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Waco: The Rules of Engagement (1997)

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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 »


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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 6 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »



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Credited cast:
Narrator (voice)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Clive Doyle ...
Himself - Branch Davidian
Jack Harwell ...
Himself - Sheriff
Dick J. Reavis ...
Himself - Author
James D. Tabor ...
Himself - Biblical Scholar
David Thibodeau ...
Himself - Branch Davidian


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 and ATF in Waco, Texas, from February to April 1993 presents a different spin on the events from that of the United States government, which held that the Branch Davidians set the fire that destroyed their compound, and killed the vast majority of them, on April 19, 1993. Using footage from the 51 day siege, from the congressional hearings afterwards, from people involved in all aspects of the siege, and from experts technical, psychological, and religious, the movie suggests that the Branch Davidians were not a cult, but a valid religious group practicing under First Amendment freedoms who fell victim to first the ineptitude of an ATF raid designed to garner the agency positive attention and later the cruel, methodical work of the FBI, who over-saw the murder of the Davidians and then quickly covered... Written by Gary Dickerson <>

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Plot Keywords:

branch davidian | atf | fbi | texas | fire | See All (78) »

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Release Date:

19 September 1997 (USA)  »

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Referenced in Men in Black II (2002) See more »

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User Reviews

Charles Shumer is the Devil!!
30 October 2002 | by ((e.g. London, England)) – See all my reviews

"Waco: The Rules of Engagement" is a devastating indictment on the ATF, FBI and the US government, roundly demonstrating their culpability in the deaths of innocent men, women and children in the most abhorrent of crimes against humanity. With the just now resolved siege in Russia the details of this documentary are even more significant. Sure, it is a one-sided document (I'm starting to think there is no such thing as an objective documentary) but the case is made so clearly and overwhelmingly that no defence could be applied to mollify the responsibility of those liable for this heinous massacre. Yet, it is not only a condemnation of the law enforcement procedures and personnel but also of the gung-ho culture of America and the reliance on violence as a medium for punishment, revenge and "justice". The propagation of lies in the wake of the massacre is even more disturbing, suggesting that even when the truth is eventually wrenched from the quagmire of reprehensible fabrication it still remains largely useless against those who should be held accountable.

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