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Project Nim
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Project Nim (2011) More at IMDbPro »

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Project Nim -- From the Oscar-winning team behind MAN ON WIRE comes the story of Nim, the chimpanzee who became the focus of a landmark 1970s experiment to show that an ape could learn to communicate with language if raised and nurtured like a human child. But as Nim's natural instincts take over and the humans around him fail to protect him.
Project Nim -- A documentary on a 1970s experiment that aimed to show that a chimpanzee, if raised and nurtured like a human child, could learn to communicate with language.
Project Nim -- Clip: Nim Moves To Stephanie's
Project Nim -- Clip: Life With Stephanie
Project Nim -- Clip: Herb Leaves


User Rating:
7.4/10   7,311 votes »
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Down 8% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
View company contact information for Project Nim on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
12 August 2011 (Ireland) See more »
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. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Nominated for BAFTA Film Award. Another 19 wins & 22 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
Fascinating but sad See more (30 total) »


  (in credits order)
Nim Chimpsky ... Himself (archive footage)
Stephanie LaFarge ... Herself
Herbert Terrace ... Himself
Wer LaFarge ... Himself (archive footage)
Jenny Lee ... Herself
Laura-Ann Petitto ... Herself
Bill Tynan ... Himself
Joyce Butler ... Herself
Renne Falitz ... Herself
Bob Ingersoll ... Himself
Alyce Moore ... Herself
James Mahoney ... Himself (as Dr. James Mahoney)
Henry Herrmann ... Himself
Cleveland Amory ... Himself (archive footage)
Marion Probst ... Herself
Chris Byrne ... Himself

Bern Cohen ... Dr. William Lemmon: re-enactment unit)
Reagan Leonard ... Stephanie LaFarge: re-enactment unit
Anna May Marsh ... Signing Girl: re-enactment unit
Mike Lepera ... Wer LaFarge: re-enactment unit (as Michael LePera)
Sarah Sakaan ... Renee Falitz: re-enactment unit
Dennis Lauricella ... Beefy Guy: re-enactment unit
Robert Nesi ... Beefy Guy: re-enactment unit (as Robert J. Nesi)
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

Scarlett Bermingham ... Laura-Ann Petitto: re-enactment unit

Bob Angelini ... Lab Tech (uncredited)

Directed by
James Marsh 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Elizabeth Hess  book "Nim Chimpsky: The Chimp Who Would Be Human"

