The Jonestown mass-murder suicide: Three must-see documentaries

June 9, 2020

One day of November in 1978, the American preacher Jim Jones led more than 900 members of the religious commune he had founded in Jonestown, Guyana, to drink a poisoned drink, thus causing a never-seen-before mass murder. Here at Guidedoc we have listed the top three documentaries on this infamous cult.

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Jonestown, The Life and Death of Peoples Temple



Peoples Temples was the name given by Jim Jones, a faith healer from Indiana, to the community he established in Guyana with around 1.000 followers of his cult.

This documentary, premiered at the Tribeca International Film Festival, approaches several interviewees who, back then, were part of the religious organization founded by Jones and shows us how this utopian commune became a nest for the violation of human rights and the site of death for almost everyone who lived there.

"On the night of the seventeenth it was still a vibrant community. I would never have imagined that 24 hours later they would all be dead," says one of the survivors of the massacre on this film.

 “Jonestown Cult Suicides”


The British TV program The True Story, by Channel Five, made this captivating documentary drama that mixes interviews with the staging of the days before November 18, the day that Jones carried out the mass-murder suicide.

The 45-TV documentary show focuses on the incident that ended up triggering Jones' anger, who at that time was heavily affected by drug use. This is the murder of US Congressman Leo Ryan, who was visiting the Peoples Temples facilities at the time to investigate suspected human rights violations.

The day after his men ambushed and murdered Ryan and part of his entourage, Jones decided to put a horrific end to the story of his cult.




The American Network ABC makes this special program about Jonstown using archival material and interviews from survivors, visitors to Jonstown and people who knew Jim Jones.

One of the interviewees is Stephan Gandhi Jones, the son of Jim Jones, who managed to survive the mass suicide since he was not in the commune on November 18, and who gives us an intimate perspective on his father's psyche.

How could not be otherwise, the documentary shows the devastating images captured in the commune hours after more than 900 people drank a flavored drink mixed with poison prepared by Jones' inner circle to end all the lives in Jonstown.


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