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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


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7.4/10   7,190 votes »
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Up 19% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
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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:
Must see - for the sake of humanity 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 .... sound 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)
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
Kurt Enger .... location scout: re-enactment unit
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)
David Velasco .... location scout: re-enactment unit
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

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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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5 out of 5 people found the following review useful.
Must see - for the sake of humanity, 21 May 2013
Author: p-stepien from United Kingdom

A great and detailed recollection of the life of Nim Chimpsky, the famed chimpanzee, who was brought up amongst humans and taught sign language in order to assess the cognitive abilities of primates as well as to research into the evolution of man. Shown through the use of talking heads, vast archive footage and some very well made reenactments, "Project Nim" breathes life into the Nim in ways, which would be impossible to achieve through a normal narrative feature.

Ripped from his biological mother just weeks after birth (in the first tear-jerking scene, where the chimpanzee attempts to protect her infant from the inevitable separation), Nim initiates his life as a 'project'. The movie title rightly classifies him as such, as the animal's life is severely stigmatised by the fact, that almost no-one in his tragic life treated him as anything other than a objectified research tool, instead of what he really was: a complex, multi-layered animal with warmth, feelings and - also - layers of anger and resentment. Nim functions within the confines of human cruelty and lack of empathy, first stolen from his true mother, than abruptly taken away from his surrogate mother (when the 'experiment' is deemed to be going awry). This detachment from a loving environment brings him into hasty changes in relations between him and his human 'teachers' or caretakers. The project continues in a vast country villa, where Nim is cared for inasmuch as he serves his purpose as a subject of research: long hours spent in closed surroundings while being taught sign language and 'proper behaviour'.

When Nim's aggressive behaviours increase the project is terminated, thus again throwing Nim into a new home, this time with the company of chimpanzees and - thankfully - the only human being who can truly be called his friend: Bob Ingersoll. Despite various turns for the worse in Nim's life, Bob was the only human being never to leave him, saving him from a research facility and having his immense role in offering Nim the best possible conditions for living out the rest of his tragic life.

"Project Nim" attempts to detach itself from overly creating the narrative, instead letting the people involved in the experiment speak for themselves. And they do so with devastating effect - one by one presenting themselves in extremely negative light, especially prof. Herbert Terrace coming off as a terrible research-crazed individual lacking empathy to understand the extent of harm he caused on Nim. Despite the project's intention to bring up Nim as a human being, the chimpanzee is ripped away from two mothers, but never once is his aggressive behaviour attributed to his dysfunctional upbringing - with no mother, no caring family and a growing sense of abandonment. Non-surprisingly Bob Ingersoll, the only person to remain true towards Nim, was the sole interviewee never to complain about Nim's 'animal' side. Much as a small child who bashes out in mindless anger, there is always a reason behind such actions. However no-one from the research crew even thought about taking this into account, instead blaming it on the 'brute animal' hidden inside Nim.

Director James Marsh presents a heart-wrenching and damning insight into the concept of humanity, questioning whether the meaning of the words 'humane' and 'inhumane' are wrongly attributed and a reversal seems to be in order. Given the majority of people involved in Nim's life were destructive, inconsiderate and with the loyalty of a fly, it would seem more suited that Nim's only true friend Bob Ingersoll be called inhumane - the only person who did not act like a typical human being. Up yours humanity!

Required viewing for the betterment of our human nature. And hopefully for the betterment of the fate of animals world-wide. Should be required viewing in every school everywhere.

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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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