Down 7,250 this week

Guyana Tragedy: The Story of Jim Jones (1980)

TV Movie  |   |  Biography, Drama  |  5 January 1982 (Sweden)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.6/10 from 937 users  
Reviews: 17 user | 11 critic

The story of the Peoples Temple cult led by Rev. Jim Jones and the events involving its move to Guyana and its eventual mass suicide.



(teleplay), (book)
0Check in

On Disc

at Amazon

TV Spotlight: The Top 10 Episodes of "The Walking Dead"

We've curated a list of the top 10 episodes of "The Walking Dead" according to the IMDb user ratings.

Read More

Related News

R.I.P. Director William A. Graham
| Deadline TV

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 30 titles
created 16 Sep 2011
a list of 586 titles
created 06 Jan 2012
a list of 172 titles
created 28 Jan 2013
a list of 39 titles
created 02 Mar 2014

Connect with IMDb

Share this Rating

Title: Guyana Tragedy: The Story of Jim Jones (TV Movie 1980)

Guyana Tragedy: The Story of Jim Jones (TV Movie 1980) on IMDb 7.6/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Guyana Tragedy: The Story of Jim Jones.

User Polls

Won 1 Primetime Emmy. Another 4 nominations. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Documentary | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Featuring never-before-seen footage, this documentary delivers a startling new look at the Peoples Temple, headed by preacher Jim Jones who, in 1978, led more than 900 members to Guyana, where he orchestrated a mass suicide via tainted punch.

Director: Stanley Nelson
Stars: Rebecca Moore, Janet Shular, Tim Carter
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.2/10 X  

Reverend Jim Jones, the priest of an independent church in the South American country Guyana, orders his followers to commit suicide. But not all of them follow him blindly and begin to think on their own.

Director: René Cardona Jr.
Stars: Stuart Whitman, Gene Barry, John Ireland
Jonestown (2013)
Short | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A thriller that dramatizes the last 24 hours in the lives of Jim Jones and The Peoples Temple Church through the eyes of a reporter.

Director: David B. Berget
Stars: Kym Jackson, Leandro Cano, William Russ
Helter Skelter (TV Movie 1976)
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

The investigation and trial of the horrific Tate-LaBianca mass murders orchestrated by the psychotic pseudo-hippie cult leader, Charles Manson.

Director: Tom Gries
Stars: George DiCenzo, Steve Railsback, Nancy Wolfe
Jonestown: Paradise Lost (TV Movie 2007)
Documentary | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Cult leader Jim Jones leads his followers to a mass-suicide.

Director: Tim Wolochatiuk
Stars: Ted Biggs, Stephan Jones, Vernon Gosney
This Is Jim Jones (Video 2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  
Director: Damon Dash
Stars: Jim Jones, Damon Dash, Juelz Santana
Documentary | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

This controversial documentary about the stand-off between an unorthodox Christian group - the Branch Davidians, under the leadership of the young, charismatic David Koresh - and the FBI ... See full summary »

Director: William Gazecki
Stars: Dan Gifford, Clive Doyle, Jack Harwell
The Deliberate Stranger (TV Movie 1986)
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Based on a true story, this film depicts the life of Theodore Robert Bundy, the serial killer. In 1974, after having murdered several young women, he leaves Seattle for Utah, where he is a ... See full summary »

Director: Marvin J. Chomsky
Stars: Mark Harmon, Frederic Forrest, George Grizzard
Ragtime (1981)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A young black pianist becomes embroiled in the lives of an upper-class white family set among the racial tensions, infidelity, violence, and other nostalgic events in early 1900s New York City.

