captured and kept. But there is something at the heart of these early media events beneath the truncated archeology; the core of these experiences themselves. The experiences have a quality of the irreal. Precisely why the rotoscopy is the right choice. Too real to be assimilated as "reality."

  • Graveyard Poet's rating of the film Tower

    August 1, 1966 (around lunch break, high noon, for 96 minutes) at Austin's University of Texas campus, 25 year old Charles Whitman, armed with a sniper rifle, killed 18 and injured 33 in one of the first major mass shootings in U.S. history. In 2016, on the 50th anniversary, this film Tower was released. Definitely worth watching. Heartbreaking and Powerful.

  • MATTEO BITTANTI's rating of the film Tower

    America: the land of serial killers and vigilantes, psychopaths and heroes. The cartoon aesthetics perfectly capture the madness of it all. Alas, Maitland does not provide any contextual info. As a frame-by-frame reconstruction, Tower lacks interpretation. Weak heuristics. The "It was an act of a lonely madman" explanation is an excuse. Wasn't the entire history of America written by a legion of lonely mad men?

  • HenriqueA's rating of the film Tower

    It is not perfect and it does not present you the whole story or any kind of analysis, but in choosing to tell a restrained but detailed account straight from the mouth of some of the very people who lived it and then using rotoscoping to some gripping effect, Tower acomplished something that very few documentaries about old crimes can. It is at the same time horrendous and intoxicating.

  • thelastronaut's rating of the film Tower

    Mixing newsreel, rotoscope animation, and eyewitness interviews made the story come alive in a way that, if done more traditionally, would have left the story feeling flat and historical. The style illuminated just how new the idea of a mass shooting was and how the inability to imagine it led to the stunned responses.

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