Synopsis: Experimenter is based on the true story of famed social psychologist Stanley Milgram, who in 1961 conducted a series of radical behavior experiments that tested ordinary humans' willingness to obey by using electric shock. We follow Milgram, from meeting his wife Sasha through his controversial experiments that sparked public outcry.
Director(s): Michael Almereyda
Production: Magnolia Pictures
  2 wins & 3 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
98 min


Hello. I'm Mr. Williams.

Thank you for coming.

Please. And you are?

- Fred Miller.

- You must be...?

Wallace. James Wallace.

Great. Please. Have a seat.

Now, before we do anything else,

allow me to pay you.

Please check that both names

are spelled correctly.

You understand that this is yours

simply for coming to the lab.

From now on, no matter what happens,

the money is yours.

I'll have to have you sign a receipt.

There you go.

Now, psychologists have developed

several theories on how humans learn.

Uh, for example, it might help

to reward a person.

Sometimes it helps to punish them.

We do know that punishment...

Thank you very much.

...is a powerful incentive

towards learning.

For example,

when a parent spanks a child.

However, in fact, we actually know

very little about

the effect of punishment on learning,

because almost no scientific studies

have been done of it on human beings.

Now, one of you will play

the role of learner,

who will receive a mild


if he answers incorrectly

to a series of questions.

That punishment will be

administered by a teacher.

What kind of punishment

are we talking about?

Well, first, let's determine

which of you

will be learner and which

will be teacher.

If you'll just choose one.



I guess I'm the learner, huh?


This is the machine for

generating electric shocks.

Go ahead.

Now, let's set up the learner

to receive some punishment.

If you'll just follow me

into the next room.

- Is it okay if I leave my hat here?

- Yes, that's fine.

Now, you might wanna

remove the jacket.

Go ahead and have a seat.

Now, when you push one of

these four buttons,

this box will signal

a light in the other room,

telling the teacher how you're

responding to the questions.

What kind of questions?

Multiple choice.

Word pairs. "Strong arm",

"black curtain", and so forth.

Now, we want you to memorize them.

The teacher will first read them

as word pairs,

"strong arm", for example,

then he'll read only the first word,

"strong", followed by

a series of word choices.

"Back, arm, branch, and push".

Your job is to remember

which of those words

was originally paired with

the first word, "strong".

- Arm.

- Right.

Now you would indicate that by

pushing one of these buttons here.

If you had thought it was the

first word I had read, "back",

you'd push this first button here.

If you thought it was

the second word, "arm",

you'd push the second button,

so on and so forth with

third and fourth word choices.

Now, if you get the answer incorrect,

you will receive an electric shock.

Would you please roll up

your right arm sleeve, please?

Would you just help me strap him

in to limit any excess movement?

How far do you think he'll go?

- Now this is connected...

- Too soon to tell.

...to the shock generator

in the next room.

- Electrode paste.

- And electrode paste,

to eliminate any excess burns

or blisters.

You know, I should say that

a couple of years ago,

in the West Haven VA Hospital,

they determined that I had

a slight heart condition.

Nothing serious, but how

dangerous are these shocks?

Well, although the shocks may be

extremely painful,

they cause

no permanent tissue damage.

Oh. Okay.

Well, we'll be communicating

from the next room.

The lab coat,

I decided to make it grey.

White would seem too medical.

- Okay.

- Thank you.

Now, if he gets the answer

incorrect, you administer

the shock by flipping one of

these switches here. You see?

Each switch has

a little red light above it.

Now, to give you, the teacher,

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Michael Almereyda

Michael Almereyda (born 1960) is an American film director, screenwriter, and film producer. His best known work is Hamlet (2000), starring Ethan Hawke. more…

All Michael Almereyda scripts | Michael Almereyda Scripts

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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    "Experimenter" Scripts.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 21 Jan. 2021. <https://www.scripts.com/script/experimenter_7869>.

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