Production on this landmark telefilm began just days after the fateful Feb. 28, 1993 Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms raid on the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas. Tim Daly did an about turn from his easygoin... more »g 'Joe' on the popular sitcom Wings to turn in a vivid performance as false prophet David Koresh. Ambush At Waco picks up the Koresh story when he was still Vernon Howell, a struggling singer/songwriter in California who reinvents himself as a messianic figure recruiting the sad and disenfranchised to join him in his mecca at Mount Carmel. Once one disillusioned follower, played by Neal McDonough (Minority Report), bolts the twisted moral wreckage of the compound and turns over evidence to the FBI, the film tracks ATF team leader Dan Lauria (The Wonder Years) as he builds his case leading up to the fiery clash at Waco.« less
"After reading such books as "A Place Called Waco", and watching the excellent "Waco: The Rules Of Engagement", All I can say is that this is nothing but propoganda to demonize David Koresh and the Davidians, and portray the ATF as heroic dragon slayers. Do yourself a favor, stay away from this one and buy "Waco: The Rules Of Engagement", available on Amazon.com"
Even the screenwriter disowned this film
Dusty | California | 11/04/2005
(1 out of 5 stars)
"This made-for-TV film was quickly put together to exploit the deaths of so many ATF agents and Davidian men, women and children, barely after the smoke had cleared in Waco. Years later, the screenwriter who wrote this film, Phil Penningroth--much to his credit--confessed that he had been pressured by television executives to forget about researching the facts, and to instead use the film as a forum for promoting the government's spin on events at Waco. Do a google search for Penningroth's article, "Righting Waco", and you'll soon learn, as he eventually did, that this film was an utter sham from the beginning, and never even sought the truth. But such is the awesome power of propaganda in a nation of corporate-dominated media: when even the people who write the stories we're told don't know they are lying, how are the masses supposed to know?
When the Davidian "compound" burned on April 19, 1993, I was horrified by the carnage, but felt like so many others that the Davidians had brought it on themselves, and the ATF/FBI had done the best they could. After all, that is what this film portrays. But after researching the matter for myself, traveling to the site, speaking with survivors, and kneeling at the tiny plaque which marked the location of the concrete room that became the oven that burned so many women and children alive, I will live the shame of my former beliefs for the rest of my life. The U.S. government killed those people, used the enormous power of the mass media to lie about it, and we all believed them.
Watch "Waco: Rules of Engagement" instead. Or better yet, travel to the site yourself and stand where those flames once reached into the sky. Then you'll understand what really happened. This film is classic only in the sense of its value as a powerful propaganda piece that diverted an entire nation's attention away from the rogue power of its own government--an atrocity that Timothy McVeigh attempted to avenge with yet another senseless tragedy in Oklahoma City. But that's another story.... "
William J. Moyle | 11/06/1999
(1 out of 5 stars)
"Sorry, anyone giving this tape five stars does not have possession of the facts. I know too much about what happen at Waco and can state this tape if misleading to false. The public deserves better."
"I saw this made-for-TV movie when it was first ran on TV back in the spring of 1993. Production values are pretty good. As I recall, it was aired less than two weeks after the FBI burned the church to the ground and then bulldozed the site to remove evidence of FBI crimes. As a result of this time-frame, the movie has a pro-government slant. It is forgivable, I suppose, since the only views getting out to the media at that time came through the filter of a BATF and FBI desperately trying to cover up. So, no one outside of the federal government knew that Alabama National Guard helicopters were flown into Texas (without the knowledge of the governors) and used to strafe the living quarters (2nd floor) of the women and children with automatic weapons. No one knew that the government likely fired first. No one knew that Koresh had invited the BATF to come in and inspect his firearms anytime (BATF declined). No one knew the BATF were stung by racial and sex discrimination lawsuits and risked having funding deleted by Congress, and so, planned to use Waco as a feather in their cap for the upcoming budget hearings. No one knew the search warrant was fraudulent and that the judge rubber stamped it. No one knew that the BATF lied about drugs at the compound so that they could qualify for special Army training and support. No one knew that the FBI "punished" the Branch Davidians for releasing children by increasing "psy-ops" activity, running over vehicles and fresh graves with Bradley tanks. No one knew that the FBI shot incendary devices into the plywood structure just before the fire started. And definately, no one knew that the feds were shooting into the building with automatic weapons as the fire raged and people screamed (FBI audio) to get out. And so on. The federal government committed many crimes during that 51 day seige. And thanks to a federal law designed to assist in the "drug war" by disallowing suits against federal agents "acting within their duty," they have not been brought to justice. If you want a better take on it, buy "Waco: The Rules of Engagement." Still, as bad as W:TROE makes the situation out to be, the reality is even worse. If you want information over-load, go over to the book section and order Kopel's heavily foot-noted "No More Wacos...". "W:TROE" and Kopel's book make a great pairing. The book, "Ashes of Waco" is another good source, I am told."
I saw it on T.V
William J. Moyle | Texas | 02/16/2007
(1 out of 5 stars)
"All this movie was was more propaganda to try and demonize David Koresh and the Branch Davidians and make our government look like the "good guys." The ATF wasn't the "good guys" in this situation. If you think they were, ask Robert Gonzalez. He himself was an ATF agent that was sent to infiltrate the group... He doesn't condone the raid or the way the raid was conducted. This movie could have been produced by the government itself and it couldn't have cast them in a better light. Complete an utter propaganda."