Experimenter trailer: The Milgram authority experiment is brought to life by Peter Saarsgard and Winona Ryder (VIDEO).

The First Experimenter Trailer Brings the Controversial Milgram Experiment to Life

The First Experimenter Trailer Brings the Controversial Milgram Experiment to Life

Brow Beat has moved! You can find new stories here.
Brow Beat
Slate's Culture Blog
July 26 2015 2:26 PM

Peter Sarsgaard Tests the Limits of Authority in the First Experimenter Trailer

experimenter
Peter Sarsgaard as Stanley Milgram.

Still from YouTube

This is turning out to be a banner year for movies about controversial American psychological experiments. The haunting Stanford prison experiment movie hit screens this month, and we now have the first trailer for Experimenter, which details Stanley Milgram’s polarizing efforts in the ‘60s to establish the bounds of human obedience and authority.  

The Milgram experiment was devised in response to the 1961 trial of Adolf Eichmann, which prompted questions about whether Nazi officers were “following orders” or wholly culpable for their crimes. Milgram, a Yale psychologist, explored this issue by testing whether subjects would be willing to follow orders that had them electrocute strangers in the next room. There was no real electrocution taking place, but, astonishingly, a majority of subjects administered what they thought to be fatal shocks after some gentle prodding by Milgram. Peter Sarsgaard plays Milgram, the ever-brilliant Winona Ryder plays his wife Sasha, and Jim Gaffigan, Anton Yelchin, and Taryn Manning round out the cast. Experimenter is out in October.

Sharan Shetty is on the editorial staff of the New Yorker. You can follow him on Twitter