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Guyana Tragedy: The Story of Jim Jones (1980)

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



(teleplay), (book)
4,524 ( 1,592)

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


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Rep. Leo Ryan
Alice Jefferson
Marceline 'Marcy' Jones
Jenny Hammond
David Langtree
Jean Richie
Larry King
Otis Jefferson
Karen Bundy
Lynette Jones
Col. Robles
Clayton Ritchie
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Mrs. Jefferson


Based upon the true story of Reverend Jim Jones, a self-proclaimed prophet who founded the Peoples Temple. In the 1960s, he began as an idealist helping minorities and working against racism. After a move to San Francisco and increased power and attention, Jim Jones became focused on his belief in nuclear holocaust. He had a loyal following of over 1000 people, who had donated their entire life savings to him and to join his commune, before moving them to Guyana. When possible illegal activities came to the attention of the authorities, and once notified that some individuals are being held against their will, they began to investigate. Rather that face the charges against him, Jim Jones committed suicide, and convinced virtually most of his followers to do the same. Written by Brian W Martz <B.Martz@Genie.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


His sins were unforgivable. His story, unforgettable. See more »


Biography | Drama


TV-14 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

5 January 1982 (Sweden)  »

Also Known As:

Guyana Tragedy: The Jim Jones Story  »

Filming Locations:


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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Madge Sinclair plays LeVar Burton's mother. She played the older Kunta Kinte's wife in Roots (1977), and Burton's character's mother on Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987). See more »


In the film, more than 10 people die during the Port Kaituma airstrip shooting. In real life, five people died. See more »


Rev. Jim Jones: We are not commiting suicide, it's a revolutionary act.
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Crazy Credits

"The film you are about to see is a dramatization of the life of Jim Jones. Born - May 13, 1931 Lynn, Indiana - Died - November 18, 1978, Jonestown, Guyana. This is his story." See more »


Performed by the People's Temple Choir
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User Reviews

Gripping film of true event
17 April 2001 | by See all my reviews

Powers Booth is hypnotic as cult leader jim jones who led his Peoples Temple followers from 1953 until 1978 when he led them in a mass suicide in 1978 where over 900 died. A very well done movie which may seem a little dated due to the 70s time period but well worth the time 8 of 10

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