A documentary about the rise of psychoanalysis as a powerful means of persuasion for both governments and corporations.




1 nomination. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Documentary | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.9/10 X  

A series of three documentaries about the use of fear for political gain.

Stars: Gilles Kepel, Melvin Goodman, Stephen Holmes
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.8/10 X  

Individual freedom is the dream of our age. It's what our leaders promise to give us, it defines how we think of ourselves and... See full synopsis »

Stars: Robert Kavesh, Friedrich von Hayek, Philip Mirowski
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

A series of films about how humans have been colonized by the machines we have built. Although we don't realize it, the way we see everything in the world today is through the eyes of the computers.

Stars: Adam Curtis, Stewart Brand, Peder Anker
Bitter Lake (2015)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

An experimental documentary that explores Saudi Arabia's relationship with the U.S. and the role this has played in the war in Afghanistan.

Director: Adam Curtis
Stars: George Bush, George W. Bush, Joanne Herring
Documentary | History | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

The story of America's rise to power starting in 1959, it uses nothing but archive footage and Amercia pop music. Showing the consequences on the rest of the world and in peoples mind.

Director: Adam Curtis
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

Adam Curtis explains how, at a time of confusing and inexplicable world events, politicians and the people they represent have retreated in to a damaging over-simplified version of what is happening.

Director: Adam Curtis
Stars: Adam Curtis, Donald J. Trump, Vladimir Putin
The Mayfair Set (TV Series 1999)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  

The effects on Britains economic and political power brought by unscrupulous, reckless gamblers from the notorious gambling club in the 60s - the Clermont Club.

Stars: James Goldsmith, Tiny Rowland, Jim Slater
Pandora's Box (TV Mini-Series 1992)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  

The consequences of exploiting technological and political ideas without understanding and concern for the outcome.

Stars: George Ball, Roy Adkin, Abel G. Aganbegyan
The Living Dead (TV Mini-Series 1995)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

Investigating the way politicians erase, rewrite and interpret the past to their own interest.

Stars: Adam Curtis


Series cast summary:
 Narrator (2 episodes, 2002)
Ann Bernays ...
 Herself / ... (2 episodes, 2002)


A documentary about the rise of psychoanalysis as a powerful means of persuasion for both governments and corporations.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis





Official Sites:




Release Date:

17 March 2002 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Century of Self  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


(total run time)

Sound Mix:


See  »

Did You Know?


References Let There Be Light (1946) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

An incredible summary of 20th century business and propaganda
16 August 2014 | by See all my reviews

This movie is a description of the gradual shift of democracy and business to cater towards the flourishing sense of self expression and self gratification following the great war. Edward Bernays, the nephew of Sigmund Freud championed the idea that the mob, was a gathering of unconscious, irrational desires and if left to themselves would destroy themselves in chaos. He believed that you had to tell them what they wanted. Idiots he called the mob, and by combining different symbols ingrained within the subconscious desires of the individual (He linked woman's freedom rights, with the rights to smoke cigarettes, which were at that time, only socially acceptable for men). He combined these desired symbols with products to make society conform around these capitalist desires. He was the king of capitalist propaganda because of this genius to control the mob. The film then followed the rise of the hippy culture and the growing need for self expression. As Freud believed that deep in the unconscious were bad desires, waiting to come out and wreak havoc on the individual the hippy movement expressed the opposite belief that if you allowed self expression to come out, freedom would be attained and beauty would flourish. Marketers operating under Bernay's old paradigm had trouble marketing to this counter-culture and thus was born the focus group. THe focus group involved sitting a bunch of people down and allowing them to express their deepest desires about a product. Not based on logic but how it made them feel. In this way they shifted from manipulating about how you felt about a product to designing products based around the self expression of the people. But perhaps this wasn't the end of manipulating as they found that the individual wanted something to make them feel like an individual. In this spirit of self expression, everyone wanted to be unique, and capitalists seized this new self-expression. The underlying theme being that, when you want someone to choose something a certain way, you play to their emotions not their rational. Bernays still being right in this as politics learned this move in the 50's as well. They learned that they had to discover the individuals desires not their rational to cater towards. Individuals said they would like to pay tax for welfare but when it came to voting time, they acted out of their desires. In this way Bill Clinton would get footage of him doing the activities that swing voters would find themselves doing, as they must have found that people wanted a president who could relate to them. It wasn't the change in policy that had such an effect on votes, but a change in catering to the persons emotions.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: