In this study symmetry group properties and general similarity forms of the two-layer shallow-water equations are discussed by Lie group theory. We represent that Lie group theory can be used as ail effective approach for investigation of the self-similar solutions for the shallow-water equations with variable inflow as the generalization of dimensional analysis that was used so far for a regular approach in the literature. We also represent that the results obtained by dimensional analysis are just a special case of the results obtained by Lie group theory and it is possible to obtain the new similarity forms and the new variable inflow functions for the study of gravity currents in two-layer flow under shallow-water approximations based on Lie group theory. The symmetry groups of the system of nonlinear partial differential equations are found and the corresponding similarity and reduced forms are obtained. Some similarity solutions of the reduced equations are investigated. It is shown that reduced equations and similarity forms of the system depend on the group parameters. We show that an analytic similarity solution for the system of equations can be found for some special values of them. For other values of the group parameters, the similarity solutions of the two-layer shallow-water equations representing the gravity currents with a variable inflow are found by the numeric integration. (C) 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.