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

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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.

Director:

Stanley Nelson

Writers:

Marcia Smith (story), Marcia Smith (teleplay) | 1 more credit »
1 win & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

26 April 2006 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Dödens tempel See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$7,482, 20 October 2006, Limited Release
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Firelight Media Inc. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Stereo

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Quotes

Jim Jones: Be assured in that choice is not ours now. It's out of our hands. Die with respect. Die with a degree of dignity. Lay down your life with dignity. Don't lay down with tears and agony. Stop this hysterics. Keep your emotions down. Children, it will not hurt if you'll be quiet.
See more »

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

 
The Mystery Continues
7 November 2006 | by cadmanduSee all my reviews

This film documents the life of Jim Jones, his emergence as a charismatic and successful religious figure, and his eventual downfall.

The whole People's Temple story always struck me as just another of the 60's cult phenomena. We had Rajneesh and his farm, and uncountable other guru's who exploited, and continue to exploit, large numbers of gullible followers. The Moonies are still with us, but well below the radar most of the time.

What's odd about Jim Jones -- to me, anyway -- is that no one really seems to know who this guy really was. This film gives more insight than anything else I've seen or read. It talks about his childhood, which was extremely poor, and his family situation, which was equally grim, so we get some insight there. But he was a very carefully guarded fellow. Always wearing those shades, always talking in the manner of a preacher. But who was he really? What was he like when he took off the robes and had a beer? We may never know. His followers certainly didn't know, and no doubt that's a major part of the problem. There is one scene in this documentary in which Jones is standing at the back of a group of people at a large gathering, and his demeanor reminded me of the dictator in North Korea -- it was that kind of vague, arrogant, totally in control look. Spooky.

The most telling comment in this film was the remark made by one of the PT's former members, who said "No one ever goes and joins a cult. They join a church, or a club." But what is the tipping point at which people can tolerate psychological and physical abuse against themselves and their friends? We don't get an answer to that. The people who made this film didn't have to tell us the answer, but it would have been a better film if they had.


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