IMDb > Waco: The Rules of Engagement (1997)

Waco: The Rules of Engagement (1997) More at IMDbPro »

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Waco: The Rules of Engagement -- Using interviews, news footage, testimony before Congress, and infrared photographic analysis, ‘Waco: The Rules of Engagement’ chips away at the government's story that David Koresh and his followers were a dangerous cult involved in strange sex and drug practices who were preparing to slaughter their neighbors and that they immolated themselves a la Jonestown, rather than give themselves up peacefully. Nearly every element of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms' and the FBI's cover-up is exposed as fraudulent and the viewer is left wondering when, if ever, justice will finally be served.
Waco: The Rules of Engagement -- This video is a commentary by the director of Waco: The Rules of Engagement, William Gazecki, talking on the making of the movie. WACO was theatrically released in 1997 and has aired on television. It is also available on DVD.


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Release Date:
19 September 1997 (USA) See more »
This controversial documentary about the stand-off between an unorthodox Christian group - the Branch Davidians... See more » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Nominated for Oscar. Another 6 wins & 1 nomination See more »
User Reviews:
One of the Best Documentaries!! See more (31 total) »


  (in credits order)

Dan Gifford ... Narrator (voice)
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Clive Doyle ... Himself - Branch Davidian (also archive footage)
Jack Harwell ... Himself - Sheriff
Dick J. Reavis ... Himself - Author (also archive footage)
James D. Tabor ... Himself - Biblical Scholar
David Thibodeau ... Himself - Branch Davidian

Joe Biden ... Himself - U.S. Senate (archive footage) (uncredited)

Sonny Bono ... Himself (archive footage) (uncredited)
Howard Coble ... Himself - U.S. Congress (archive footage) (uncredited)
John Conyers ... Himself - U.S. Congress (archive footage) (uncredited)
Orrin G. Hatch ... Himself - U.S. Senate (archive footage) (uncredited)
Jim Jones ... Himself - in Jonestown (archive footage) (uncredited)
David Koresh ... Himself - Branch Davidian Leader (archive footage) (uncredited)
Tom Lantos ... Himself - U.S. Congress (archive footage) (uncredited)
Janet Reno ... Herself - U.S. Attorney General (archive footage) (uncredited)
Bob Ricks ... Himself (FBI spokesman) (archive footage) (uncredited)
Steven Schiff ... Himself - U.S. Congress (archive footage) (uncredited)
David Somerville ... Himself (ATF) (archive footage) (uncredited)

Directed by
William Gazecki 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
William Gazecki 
Dan Gifford 
Michael McNulty 

Produced by
William Gazecki .... producer
Dan Gifford .... executive producer
Dan Gifford .... producer
Michael McNulty .... producer
Amy Sommer .... co-executive producer (as Amy Sommer Gifford)
Original Music by
David Hamilton 
Cinematography by
William Gazecki 
Rick Nyburg 
Film Editing by
William Gazecki 
Richard LaBrie 
Rick Nyburg 
Sound Department
William Gazecki .... sound editor
J. Neil Schulman .... special thanks

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

136 min | USA:165 min
Filming Locations:

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Movie Connections:
Referenced in Infrared Footage (2003) (V)See more »


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15 out of 19 people found the following review useful.
One of the Best Documentaries!!, 25 August 1999
Author: V Hanna from Tampa

Rules of Engagement is one of the best documentaries I have ever seen. It is well constructed, superbly pieced together, and provides excellent footage to back up the assertions that it takes on. The movie's best quality is that it is not based on being sympathetic to the Dividians as much as it enlightens the audience to the blatant governmental mistakes and lies that surrounded the entire situation. I'm left with feelings of disturbing anxiety and extreme anger over the way that the government handled and then covered up a tragedy of this magnitude. The cover up is what left me really fuming. It is one thing to make a mistake in an operation and admit guilt, but another to look the American people squarely in the eye and lie to them. I guess it shouldn't surprise me with the history of our beloved country that has seen the JFK assassination, the Vietnam War, and other significant events that smell so bad of a cover up that you have to hold your nose every time you drive through Washington D.C. The footage from an airplane with special heat sensing technology and the autopsies on some of the bodies clearly show that the FBI is lying to the public. One of the things that I try to stay aware of when watching a documentary such as this is that I am usually only receiving testimony from one point of view. But again, that is without a doubt one of the brilliant successes of Rules of Engagement. It presents its evidence in such a concluding fashion that even if you were presented with statements from the FBI how could you really believe them. I remember clearly when the standoff was taking place the way the media presented the Dividians as this crazed group of cult rebels with David Koresh, the self professed reborn Jesus Christ, as their leader. None of this was truly factual but rather story spun from bits and pieces of facts. They were simply standing up for there rights to bear arms and practice their religion as American Citizens. If you were the ATF and you wanted to search the compound is attacking the building with a unit of men who are armed with rifles and bullet proof suits the way to go about doing it? If you are the FBI why engage in psychological warfare and offer little in actual negotiation to help solve the situation? Why pour gallons of harmful gas if you want to save children? Why open large holes within the compound structure when you know the possibility of starting a fire? Why lie about not firing weapons when it can be clearly shown on video? Unless. Unless you wanted to see the situation end up the way it did. The scene at the end when the Dividians Star of David flag blew off the flagpole into the fire and the ATF's was shortly thereafter raised up was an emotional climatic scene that made my head shake in disgust and my stomach turn uncontrollably. The filmmaker William Gazecki deserves one my highest congratulations. It takes a lot of guts to make a movie like this and I am sure there have been many repercussions from the government for it as well. Because of people like him the public can be shown real truth rather than crap that gets filtered through a media that presents information that can hardly be considered genuine. When I think back to how I felt at the time toward the Dividians because of the media's representation of David Koresh and how I felt after seeing this movie it is truly amazing. It reminds me of the line from the bible of a man who was healed by Jesus and asked by the elders how it happened "before I was blind but now I can see" he kept telling them. Do yourself a favor and watch this movie. You may have to look for it but it is truly something special.

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