Originally shown as a two-part TV movie, this is a gripping recreation of the horrible tragedy of the November 1978 mass suicide of 913 people at the South American religious"colony" of Jonestown. Powers Boothe's portra... more »yal of the cult-leader Reverend Jim Jones earned him an "Emmy" and the film traces the life of Jones from his early activist period to his rise as a modern day messiah. The climatic suicide scenes are convincingly recreated in a near-documentary style, and the whole production benefits from a huge supporting cast of excellent players. Bonus Features: Scene Selection, Trailers, Bios. Specs: DVD9; Dolby Digital; 189 minutes; Color; 1.33:1 Aspect Ratio; MPAA - NR; Year - 1980; SRP - $14.99.« less
"Finally VCI Home Video has released Guyana Tragedy on DVD. Months ago we were promised a remastered copy with improved picture and sound. Even the above poster states that this has been fully restored and remastered. But, sadly it has not. For a film that was only made in 1980, I can't believe that a film would have picture quality that is this bad. Honestly the quality of the picture is that of a bootleg, and its even worse than Reel Enterprises version of the film. The video jumps from time to time, it's murky and the sound is like something from a 1930's film.
Shame on VCI for bringing out a title that is this bad. My goodness, how hard is it to clean up the picture a bit? They have really dropped the ball with this release, and because of the extremely poor quality, I will re-think purchasing any further VCI titles. Avoid at all costs!"
I would have rated this higher but....
The Fancy One | Westchester County, NY | 09/21/2007
(2 out of 5 stars)
"...the DVD transfer is AWFUL! It is NOT digitally remastered or restored in any way. There are scenes in this movie that are so dark you can barely see anything (and when you do see it, it's blurry), scratches on the film, muffled sound and drop outs....it looks like someone was holding a camcorder and taped this movie from TV on an old worn VHS cassette! I've seen bootlegs that are better than this. They couldn't clean it up at all to get rid of the defects??
The film itself, originally a two-part TV miniseries that aired in 1980, is excellent, and the all-star casting is perfect - Powers Boothe certainly earned his Emmy (Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or a Special) for his compelling performance as the charismatic People's Temple cult leader Jim Jones. Talk about a real life Elmer Gantry? Jones was it. He actually had his followers believing he WAS God.
People's Temple attracted all types of folks: the poor, homeless, drug and alcohol addicted, ex-cons, disenchanted Vietnam veterans, young, old, of all racial and ethnic backgrounds, and those who simply were left behind by society as a whole, had no genetic family ties and just didn't fit in anywhere else. In this, they found friendship, peace and perhaps a security that they weren't able to find in the outside world. The followers of Jones' People's Temple lived amongst each other in a sort of Utopian society, and in the beginning the formation of the church had the best of intentions. However, as the saying goes, "The road to hell is paved with good intentions."
The screenplay itself draws a great deal from the actual events and news accounts. But the DVD is terrible! I waited all this time to get this, and now I know I probably should have purchased it on VHS. You'd think that with this film finally being released in this format, the quality might have been better, but it isn't. This film version of the horrific and chilling true story of the MASSACRE that occurred in Jonestown, Guyana nearly 30 years ago on November 18, 1978 deserves more than this cheesy treatment. Shame on VCI Entertainment for peddling this junk on Amazon. I will never purchase anything from them again. Save your money and purchase Jonestown - The Life & Death of Peoples Temple instead. Hopefully in the future, "Guyana Tragedy: The Jim Jones Story" will be reissued in a proper fashion, instead of on this sorry excuse of a DVD."
Great Performances, Bad DVD
G. Norton | Brandon, FL United States | 09/23/2007
(1 out of 5 stars)
"The video on this disc looks like it was simply pulled from the master tapes made for VHS and syndication. The audio leaves much to be desired too.
The shame of it is that the program has some amazing performances in addition to Powers Boothe's Emmy-winning portrayal of Jim Jones."
Arthur J. Lee | 06/29/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I purchased this movie and couldn't wait to get to get it. As a kid, this movie used to come on a lot and I use to watch it all the time with my mother. At first, I was a little skeptical to get it, but I took the chance. I was a skeptical because most of the user reviews stated how bad the quality was. Now, I'll admit, the quality on this is not your typical DVD quality. It does look like it was transferred from VHS, but it's still watchable. It just looks like you were watching it on tape. If they ever re-release a better quality version, I'll buy that, also. For now, though, this version is perfect enough for anyone who wants to see it again or for the first time. As a kid, though, I didn't understand that this was really real, but now that I am older, I understand how sad this was. Anyway, this is and has always been a wonderful fim."
5 for the Movie, 0 for the dvd quality
Ron | Jersey | 07/07/2008
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Talk about no effort. This is really a terrible transfer. It really looks like someone had an old vhs tape of this 2 part tv movie and they just recorded it as is onto dvd. From the first minute to the last, you are treated to a dark, scratchy, hissing and popping movie. This is a terrific film, with an all star cast. Such an interesting story wasted with an awful dvd. This is one I truly hope someone would put out the right way."