7.9/10
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Jonestown: The Life and Death of Peoples Temple (2006)

Featuring never-before-seen footage, this documentary delivers a startling new look at the Peoples Temple, headed by preacher Jim Jones who, in 1978, led more than 900 members to Guyana, where he orchestrated a mass suicide via tainted punch.

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(story), (teleplay) | 1 more credit »
1 win & 4 nominations. See more awards »
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The rise and fall of Jim Jones and the Peoples Temple Christian Church, through the eyes of eight different characters.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Rebecca Moore ...
Herself
Janet Shular ...
Herself
Tim Carter ...
Himself
Stanley Clayton ...
Himself
Hue Fortson Jr. ...
Himself
Garrett Lambrev ...
Himself
Claire Janaro ...
Herself
Neva Sly Hargrave ...
Herself
Deborah Layton ...
Herself
Phyllis Wilmore Zimmerman ...
Herself
Chuck Wilmore ...
Himself
John R. Hall ...
Himself
Tim Reiterman ...
Himself
June Cordell ...
Herself
Eugene Cordell ...
Himself
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Storyline

Featuring never-before-seen footage, this documentary delivers a startling new look at the Peoples Temple, headed by preacher Jim Jones who, in 1978, led more than 900 members to Guyana, where he orchestrated a mass suicide via tainted punch.

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26 April 2006 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Dödens tempel  »

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1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Quotes

Deborah Layton: [on Jim Jones's brainwashing of his followers at Jonestown] Every night at some point, his voice would come over the loudspeaker, and he'd say, "I'm sending somebody out tonight. Somebody you know. Somebody you trust. And they're gonna act like they wanna leave. But this is a loyalty test, and you need to turn them in."
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Connections

Referenced in Good Dick (2008) See more »

Soundtracks

Something Got a Hold on Me
Performed by the People's Temple Choir
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User Reviews

 
illuminating, but leaves so many questions ...
27 October 2006 | by (London, UK) – See all my reviews

I saw this at the London Film Festival, and was impressed by what appeared to be a balanced picture - of both the Peoples Temple church and Jim Jones himself. The film is captivating in its chronological story telling, leading up to the tragic events in Guyana.

However I did find the repeat use of some archival footage a bit weak, and unless I missed it, it was never explained that the "Planning Commission" was part of the Peoples Temple itself.

Like any good documentary, it left me wanting to find out more, but I did think that it was an omission not to attempt any consideration of what led Jones to turn what had been a beneficial organisation, into a murderous one. Neither does the film attempt to look into how the organisation was run - presumably Jones couldn't have directly controlled the 1,000 inhabitants of Jonestown? The source of the poison and weapons is also a subject that doesn't feature, or the question of what happened to the money afterwards?

Overall this is a really interesting film, especially for those of us who were too young to remember the events.


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