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In the Line of Duty: Ambush in Waco (TV) More at IMDbPro »

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21 out of 28 people found the following review useful:

So poorly done, the writer apologized.

Author: jeniferrobin from United States
23 December 2004

This slip-shod piece of government propaganda was rushed to production before the final fire killed over 75 men, women and children. Although the disclaimer at the beginning of the film claims it was thoroughly researched, the stereotypes in which the characters were portrayed were comical, if not tragic misrepresentations. Filled with downright lies, the writer of this garbage later apologized to the surviving members and the families of those lost for his role in perpetuating the horrible myths surrounding David Koresh and his followers. (See David Thibodeau's _A Place Called Waco_, page 207 and writer Phil Penningroth's own "Righting Waco: Confessions of a Hollywood Propagandist" available at This piece does play a role in the history of the standoff, as a clear example of the dead wrong information surrounding the standoff and raid. Therefore, take it with a grain of salt.

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18 out of 25 people found the following review useful:

Never let the truth get in the way of a good story.

Author: MAX-78 from Melbourne, Australia
19 September 1999

There is no denying that Tim Daly's performance is stunning. But, it would seem that he was the only person working on this cartoonish debacle who did any research.

Now, what we have here is a question of motive. Why did they make this film without any access to the facts? (After all, the film was in post production before the siege was over) Were they making art? No. Were they documenting the truth? No. They didn't know what the truth was at that time. Were they trying the save the ATF from budget cutting and possible disbandment? I'll put my vote on yes.

This is a dangerous piece of propaganda, which holds murderers up as heroes, and displays people who are defending themselves as psychos.

Oh, and where was the scene where the FBI agents opened fire on the women and children who were hiding in the kitchen area to protect themselves from the CS gas? In fact, where was the CS gas?

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15 out of 20 people found the following review useful:

An Ambush On Truth

Author: TheAnimalMother from your daughters bedroom
23 March 2010

I certainly don't support a lunatic like David Koresh at all. However this film is about an important true event in American history, in terms of law enforcement and human rights. This film is a totally biased propaganda film that entirely ignores the errors of every American government agency involved. This was obviously funded to some degree for the very purpose of their public image. It is an insult to truth. It is an insult to the viewer. It is an insult to the American public. It is an insult to the foreign public. It is an insult to humankind. Is there anyone else I can say it's an insult to? This is bottom of the barrel stuff. Whatever happened to admitting your mistakes and learning from them? Would it be so bad if they admitted their errors? If children covered up their mistakes with pure lies like this film does. Most parents would certainly have a big talk with, or even punish them for such things. And this is the behaviour of the most powerful government in the world. Absolutely ridiculous! Anyone who researches this event, or watched it unfold knows that this film is a biased load. This is the exact kind of ammunition that crazed idiots like Koresh use to trick vulnerable people into believing that their government is not to be trusted. With such ignorant public propaganda. It really makes you wonder how corrupt some American government agencies are. With this kind of stuff out there, it is also not much of a wonder that the U.S. has become such a distrusted country around the world. This film makes me mad, and it makes me sick. It also makes me wonder if the government could possibly hire any dumber public relations gurus than the ones who came up with the idea to fund this garbage.


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17 out of 25 people found the following review useful:

A true piece of trash!

Author: JimHammond ( from Brooklyn, NY
26 June 2002

If you want to know the truth about what really happened in Waco, TX between February 28th, 1993 and April 19th, 1993, this IS NOT the film to see. The writers claimed at the movie's beginning that this film was a result of "extensive research" concerning what happened, yet there is hardly any truth in nearly every scene in this film. It not only is a villification of David Koresh and the Branch Davidians but also a portrayal of the AFT as "brave heroes" who risked their lives so as to protect society from these dangerous lunatics. It fails to mention the point that the only reason that the AFT made the raid in the first place was because they had budget hearings pending and they needed a good publicity coup for those hearings.

