Project Nim

Project Nim

James Marsh (2011)

12A Certificate


Our Score
This jaw-dropping documentary examines the real-life 1970s experiment to teach a chimpanzee, Nim, to communicate through sign language by raising and nurturing him like a human child, without ever considering what would happen when the cute baby grows into a physically strong and single-minded adult. Clashes between scientists and the family who initially take Nim into their home, not to mention a failure to properly catalogue the research, ultimately leaves the ape at the centre of a tug of love, with academics, animal rights campaigners and lawyers fighting over his well-being. Director James Marsh (an Oscar winner for Man on Wire) charts the heartbreaking and often incredible events without ever veering towards mawkish sentimentality. It's as much a story about human folly and arrogance as it is the traumatic journey of an animal being shunted from pillar to post in the name of science.


Documentary about a chimpanzee who formed the focus of an unusual experiment in the 1970s. The ape was raised as a child by a family in an attempt to disprove the accepted wisdom that only humans are capable of using language. But the study was placed in jeopardy as the animal became stronger and more aggressive when it grew to adulthood.

Cast & Crew

Stephanie LaFarge Stephanie LaFarge
Herb Terrace Herb Terrace
Jenny Lee Jenny Lee
Laura-Ann Petitto Laura-Ann Petitto
Bill Tynan Bill Tynan
Joyce Butler Joyce Butler
Renee Falitz Renee Falitz
Bob Ingersoll Bob Ingersoll
Director James Marsh
see more

Other Information

Language: EnglishColourTheatrical distributor: IconGuidance: Swearing and drug abuse.Available on: DVD and Blu-rayReleased on: 12 Aug 2011