The 10 Best Documentaries About Jonestown

Aug 24, 2023 | Best Of, Celebrities, Religion

This documentary examines the journey of Jim Jones, from his humble beginnings as a faith healer to his ultimate downfall in Jonestown. It features interviews with former members and survivor accounts of life under Jones’ control. A compelling look at one of the most infamous cults in history. The powerful documentaries loos at the events leading up to the deaths in Jonestown, including interviews with former members and survivors as well as archival footage. They also examine why Jones was able to gain such immense power within his followers. A must watch for anyone interested in cults and tragedy.


Jonestown: Paradise Lost (2007)

Through gripping survivor accounts and reenactments, this powerful documentary delves into the events leading up to one of the largest mass murders and suicides in history. The chilling tale of Jim Jones and his cult of believers will leave you on the edge of your seat, unable to look away.






The Jonestown Haunting (2020)

For decades, the infamous Jonestown massacre has been a haunting piece of history that continues to captivate and terrify us. And for Sarah Logan, one of the few survivors of this tragedy, the memories still haunt her in her dreams.






Jonestown: Terror in the Jungle (2018)

Step into the world of Jim Jones, a man with a powerful presence and an even more sinister agenda. Uncover the shocking truth behind his rise to power and the ultimate downfall of his followers. Through gripping interviews and never-before-seen footage, this docu-series delves deep into one of America’s most terrifying chapters.




Jonestown Women Behind the Massacre (2018)

Step back in time and uncover the truth behind one of the most infamous tragedies in history. This gripping documentary delves into the untold stories of four women who were intricately involved in the 1978 Jonestown Massacre in Guyana.




Murderous Minds – Jim Jones (2020)

Jim Jones was a charismatic and controversial leader who captivated the hearts and minds of thousands. His rise to power as a self-proclaimed faith healer in the 1950s seemed promising, but it ultimately led to one of the most horrifying tragedies in American history.






The Best Free Documentaries About Jonestown


1.Jonestown doc

Jim Jones and the Peoples Temple represent a tragic story of power gone wrong. A group that was founded on principles of love, equality and acceptance quickly descended into a cult-like state of mind control and physical abuse. Led by Reverend Jim Jones, the Peoples Temple began as an organization to provide social justice and racial equality for its members in Indianapolis, Indiana. However, Jones’ ambition soon led the group further afield to California and beyond, eventually culminating in their relocation to an isolated compound in Guyana. Life at the People’s Temple was a living nightmare; members were subject to Jones’ tyrannical control where even the most ordinary of decisions had to be made only by him. Those who attempted to disobey were subject to extreme punishments, and in one of the darkest events recorded in history, Jones orchestrated the mass suicide of over 900 People’s Temple members in 1978. The Peoples Temple serves as a cautionary tale, a reminder that unchecked ambition can lead to great tragedy. It was an event that shook the world and still stands as one of the most shocking acts of mass suicide to ever occur.


2.The Jonestown Documentary

The Jonestown Documentary is an insightful look into the tragedy that unfolded on November 18, 1978. It takes a unique perspective in exploring the cult leader Jim Jones and his motivations behind the events that led to this massacre. The documentary also examines how it affected those who were involved, including their families, as well as providing us with an understanding of what cult behavior looks like and how to identify it. The Jonestown Documentary is a powerful reminder of the dangers of unchecked power, fanaticism, and its implications for those who become entangled in such situations. It is an invaluable lesson in understanding cult-like behavior and recognizing signs that something may be awry – allowing us to respond quickly if ever needed. Ultimately, this documentary provides an opportunity to look back on a dark chapter in American history and gain insight into the events that transpired.


3. Deceived – The Jonestown Tragedy

This book is an in-depth exploration of the complex and often tragic relationship between cults and humanity. It features exclusive interviews with members of Jim Jones’ church, giving readers a unique insight into life within the infamous cult. Weaving together stories from survivors, in-depth looks at other controversial figures such as David Koresh and Charles Manson are also included to further illustrate the consequences of cults. The book also provides support and hope for those who have lost loved ones to such groups, offering advice from professionals on how to heal psychological wounds. Finally, it takes a detailed look into the prevalence of cults in today’s society, examining why they remain dangerous despite changing public opinion. It encourages readers to stay informed and alert in order to protect themselves, and provides insight on what it means to be a vigilant citizen. This book is essential reading for anyone interested in understanding humanity’s complex relationship with cults.


4. Jonestown The Life & Death of Peoples Temple

The Peoples Temple was a multi-racial church that promised its followers a utopian lifestyle and racial equality in 1955. Led by Jim Jones, an incredibly charismatic leader with public displays of faith healing, it attracted hundreds to its cause. By 1977, the cult had grown exponentially to over three thousand members and had established itself in California. Unfortunately, rumors began circulating of the increasing authoritarianism and atrocities occurring in Jonestown. These reports eventually reached Congressman Leo Ryan, who was asked by concerned family members to investigate. What followed was arguably one of the most tragic events in history – with over 900 people dying from drinking cyanide-laced Kool-Aid at the behest of their leader. The life and death of Peoples Temple will remain in the annals of history for many years to come. Though stories of Peoples Temple are often tragic, it’s important to remember that this organization started out with a mission of social justice and racial equality. It serves as an example of how quickly things can go wrong when people put their faith in one person and forget the true motivations behind their cause. Despite the tragedy, it’s important that we remember what Peoples Temple was originally intended to be.