The only error this film makes concerning the February 28th raid that is worth mentioning here is the fact that it omits the role of the helicopters in the raid. Anyone who has studied the facts of the raid knows that it was the helicopters who fired the first shots when they straffed the building. It was also one of the helicopters that, when making a straffing pass over the building, fired the shots the killed Peter Gent as he was climbing from out of the water tower. In this film, the Davidians (including some late-middle aged women) are shown to ambush the AFT as they approached the front door. It was too bad that millions of people formed their opinion concerning Koresh, his followers and the entire Waco incident from this piece of trash.

If someone really wants to know the truth of both Koresh and his followers and the entire incident from beginning to end, the best references are the books "The Ashes of Waco: An Investigation" by Dick J. Reavis and "A Place Called Waco" by David Thibodeau. Also, the video "Waco: The Rules of Engagement" is a excellent piece of documentary film making.

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11 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

Fact or Fiction?

Author: CarlNaamanBrown from Kingsport, Tennessee
16 December 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Saying that In the Line of Duty: Ambush at Waco tells the facts about David Koresh and the Branch Davidian is like saying It Conquered the World tells the truth about NASA scientists: the Lee Van Cleef character brought an evil alien conqueror to earth, those NASA guys must be whacked out loonies.

The screen writer, Phil Penningroth, has disowned this screenplay. He has pointed out that in the other "In the Line of Duty" series, the agencies were eager to tell their side of the story. The ATF stonewalled him and he had to rely on what proved to be falsified press releases from Washington.

From my own research, follow this time-line:

1992 July 30 Koresh knows he is being investigated. Koresh tries to get the ATF to come out and inspect his guns and paperwork. ATF agent David Aguillera refuses to take the phone.

1992 August 21-31 The infamous Ruby Ridge Siege against the Weaver family in Idaho convinces Koresh the ATF plans to do the same to him and his group.

ATF continues to build plans for a raid and Koresh becomes more paranoid. He and his lawyer go to the county sheriff and demonstrate that their guns are legal and they have followed all laws. The sheriff believes all ATF has to do was call Koresh and Koresh would have met them with his lawyer at the courthouse.

1992 Dec 4 - At the BATF Special Operations Division HQ BATF conferred with a military liaison officer about the availability of military assistance. The military officer informed the BATF that free military assistance would require a "drug connection" to the Waco investigation.

1992 Dec 11 - In Texas, BATF contacted the Texas National Guard (TexNG) for the use of helicopters. The TexNG responded that the BATF would have to show a war-on-drugs connection to get TexNG helicopters.

1992 Dec 16 - The BATF tells the TexNG that a disgruntled exDavidian told them there was a methamphetamine lab at Mt. Carmel. TexNG supplies three helicopters for use in the raid.

Later BATF named Marc Breault as the source of their drug information on Koresh. Breault had left the group in Sept 1989. Breault stated in 1993: "There were no drugs of any kind used during my time in the group.... Never at any time did I accuse Vernon (Koresh) of drug dealing or usage." In Nov 1992 Breault had told the BATF a meth lab had been run by 3rd party tenants in 1987 under previous prophet George Roden. Koresh had evicted them and demolished the cabin in 1988.

Not only was the raid on the Davidian's Mt. Carmel Center justified by a non-existent meth lab, the ATF raid plan was based on daily routine reported by members who had left in 1989 while Mt. Carmel Center was being re-constructed. The ATF plan was based on the idea the men would be outside working on new construction, the children would be in school, other men and women would be in town at their jobs, and the guns would be locked up in the main building. On 28 Feb 1993 all the men, women and children were in the main building for Sunday School (with the guns nearby).

Koresh may have been a whacked-out loony, but if you did not agree with him, you could pack your bags and catch the bus at the county road and leave his jurisdiction and a lot of members did just that with no bad consequences.

What scares me are the reviewers that seem delighted that the ATF attacked the Branch Davidians over their unpopular beliefs and lifestyle. ATF could have enforced the gun laws by accepting his phone offer to just look at the guns and paperwork on 30 July 1992. ATF has no legal jurisdiction to execute people over their religion or lifestyle.

