NR (Not recommended for children under 14)
time: 90 mins..
is a stunning documentary on the events that led to the biggest
mass suicide/murder in history.
November 1978, more than 900 followers of the People's Temple
cult led by charismatic American preacher Jim Jones died en
masse at their remote compound in the jungle of Guyana, South
America. Most drank a soft drink laced with cyanide. Parents
poisoned their children before killing themselves. Jones and
several of his inner circle/bodyguards tooker a quicker route,
dying from gunshot wounds to the head.
"how" and "why" People's Temple came to
such a horrifying end is explained here.
1978, People's Temple was in trouble. It had been founded
in the U.S. by Jones years earlier and it wasn't long before
allegations of sexual and physical abuse by Jones began to
circulate. There were financial questions, too.
extensive archive film shows, Jones could work a congregation
and one-on-one seemed personable, amusing and completely trustworthy.
Little wonder he was easily able to persuade people to give
generously to support his "good works" - which included
having sex with vulnerable young female followers.
and many of his followers left San Francisco for Guyana in
1978, but when Congressman Leo Ryan heard some of them might
be being held against their will he flew out with several
aides and journalists to investigate. At first, the visit
went well and Ryan was persuaded nothing was untoward. However,
several People's Temple followers soon pleaded with Ryan to
take them out of the compound and a sizeable number eventually
wanted to leave.
his empire collapsing, Jones ordered his body guards to the
nearby jungle airstrip, where they killed Ryan and several
members of his group. Knowing U.S. and Guyanese authorities
would soon arrive, Jones ordered his followers to kill themselves.
many chilling moments on the documentary is listening to audio
tapes left running during the mass suicide in which Jones
can be heard urging his followers to die.
Stanley Nelson and his team interviewed Jonestown survivors,
former Temple members and relatives of those who died, putting
together an unforgettable and very disturbing film on what
happens when religion falls into the wrong hands.