Project Nim (2011)

PG-13  |   |  Documentary  |  12 August 2011 (UK)
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 7,044 users   Metascore: 83/100
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Tells the story of a chimpanzee taken from its mother at birth and raised like a human child by a family in a brownstone on the upper West Side in the 1970s.



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Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 14 wins & 25 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Nim Chimpsky ...
Himself (archive footage)
Stephanie LaFarge ...
Herbert Terrace ...
Wer LaFarge ...
Himself (archive footage)
Jenny Lee ...
Laura-Ann Petitto ...
Bill Tynan ...
Joyce Butler ...
Renne Falitz ...
Bob Ingersoll ...
Alyce Moore ...
James Mahoney ...
Himself (as Dr. James Mahoney)
Henry Herrmann ...
Cleveland Amory ...
Himself (archive footage)
Marion Probst ...


From the Oscar-winning team behind MAN ON WIRE comes the story of Nim, the chimpanzee who in the 1970s became the focus of a landmark experiment which aimed to show that an ape could learn to communicate with language if raised and nurtured like a human child. Following Nim's extraordinary journey through human society, and the enduring impact he makes on the people he meets along the way, the film is an unflinching and unsentimental biography of an animal we tried to make human. What we learn about his true nature - and indeed our own - is comic, revealing and profoundly unsettling. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some strong language, drug content, thematic elements and disturbing images | See all certifications »

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Release Date:

12 August 2011 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Le Projet Nim  »

Filming Locations:

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$25,820 (USA) (8 July 2011)


$410,077 (USA) (9 December 2011)

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User Reviews

Incredibly depressing
5 February 2014 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Ostensibly a documentary about the world's most famous chimpanzee, who was taught to communicate with humans via sign language during a university experiment of the 1970s, PROJECT NIM is in fact about human failings. It's another nature-themed documentary that, along with the likes of BLACKFISH and THE COVE, makes you despair for mankind.

The story starts out well, with the impossibly cute baby chimp brought up as a human. Soon, though, the behaviour of some of the "scientists" looking after Nim begins to grate; some of them are a little too involved with their subject, while others are plain creepy. Later, Nim suffers a huge betrayal, and at this point the documentary takes a downward turn into one of the most depressing ever.

Hardly a heartwarming story then, in that it focuses on misery and despair for the majority of the running time, but nevertheless an important story that serves to highlight man's inhumanity towards the world he inhabits.

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