"In the Line of Duty: Ambush at Waco" is a blemish on the record of the "In the Line of Duty" series: most other entries in the series are much more factual. ATF had too much to hide from the screenwriter.

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9 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

As usual, Hollywood makes another slanted movie.

Author: WolfgangR5150 from United States
27 November 2005

The first review here was obviously wrote by someone who thinks that when Hollywood makes something they call a true story it must be all true. Watch the movie Ashes of Waco for actual facts on this issue. Granted Koresh claimed to be something he was not, this does not mean that this was a well executed plan by the ATF. Fact, the ATF could have arrested Koresh in town since he went there often. What we do have here is a Cliton era Janet Reno failure as usual. Do the research because this movie may try to capture the day many brave ATF agents lost there lives but it also slants the story to make sure you think that this was 100% the people of Mt Carmnels fault.

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12 out of 20 people found the following review useful:

This movies stinks

Author: Longskail from United States
26 August 2006

This movie was the worst example of what really happened. The other persons comment really angers me. 80 men, women and children were burned alive by our government. Several years later it surfaced that the FED's really did launch incendiary devices at the Davidians church (compound labeled by the FED's to militarize the situation)I have seen the autopsy photos of the children and I cant tell you how much it brings tears to my eyes that no one has done anything to the ATF, FED and Military personal who are responsible. Keep harping on 9/11 and continue to close your eyes to what happen in Waco. I find it funny how the American Indians don't have a problem with believing what really happened in Waco but the rest of America cant seem to believe that our government would ever do such a terrible thing. Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it. Our government almost killed off an entire race of people (American Indians) and you find this hard to believe that it would murder 80 men, women and children?

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12 out of 21 people found the following review useful:

Fascist Garbage

Author: SHADO-5
5 March 1999

Watch the outstanding documentary, Waco: The Rules of Engagement, and then watch this insulting inane dreck. If you are like me, you will want to slap the perpetrators of this ignorant, hateful, pro-"law enforcement" propaganda. People who deny the Holocaust will love Ambush in Waco.

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Made for TV movie tells only half the story

Author: Leofwine_draca from United Kingdom
8 April 2017

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

AMBUSH IN WACO is one in a series of American made-for-TV movies chronicling American police cases and various crimes. The series title is IN THE LINE OF DUTY, and it's not to be confused with the excellent Hong Kong action series of the same name. AMBUSH IN WACO is a straightforward account of the infamous Waco, Texas siege in which ATF agents stormed a stronghold belonging to the Branch Davidian cult.

The main problem with this film is that it was made contemporaneously with the true-life events, so much so that the whole story isn't even told (except in a written coda at the climax). However, it does build to a thrilling ending of sorts, the infamous and bungled siege that saw a number of ATF agents losing their lives as they attempted to storm the complex despite knowing the cult members inside were heavily armed.

The film as a whole isn't bad, although it does feel a little slow with over an hour of set-up before any kind of meaningful action begins. The story is very biased in favour of the authorities which a number of reviewers seem to take issue with. Tim Daly gives a very good performance as the deranged cult leader David Koresh, and old-timer Clu Gulager has a small role as the sheriff. Best of the lot is a youthful Neal McDonough, packing in the intensity even at this early stage of his career.

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8 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

While the movie may not have the facts right, it tells the story pretty much the way the agents say it happened.

Author: ghost-9 from disneyland
21 June 2001

As a movie about what happened in 93 in Waco, this one is fairly well-made and entertaining enough to watch. It is one-sided in favor of the government which is fair, considering that they deserve their say also. We have a saying that " if it smells like a duck, quacks like a duck and looks like a duck, it probably is a duck ". It looks like agents meant to burn down the church and kill the occupants to punish them for the deaths of the BATF agents. I'm inclined to believe that contrary to any number of government "fact-finding" quest that seem to point to the opposite.

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