The Tenth Level (TV Movie 1976) Poster

(1976 TV Movie)

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9/10
wonderful drama--too bad it's not on video
MartinHafer13 July 2005
When reading my review, please consider my rating carefully. I saw it when I was a kid and it has not been on TV for many, many years AND it's not available on video. So, if I COULD see it again, maybe I would think less highly of it.

The reason I am rating it so high is that this film was very instrumental in influencing my career choices. As a psychology teacher, much of the time is spent discussing the moral implications of the famous Milgram Studies--on which this TV movie is based. It's too bad that such a moral dilemma is rarely discussed on television--TV too seldom is about moral decisions and choices.

If it every comes back on TV or video, get a copy FAST--it may be your only chance!

PS--NOTE that all the reviews as of 2/13/06 are VERY positive yet the movie has a score of only 5.0--this doesn't make sense. Please don't dismiss this film too quickly based on such a low score!

UPDATE (11/24/15)--The film IS currently available on YouTube. I haven't yet re-watched it but thought you might like to know.
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10/10
This is powerful stuff.
isleepnaked2 April 2001
I sat transfixed, even through the commercials (made for TV, I think), and it affected me on a deep emotional level. I loved it, but unfortunately, it must have been deemed too powerful, as I have never seen it aired again. I have not talked with anyone else who has seen it, other than the person who viewed it with me originally. I wish I could find a copy of it, as I would like to share it with others. I guess it is not available anywhere, and that is indeed a shame.
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9/10
UNBELIEVABLE! AND FANTASTIC!
spencerthetracy9 July 2001
I saw this movie when I was 13 years old. I have not seen it since, but to this day, the movie keeps me emotionally gripped whenever I think about it. It well demonstrates what man is capable of doing to another man if pressured enough. William Shatner is absolutely, devilishly brilliant as the menacing doctor. I would love to see this movie again, so if someone knows how I may obtain a copy I would be terribly grateful.
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8/10
Chilling, Disturbing, Mesmerizing
Scott_Mercer26 October 2005
Like the other commenters, I saw this as a child. I would have been 9 years old, but I still remember the shocking realization of the fact that this experiment reveals (depressingly) that most people are willing throw all their beliefs out the window and submit unquestioningly to authority.

It's not easy to stand up to entrenched authority, with the only thing on your side the knowledge that righteousness is with you. What I took away from the film at such a young age was that peer pressure can be evil and should not be followed blindly; what's right is right, and that's that.

I remember Shatner going over the top as usual, but somehow his assay of the evil doctor worked very well. Before the final twist was revealed, I was quite shocked that such a film would be shown; the main character of the film is ostensibly evil and making innocent people suffer for no good reason and is a sadist. I believe this was shot on video in a television studio; in spite of that extra added element of unreality, this production still effected me greatly.

Highly recommended. If anyone reading this controls the rights to it, PLEASE RELEASE IT! You will sell many copies.
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9/10
Riveting, even 30 years later
Jonathan Riggs15 March 2007
I was fortunate enough to receive a copy of The Tenth Level recently. I've watched it three times since then and it continues to chill my blood each time. Others I have shared this gem with have felt the same way. This is a story that works on many deep psychological levels, and sends a clear message which manages to transcend both time and the dated production values. This is truly a case where effective story-telling conquers all, and causes the viewer to forget they are watching something made on a shoestring budget 30 years ago. The story is cleverly woven in such a way that the viewer is compelled to put themselves in the place of the test subjects and left to wonder what choices they themselves would make. The real life statistics which are finally presented are absolutely frightening. If you ever have a chance to see this chilling glimpse into the human psyche, you MUST take advantage! You won't regret it.
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Intense and memorable
LAMizell5 February 2002
Warning: Spoilers
I saw this movie as a preteen, and like the other reviewers, I've never been able to forget its impact. It's loosely based on Stanley Milgram's "Yale Experiment" testing obedience to authority. Students were asked to administer shocks to an (unseen?) subject; it's not a spoiler to say they continue to increase the strength of the shocks just because they're told to, although they can hear the escalating screams of the "subject." The movie chronicles the surprise of the scientists running the experiment when some 65 percent of the students went to "the tenth level," and the lasting effect on the those who took part. That such a little-seen movie made such an impression proves it deserves a shot on DVD, perhaps coupled with a documentary on Milgram, who, by the way, is also the scientist behind the "six degrees of separation" theory.
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A must-see for psych and political science classes!
randydonna22 July 2001
I saw this movie as a teen, and have been looking for it ever since. Something about it stuck with me, and I wanted to see it again.

I've since stumbled across a reference to it in a pamphlet written by Chuck Colson. That article stated that the film "was a powerful testimony about man's inability to safeguard human rights."

The 10th Level is intense and moving, because it displays, via a real life incident that reveals how very malleable people can be.

I think it should be shown in every High school Political science and psychology class in the country.

If ANYONE knows how I could obtain even a "taped off TV" copy, please let me know!
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8/10
30 years, still waiting
SteveAT7 September 2006
This is Shatner's most important and probably least-known vehicle. I wish I could remember more about his performance, but it really doesn't matter compared to the issues raised by the experiment depicted here. Laurence Olivier would have disappeared behind this story.

