Project Nim (2011)

PG-13  |   |  Documentary  |  12 August 2011 (UK)
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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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Official Sites:




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)

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


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Sound Mix:


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Referenced in Film 2015: Episode dated 17 December 2014 (2014) See more »

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User Reviews

fascinating insightful
23 September 2013 | by See all my reviews

This James Marsh (Man on Wire) documentary examines the life of Nim Chimpsky who was raised in 70s as an experiment to show chimps can think like man. They taught him to sign, and raised him as a child with a human family. At first, it's hailed as a success. But he soon became too powerful to handle and more and more he is institutionalized. The professor finally ends the experiment sending Nim to a medical research facility. The film interviews all those people who interacted with Nim.

Sure it has a fascinating subject in the chimp Nim, but the more fascinating subjects are the humans who inhabit his life. From the professor who never saw Nim as any more than a subject. To the family who yearn to reconnect with him. And finally people who would rescue him from isolation. The camera really turns away from the animal back to all of us as a species.

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