Director: Milos Forman
Stars: James Cagney, Elizabeth McGovern, Howard E. Rollins Jr.
Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

This film, centering on a child's abduction, casts Kate Nelligan as the distraught mother who lashes out at the police (in the person of a relentless detective played by Judd Hirsch), who ... See full summary »

Director: Stanley R. Jaffe
Stars: Kate Nelligan, Judd Hirsch, David Dukes
Jonestown (2016)

"JONESTOWN" is a dramatization of the story of Jim Jones and the Peoples Temple which ended tragically in the infamous mass suicide of over 900 American citizens in 1978. The story follows ... See full summary »

Director: Robin S. Boyd
Witness to Jonestown (TV Movie 2008)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
Stars: Terri Buford, Tim Carter, Bob Flick


Cast overview, first billed only:
Alice Jefferson
Marceline 'Marcy' Jones
Rosalind Cash ...
Jenny Hammond
Jean Richie
Linda Haynes ...
Karen Bundy
Lynette Jones
Col. Robles
Clayton Ritchie
Sheila Langtree


Based upon the true story of Jim Jones, a self-proclaimed prophet. In the 1960s, he began as an idealist helping minorities and working against racism. Later, after increased power and attention, Jim Jones became focused on his belief in nuclear holocaust. He had a loyal following of about 1000 people, who had donated their entire life savings to him to join his commune. When possible illegal activities came to the attention of the authorities, they started to investigate. Rather that faces the charges, Jim Jones committed suicide, and convinced virtually all of his followers to do the same. Written by Brian W Martz <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Biography | Drama


See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

5 January 1982 (Sweden)  »

Also Known As:

The Mad Messiah  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The dialogue used in the mass suicide/murder scene near the end of the film was taken almost word-for-word from an audiocassette found in a portable tape recorder under Jim Jones' chair. The tape recorder had weak batteries and was running at a much slower than normal speed, allowing the entire event to be recorded. See more »


Blank firing adapters can be clearly seen on the muzzles of all the AK assault rifles used by the guards. See more »


Referenced in House on Haunted Hill (1999) See more »


Performed by the People's Temple Choir
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Compelling and tasteful
21 April 2003 | by (Montreal, Canada) – See all my reviews

I read a few reviews of this TV movie which all said that the film dragged on for too long and that it was basically only sensationalistic entertainment. I agree that perhaps, the film goes on a bit too long (2h30 would have been enough...) but I certainly do not think it sensationalize the subject matter. Jim Jones' expansive power trip and slow degradation into mental illness, paranoia and drug abuse are never treated in a voyeuristic manner. The movie takes its time in showing how Jones recruited followers (Brenda Vaccaro's and Brad Dourif's character are stand-outs in that matter) but also in observing an uncanny shift in Jones' perception of reality. It is mind-boggling to see an egalitarian, left-wing and compassionnate preacher become such a destructive and cruel dictator. Perhaps the movie doesn't explore Jones' motivations enough, which can make the whole ordeal a bit superficial at times (may have to do with censorship as well...) But Powers Boothe's mesmerizing performance makes it all come true. I am not familiar with the details of the real Jim Jones' life, but Boothe sure makes the monster he plays believable and real. The movie features many strong scenes, among them the preaching messes of Jones, Jones's meeting with Father Divine (a remarquable James Earl Jones), Congressman Leo Ryan (Ned Beatty)'s visit to the Guyana camp and of course, the suicide scene. It is quite a gloomy spectable to watch and Boothe is quite commanding in those last moments. Madge Sinclair shines in this scene as one of the suddenly sceptic follower, and so do Veronica Cartwright (as Jones' wife) and Brad Dourif, especially when their time comes to drink the murderous potion. The relative calm of the end of this scene, the tasteful direction and the contrasting beauty of the natural surroundings all work in making those images quite impossible to erase from one's mind. A disturbing reflection on human nature and its weaknesses. Worth watching, if only to keep in mind one of the truly horrific events of the 20th century. Not to let it be repeated again. Like, ironically, the inscription in Jim Jones' camp: "Those who do not know the past are bound to repeat it".

11 of 12 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Punishment Scenes coleslaw70
Is There a Decent Documentary?? darlingniki99
remember serroga66
Members who were killed for leaving the People's Temple jvietor1-1
Ned Beatty tafkam08
Out of curiosity... jjholmes7476

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: