Stanley Milgram, the 70s TV drama

The website for ‘The Man Who Shocked the World’, a biography of Stanley Milgram, is a goldmine of information about the psychologist who became famous for his obedience experiments. The little known facts section has an interesting snippet about a 70s TV drama based on the experiments which starred William Shatner as the Milgram character.

In August, 1976, CBS presented a prime-time dramatization of the obedience experiments and the events surrounding them, titled “The Tenth Level.” William Shatner had the starring role as Stephen Hunter, the Milgram-like scientist. Milgram served as a consultant for the film. While it contains a lot of fictional elements, it powerfully conveyed enough of the essence of the true story for its writer, George Bellak, to receive Honorable Mention in the American Psychological Association’s media awards for 1977.

It turns out that The Tenth Level is available in full on YouTube. The first part is here and you can click through to the other parts.

The combination of some of the most notorious experiments in the history of psychology, Big Bill Shatner, cheap production and hammy acting make for a heady mix, although it doesn’t particularly overdo the psychology.

I’ve not read ‘The Man Who Shocked the World’ although it is, by all accounts, excellent. The website, at least, is a fantastic resource in itself and well worth a visit.

Link to ‘The Man Who Shocked the World’ website.
Link to first part of ‘The Tenth Level’.

One thought on “Stanley Milgram, the 70s TV drama”

  1. I studied with Milgram and did see this film and asked him ab out it. Milgram wasn’t too happy with it and wouldn’t let his name be associated with it. It misrepresents several crucial aspects of the experiment. NO ONE ever went berserk in the real experiment and Milgram never regretted what he had done as the Shatner character does. Blass,who runs the Milgram site, was too kind.

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