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A gripping account of America's first mass shooting is retold in this unique documentary which mixes TV news footage, animation and radio reports to immerse the viewer in the tragic events of August 1st 1966.

Tower is a groundbreaking documentary which tells the story of America's first mass shooting. The tragedy unfolded on a summer's day in 1966 at the University Of Texas.

A lone gunman climbed the University's bell tower, and rained down a hail of bullets on those below for 96 minutes, killing 16 and wounding another 31.

The documentary skillfully weaves eyewitness recollections, animation, and TV News footage. Creating a compelling and terrifying account of the massacre as it unfolded minute-by-minute.

The confusion, terror, and heroism of those involved is vividly captured in this innovative documentary from Director Keith Maitland.

The rotoscoping animation technique used by the director avoids the common problem in documentary filmmaking where no actual footage of key moments exists. Often these key scenes are re-enacted in a corny or clumsy way. However, in Tower these animated scenes take on a dreamlike quality of a memory of the victims and witnesses who narrate the events of the shooting.

The documentary finishes with a monologue delivered by CBS news anchor Walter Cronkite in the wake of the shooting.

He articulates the problems of a society grappling with issues of gun control and violence. 50 years later his words are still relevant “a people who somehow can remain silent while their own civilization seems to crumble under the force of the caveman's philosophy that might makes right. It seems likely that Charles Joseph Whitman's crime was society's crime.”

If documentaries like Tower grab your attention then check out some of the others that are currently streaming. Dark Tourist and Dirty Money are very good.

Update: Unfortunately, Tower is no longer available on Netflix. You can rent it on Amazon but it is not included with the Prime subscription.

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  • Rotoscope Animation
  • Gripping & Tense
  • Dreamlike


  • Slightly Trippy Animation At Times