Produced by
Prudence Arndt .... archive producer
John Battsek .... executive producer
George Chignell .... co-producer
Simon Chinn .... producer
Nick Fraser .... executive producer
Hugo Grumbar .... executive producer
Jamie Laurenson .... executive producer
Rosemary Lombard .... line producer: re-enactment unit
Andrew Ruhemann .... executive producer
Maureen A. Ryan .... co-producer
Original Music by
Dickon Hinchliffe 
Cinematography by
Michael Simmonds (director of photography)
Film Editing by
Jinx Godfrey 
Production Design by
Markus Kirschner 
Makeup Department
Vera Lee Stabell Stromsted .... hair stylist: re-enactment unit (as Vera Stromsted)
Vera Lee Stabell Stromsted .... makeup artist: re-enactment unit (as Vera Stromsted)
Production Management
Kate George .... post-production manager
Fiona Morham .... head of production: UK Film Council
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Scott Bowers .... second assistant director: re-enactment unit
Jamund Washington .... first assistant director: re-enactment unit
Art Department
Kinda Akash .... graphic designer
Thomas Carrera .... art department production assistant: re-enactment unit
Joe Chiofalo .... swing: re-enactment unit
Stephane Coedel .... additional graphic artist
Gonzalo Cordoba .... art director: re-enactment unit
Jeffery Dundas .... carpenter: re-enactment unit
Jack Falanga .... set decorator: re-enactment unit
Pauline Fowler .... sculptor: re-enactment uit
Mark Gebel .... leadman: re-enactment unit
Markus Kirschner .... production designer: re-enactment unit
Adam Merritt .... carpenter: re-enactment unit
Sarah Moessner .... art department production assistant: re-enactment unit
Sound Department
Nicholas Ashe .... foley editor
Nicholas Ashe .... sound re-recording assistant
Claire Ellis .... dialogue editor
George Foulgham .... re-recording mixer
George Foulgham .... sound supervisor
Lisa-Marie McStay .... sound effects editor (as Lisa McStay)
Peter Miler .... sound recordist: documentary unit
Steven Robinson .... sound recordist: documentary unit
James Shannon .... dolby sound consultant (uncredited)
Camera and Electrical Department
Gordon Arkenberg .... first assistant camera: re-enactment unit
Olivier Bernier .... grip: documentary unit
Dan Carling .... digital imaging technician: documentary unit
Patrick Cecilian .... additional digital imaging technician: re-enactment unit
Nicholas D'Agostino .... best boy electric: re-enactment unit
David Dilley .... still photographer: re-enactment unit
Alvah Holmes .... first assistant camera: re-enactment unit
Aric Jacobson .... dolly grip: re-enactment unit
Aric Jacobson .... key grip: re-enactment unit
Chan Jeon .... grip: documentary unit
Mark Koenig .... gaffer: documentary unit
Mark Koenig .... gaffer: re-enactment unit
Daniel Lam .... second assistant camera: re-enactment unit
Ryan Minelli .... best boy grip: re-enactment unit
Michael Mortel .... electrician: documentary unit
Robert Yutaka Omura .... second assistant camera: re-enactment unit
Matt Platts-Mills .... camera data supervisor: documentary unit
Darin Quan .... video playback: re-enactment unit
John Spicer .... best boy grip: re-enactment unit
Walter Strafford .... electrician: re-enactment unit
Chris Varga .... electrician: documentary unit
Casting Department
Adine Duron .... casting director: re-enactment unit
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Tamara Cepeda .... wardrobe assistant: re-enactment unit (as Tamara E. Cepeda)
Kim Madalinski .... wardrobe assistant: re-enactment unit
Kathryn Nixon .... costume designer: re-enactment unit
Editorial Department
Mike Andrews .... digital intermediate technician
Michelle Cort .... digital intermediate technician
Tim Drewett .... digital intermediate technician
Justin Eely .... digital intermediate editor
Matt James .... digital film supervisor
François Kamffer .... digital intermediate technician (as Francois Kamffer)
Mark Keady .... assistant editor
Steve Knight .... digital intermediate technician
Anne Monnehay .... assistant editor
Jana Novosad .... digital intermediate technician
Tom Purdy .... on set editor
Andy Richards .... operations manager
Shrihari Sathe .... assistant editor
Gareth Spensley .... senior colorist
Jamie Welsh .... digital intermediate technician
Jateen Patel .... digital intermediate technician (uncredited)
Katelin Westwood .... data transfer (uncredited)
Location Management
Kurt Enger .... location scout: re-enactment unit
David Velasco .... location scout: re-enactment unit
Music Department
Philip Bagenal .... music mixer
Philip Bagenal .... music recordist: drums
Rupert Coulson .... music recordist: orchestra
Liz Gallacher .... music supervisor
Dickon Hinchliffe .... arranger
Dickon Hinchliffe .... music producer
Al Macaulay .... musician: drums
Lisa-Marie McStay .... music editor (as Lisa McStay)
Sam Navel .... music mixer assistant
Richard Sidwell .... music preparation
Steve Sidwell .... conductor
Lucy Wilkins .... orchestra contractor
Lucy Wilkins .... orchestra leader
Transportation Department
Joe Chiofalo .... driver: re-enactment unit
Other crew
Kinda Akash .... title designer: Superfad
Geraldine Atlee .... senior business affairs executive: UK Film Council
Sayuj Banerjee .... legal services: US, SDD Global Solutions
William Berloni .... animal trainer
Jonathan Blair .... legal services: Michel Simkins
Natasha Boyd .... insurance broker: Media Insurance Brokers
Josh Braun .... distribution advisor: North America, Submarine Entertainment
Jessica Brown .... insurance broker: Ventura Insurance (as Jessica Brown)
Jessica Spring Brown .... insurance broker: Ventura Insurance (as Jessica Brown)
Len Brown .... consultant
Zoe Brown .... legal and business affairs: BBC Films
James Buckler .... delivery coordinator: BBC Films
Anthony Buckner .... head of sales: Icon
Serena Catapano .... production assistant: London
Moyra Chestnutt .... additional archive researcher
Chris Collins .... senior production executive: UK Film Council
Victoria S. Cook .... legal services: US, Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz
Tom Corcoran .... animal trainer: Comet, re-enactment unit
Laird Criner .... insurance broker: Film Emporium
Johnny Davenport .... production assistant: re-enactment unit
Anne Davin .... production accountant: 101 Film Production Accountants
David Dilley .... stills photography
Peter Elliott .... primate choreographer: re-enactment unit
Peter Elliott .... vocal and movment artist
Renne Falitz .... subtitles
Tina Foster .... pupperteer dresser: re-enactment unit
Nicholas Greene .... assistant to director: re-enactment unit
Andrew Hauser .... production intern: re-enactment unit
Jane Hawley .... production executive: BBC Films
Elizabeth Hess .... consultant
Vince Holden .... head of production finance: UK Film Council
Bob Ingersoll .... subtitles
Bassem Jabawi .... production assistant: re-enactment unit
Sarah Karas .... production assistant: re-enactment unit
Tom Kelly .... production assistant: re-enactment unit
Johanna Kovitz .... transcription services
Tobey List .... production assistant: re-enactment unit
Perry Mallas .... caterer: re-enactment unit
David Menkin .... archive voice-over
Omari Miller .... production assistant: re-enactment unit
Sara Neuffer .... key production assistant: re-enactment unit
Veronica Nickel .... craft services: re-enactment unit
Estelle Overs .... general counsel: Icon
Becky Phillips .... production assistant: re-enactment unit
Geoffrey Quan .... production coordinator: re-enactment unit
Sofia Santana .... production assistant: re-enactment unit
Adam J. Segal .... publicist
Tanya Seghatchian .... head of film fund: UK Film Council
Chloe Sizer .... head of development: Icon
Russell Smith .... legal services: US, Smith Dehn
Nicole Stott .... production executive: Passion Pictures
Jean-Marceau Sécheret .... production intern: re-enactment unit
Jodie Alexandra Taylor .... script supervisor: re-enactment unit
Jan Tomolin .... legal services: UK, Media Law Consultancy (as Jan Tomalin)
Debbie West .... animal trainer: Dusty, re-enactment unit
Nick Williams .... chief puppeteer: re-enactment unit
Will Yates .... researcher
Leonard Crooks .... head of new cinema fund: UK Film Council (uncredited)
Amanda Pyne .... production finance: UK Film Council (uncredited)
Joyce Butler .... special thanks (as Dr. Joyce Butler)
Bob Ingersoll .... special thanks
Stephanie LaFarge .... special thanks
Laura-Ann Petitto .... special thanks (as Dr. Laura-Ann Petitto)
Herbert Terrace .... special thanks (as Professor Herbert Terrace)
Bill Tynan .... special thanks

