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Waco: The Rules of Engagement (1997)

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A reassessment of the tragedy at Waco that left 76 members of the Branch Davidian religious sect dead.

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 4 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
...
Narrator (voice)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Clive Doyle ...
Himself - Branch Davidian
Jack Harwell ...
Himself - Sheriff
Joseph Penno ...
Himself - Former Chief, Houston Fire Department
Dick J. Reavis ...
Himself - Author
James D. Tabor ...
Himself - Biblical Scholar
David Thibodeau ...
Himself - Branch Davidian
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Storyline

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 <slug@mail.utexas.edu>

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


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Release Date:

19 September 1997 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Правила поединка  »

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$2,500,000 (estimated)
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Connections

Referenced in Complete 911 Calls (2003) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Mind-blowing and shocking
23 February 2000 | by See all my reviews

There have been many documentaries that I have seen in which it appeared that the law was on the wrong side of the fence - The Thin Blue Line and Paradise Lost come to mind first and foremost. But this is the first film that had me seething with anger after I saw it. It seems blatantly clear to me from the evidence presented in this film that what happened at Waco was at the very least an unprofessional and sloppy mess on the part of the FBI and AFI, and at the very worst an act of murder. Like most people, when the siege at Waco was occurring I assumed that David Koresh was a completely evil madman who was leading a violent cult. After seeing this, I think that Koresh was more likely a slightly unbalanced and confused guy who inadvertently caught the attention of the U.S. government through his eccentric actions. Sure, there were lots of weapons at the Branch Davidian compound. But none of it was illegal. It was absolutely heartbreaking to see the video footage of the people inside the compound, all of them seeming to be very nice and harmless. And it was angering to see the callous testimony of the men in charge of the government forces on the Waco site, the clueless testimony of Janet Reno, and the partisan defense of the attack on Waco, a defense led by a few of the committee Democrats. Standing out most in my mind was NY representative and current U.S. senator from NY Charles Schumer. I voted for the man when I lived in NY state - I'm a Democrat, pretty left-leaning too. After seeing his actions on this committee, I wish I could go back in time and vote for D'Amato instead! For anyone remotely interested in the government, this is a very crucial film, a must see. I even think this should be shown in classes - it's that important.


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