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20 user 9 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

Filmed at the state capitol building in Baton Rouge, LA, due to the feeling by Austin, TX, officials that filming in the actual location would not be in the best interests of citizens affected by the shooting. See more »

Goofs

The movie shows Charles Whitman lacing up shiny polished combat boots, in reality he was shot wearing white sneakers and black socks. See more »

Quotes

Lieutenant Elwood Forbes: Sorry to bother you, but I understand you told one of my men earlier about a guy in here buying guns and ammo. Could you tell me what he looked like?
Gun Shop Owner: Like I told the officer on the phone, I don't pay attention to how my customers look.
Lieutenant Elwood Forbes: Can't you try to remember?
Gun Shop Owner: Well, he was a big man. Short hair, nice looking.
Lieutenant Elwood Forbes: Did you know him? Have you ever seen him in here before?
Gun Shop Owner: Like I told the officer who called, I don't pay attention to how my customers look.
Lieutenant Elwood Forbes: Don't you think it's strange? A man walks in ...
[...]
See more »

Connections

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

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User Reviews

Mixed messages
28 March 2006 | by inspectors71See all my reviews

NBC greenlighted The Deadly Tower, a retelling of the Charles Whitman incident of 1966, but the network was apparently unwilling to let it go as a kid-goes-nuts-and-shoots-up-a-college-campus thriller. Instead, they packed and padded this painful and unnerving story with lots of social commentary about a young Latino patrolman, one of the principals who got to Whitman, battling prejudice.

NBC's prudence (or cowardice, depending on your take) just about squelches the lean, dark, and amazingly gory (for TV) story of Whitman (a ne'er do well played creepily by Kurt Russell) losing his mind, offing his family, and carrying his fight with whatever lurking head-demons to a university tower where he unloads on an unsuspecting campus.

I've seen a documentary about Whitman which told the story of a profoundly damaged young man who breaks under familial pressures and seeks vengeance against the world. You don't get that from the movie; there isn't much more than a blurb about a suspected brain tumor to explain his actions.

Yet, on a suspense level, the movie works quite well. It's when the screenwriters pull their punches by injecting social issues that the movie loses its focus (but probably gains that old expectation of containing significant social value).

The Deadly Tower is ugly and sweaty and filled with mayhem, and if you can get by the issue stuff, you'll either be rewarded by or repulsed by a brutal and suspenseful voyeuristic wallow.


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