Milgram's experiment involved convincing a subject that he or she was testing another subject (who was actually not, but was performing out of sight, and could obviously be heard) by supplying info and then asking questions. A wrong answer from the hidden subject required the real subject to administer a shock, and each successive wrong response got a higher-voltage shock, up to "The Tenth Level", which was lethal.

Somehow, even more shocking were the results of the tests, which were done all around the world and are revealed at the end of the show.

Somebody tell Shatner to get this put on a DVD (or do a remake!) because it is that important. I have never forgotten it, and sincerely doubt that anyone else who saw it forgot it, either.
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10/10
The Tenth Level Chilling to the Core
xenakiddle27 July 2008
I have been waiting to see The Tenth Level starring William Shatner again,myself. I have never been able to find it even though I have searched for it from time to time, although not for a few years now. This drama made an indelible mark on my psyche and I have never gotten it out of my mind since first seeing it when it originally aired back in the seventies. It was chilling to the core! I watched it alone and I recall it being in black and white though it's possible we only had a black and white set at the time. If someone has a copy of The Tenth Level for sale or rent, please advise on how I might be able to acquire a copy from you! I am glad to find others that also were struck by the brilliance of this production and that I am not the only one looking for it. Thank you very much. Victoria Perkins Crystal Lake, Illinois
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Very interesting
GUENOT PHILIPPE23 October 2016
Of course this movie is astounding if you watch it closely. And I could not prevent myself to think of Henri Verneuil's I COMME ICARE sequence which has so much in common with this film subject. This TV feature focuses only on the experiment and its whereabouts, and of course Bill Shatner's character, who is terrific as an obsessed professor so involved in his task, his life purpose. The Verneuil's film only spoke about it, but it was mainly about many things else, political matters, more complex actually. I would say not more ambitious, because this one is, but yes more vast and complex. It may have been shot in video technicals and it has never been shown, aired in France, too complex for home audiences, housewives... So shame.
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Wish there were more movies in this genre
ssbng19 October 2007
This made-for-TV movie is taken directly from the work of Dr. Stanley Milgram. Although much of Milgram's scientific methods are omitted in favor of dramatic content, the central point of the experiment remains true and very poignant. There is supposed to be a remake of this film which came out in 2005. I haven't seen it and the title eludes me (something like Atrocity?). However, like the subject matter of "The Tenth Level", there are many eye-popping discoveries in psychology which movies could exploit to lay naked the flaws and fallacies of human nature without Hollywood's melodrama making the case inane and useless to a public desperately in need of modern morality tales. The most wonderful thing about "The Tenth Level" was that it sought a higher ground instead of the formulaic boy-meets-girl, boy-saves-world, boy-gets-girl garbage. If there is any way you can see this film, it is well worth watching even if all you wish to see is what William Shatner did between Star Trek and T. J. Hooker.
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8/10
This film left an impression on me years ago
Rita29 November 2009
Warning: Spoilers
I have mentioned this title many times over the years when a discussion arose about ethics or self knowledge. At this point, I don't remember many details about the characters, but I do remember being disturbed by the questions this film provoked in me. I took a little closer look at myself after seeing it.

I want to see it again as someone with much more life experience to see if it still holds up in the same way. I was pleasantly surprised to find the title via Google.

This film helped me to understand that life was full of gray areas. Good and evil were not so easily sorted out. Not knowing how I might have behaved as one of the subjects of the experiment has been a lingering reminder to me to examine matters more closely and with more humility.
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9/10
Shatner and John Travolta
stompy24 December 2008
I've worked with Bill and ironically he doesn't remember much about the film. It was also John Travolta's screen debut even though Shatner's "The Devil's Rain" is usually mentioned as his first theatrical movie.

When I took psychology in college I remember reading about all of Milgram's experiments and then remembered the Shatner movie from my childhood.

The Milgram Society does show this on 16mm at their annual events but I've never been able to attend.

I do have a copy of the film after searching for many years. Feel free to email me at stompy@chaseclub.com
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10/10
Free this puppy
paul-helderle1 April 2008
I copied this review from above because it mirrored my experience and yes I would love a copy of this.

I saw this movie when I was 13 years old. I have not seen it since, but to this day, the movie keeps me emotionally gripped whenever I think about it. It well demonstrates what man is capable of doing to another man if pressured enough. William Shatner is absolutely, devilishly brilliant as the menacing doctor. I would love to see this movie again, so if someone knows how I may obtain a copy I would be terribly grateful *** Sadly no one I knows ever saw this show. It resonates with me 28 years later.
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1/10
Sorry to contradict
gobeyondz17 May 2006
I hate to break it to all of you who saw this movie the ONE time it was aired in 1975, but the reason it was NEVER aired again is because it was HORRIBLE. My psychology teacher owned a VCR or whatever its equivalent was back then and taped it to show to his psych students. We watched it just today and I have to say, it is possibly the worst movie of all time. The acting is terrible; very melodramatic. The camera work is wobbly and shows no imagination. The scenes are long and uninteresting. The soundtrack adds nothing to the movie. Worst of all its not even an accurate portrayal of the experiment that is supposedly based upon. The best thing that can be said about this film is that is John Travolta's first movie role┬ľAND HE"S NOT IN THE CREDITS. There you have it.
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