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The Tenth Level
Drama, Favorite

1976 | 4:3 | COLOR | Quality: OK - VHS copy with some occasional static. Only copy of this film known to exist.

William Shatner

Ossie Davis



$9.99

This may not be William Shatner's most famous role, but it is certainly one of his most important. This 1976 made-for-TV-movie was based on the real-life Stanley Milgram experiments and was broadcast only a few times on CBS before being shelved because it was considered too disturbing. However, despite the limited run and never being released on video, this movie is one of the most memorable of the CBS Television specials ever aired, because very few who saw it can ever forget it. If you love movies that really hit hard and make you think -even years later- then this is a film you should not miss.

Inspired by the Stanley Milgram obedience research, this TV movie chronicles a psychology professor's study to determine why ordinary people - such as WWII era Germans - are so willing to "just follow orders" and do horrible things to others. Professor Stephen Turner (Shatner) leads average individuals to believe that they are applying increasingly painful electric shocks to other subjects when they fail to perform a task correctly, and is alarmed to see how far the subjects can be convinced to go simply because they are told to do so. The film draws its title from the 10th level of shocks, a point at which the recipient would begin to protest and cry out in pain. This is a story that works on many deep psychological levels 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. They simply do not make quality thought-provoking television like this anymore. In my opinion, this film should be required viewing in any ethics class.

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