5. Jonestown Massacre, explained

The tragedy of Jim Jones and the Peoples Temple is one that should never be repeated in history. It serves as a reminder of the power of religious fervor and how it can manipulate individuals into making irrational decisions. This event happened over 3,000 miles away from American shores, but still had a profound impact on people’s lives. On November 18th, 1978, a mass suicide occurred when 909 members of the cult drank a poisoned beverage. Their actions were spurred on by Jim Jones’ extreme control and manipulation. This moment is seared into the collective American memory as a warning against any form of coercion or control. It is not only a story about one man’s deadly indoctrination but also an important reminder of the strength of faith and what it can drive people to do. The followers of the Peoples Temple believed so strongly in Jim Jones’ guidance that they were willing to forsake all else, including their own lives, for his teachings. We must remember this tragedy as a testament to the power of belief – while also using it as a warning against any exploitive forms of manipulation. In doing so, we can ensure that such a tragedy never happens again.


6. Jim Jones documentary – Investigative Report Jonestown Mystery

One of the most bizarre mysteries in modern history: the Jonestown tragedy. Through investigative reporting, interviews, and archival footage we unravel a captivating narrative that reveals the details behind cult leader Jim Jones’s rise to power and the ultimate demise of his followers in Jonestown, Guyana. Retrace the steps of Jones and his followers as they traveled from San Francisco to Guyana and became ensconced in a compound which soon became known as ‘Jonestown’. Uncover the dark secrets that lay beneath its surface, and discover how Jones rose from a small-town preacher to a powerful leader who commanded the loyalty of 1,000 people. Explore how Jones’s utopian vision was rebuffed on arrival in Guyana and investigate the events that ultimately led to the infamous mass suicide of 900 people in 1978. Examine evidence from survivors and gain new insights into an event that has left a lasting legacy. Peel back the layers of an intricate web spanning from church supervision to international governments, as we seek to uncover the true story behind Jim Jones and his followers.



The tragic events of Jonestown forever changed the way people viewed new religious movements. With over 900 dead by their own hands, it seemed that all cults were dangerous and destructive, destined for a similar fate. But Bryan R. Wilson rejected this idea—only five such organizations had experienced such terrible mass suicides in the past, including the Branch Davidians, Solar Temple, Aum Shinrikyo and Heaven’s Gate. Prior to the Jonestown incident, many members of The Peoples Temple felt uneasy about their future. After facing immense public scrutiny in San Francisco, some feared they could be targeted by a “hit squad” of survivors. Michael Prokes, a member sent on a mission to deliver a suitcase full of funds to the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, was especially distressed. In March 1979 he committed suicide—right after hosting a press conference in Modesto, California and delivering a thirty-page document about The Temple. Tragedy would continue to accompany the survivors of Jonestown even after their return home. Laurence “Bonny” Mann, the Guyana’s Ambassador to the United States and former romantic partner of Paula Adams, was one such example. In October 1983 he shot both Adams and their child before turning the gun on himself. Other defectors also experienced immense suffering—Harold Cordell lost twenty family members, while Vernon Gosney had his five-year-old son murdered. In the end, the Jonestown tragedy lives on to this day in newspapers, magazines and polls across America. But while it may have embedded fear into people about new religious movements, Bryan R Wilson’s example reminds us that only a small fraction of these organizations ever face such an unfortunate fate.



Storyville – Jonestown is a place of intrigue and mystery. It’s an old-world city, where cobblestone streets wind through the shadows of towering buildings and stained glass windows glow with the secrets of a bygone age. A place steeped in artistry, culture, and history – yet one that still remains as mysterious as it was centuries ago. This is the home of Jonestown; an ancient city of timeless beauty, vibrant culture, and living history. Here, you can explore a unique fusion of old-world charm and modern sophistication. From its art galleries and music venues to its renowned restaurants and bars, there’s something for everyone in this extraordinary city.


9. Jim Jones And The Jonestown Tragedy

Jim Jones founded Peoples Temple in 1955, a church that sought to promote social justice and equality. His messages were highly charismatic and his following grew rapidly. In 1965, the congregation was relocated to San Francisco, where Jones began exhibiting strange behavior. He demanded absolute loyalty from his followers and became violent when questioned. This culminated in 1977 with the relocation of the entire cult to a remote jungle settlement in Guyana called Jonestown. There, Jones preached his grandiose promises of salvation and enacted harsh punishments if these were not followed. His erratic behavior eventually led to the tragic deaths of over 900 people.


10. Jim Jones ~ The Peoples Temple

On the fateful day of November 18th, 1978, a horrific event occurred in Guyana that would forever be remembered as the Jonestown Massacre. It all began with the ambition of one man – Jim Jones – who founded The Peoples Temple nearly two decades prior and vowed to create an utopian society. Although the congregation initially flourished in Indiana and California, Jones soon relocated the bulk of his 1,000 followers to the jungles of Guyana in order to avoid media scrutiny. The promise of a new life soon gave way to tragedy when U.S. Representative Leo Ryan and his delegation went to Jonestown to investigate reports of abuse – only to be gunned down by Jones’ guards. In a tragic act of obedience, Jones then commanded all of his followers to drink a poisoned punch laced with cyanide, killing over 900 people in one fell swoop.

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David B