Production CompaniesDistributorsSpecial EffectsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
Rated PG-13 for some strong language, drug content, thematic elements and disturbing images
93 min | 100 min (DVD)
Sound Mix:
Filming Locations:

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22 out of 27 people found the following review useful.
Fascinating but sad, 13 August 2011
Author: robertsmith-132-302257 from Glasgow, Scotland

This is a very good and engaging film. I will not reiterate plot as this is available in the other fine reviews, but I have to say I found the documentary both heartening and deeply sad in equal measures.

Firstly, I do agree with the other reviewers comments on futility, I do not, however, agree entirely with Professor Terrace's view that the project was a failure, though conversely I do think the project failed Nim. To expand on this I would say that the conclusion of Terrace's failure seemed to fit a classic narrow set of parameters by which you compare and judge the outcome solely on an initial and highly specific expectation of what you will achieve. To this end perhaps it failed Professor Terrace's criteria.

I think however opportunities were certainly lost. Nim seemed to interact in so many subtle and fascinating ways during the process of his teaching, and he seemed to teach a great deal to all of the assistants who gave him their care. There seemed to be so little structure from the start with regards to what was to be taught and observed and in which direction the project should be going.

The only constant seemed to be the teaching of signing, at which Nim excelled! From what I could see, regardless of whether he learnt the actions to manipulate his handlers or not, he still learnt the signs. Since it was known that the chimp could not form human speech, how was it to communicate what it had learnt and why it was using the language in this way? I found this point frustrating and dubious and an example of one person with their eye so "firmly on the prize", that they miss the importance of the process.

Importantly, everybody who was involved across the duration of the project was given a chance to clearly state the turn of events. Perspectives on this varied widely, as you would expect, as everybody brought a different set of expectations and sensibilities, but it was a mature approach which I think led to the films balanced handling of Nim's story.

All in all I found it a fascinating cautionary tale. Luckily the balance of academic ego versus humanity that twists through this story left me with hope that indeed something had been learnt from the unique life of this Chimpanzee.

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The owners of a farm and Bob fantazja_16
Project Nim - A documentary on human behavior. scenemall
Nim's issues with females? boss_scorpius
Should be shown in schools huwdj
The rest of the story! notorious918
First Mother and Cleveland Guy/His Wife lucid768
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