Distributor:  Bullfrog Films
Length:  87 minutes
Date:  2013
Genre:  Expository
Language:  English
Grade level: 9-12, College, Adults
Color/BW:  Color
Closed captioning available
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Psychology and the New Heroism

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Philip Zimbardo and Daniel Ellsberg discuss why some people are willing to take courageous nonviolent action in defense of ethical principles.

Psychology and the New Heroism

Philip Zimbardo is professor emeritus of psychology at Stanford University and creator of the renowned Stanford Prison Experiment. Daniel Ellsberg served in the Pentagon under Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara and is best known as the whistleblower who released documents known as the Pentagon Papers to the public which detailed the secrets and lies that shaped three decades of American foreign policy in Vietnam.

These two icons of progressive thought in America met for the first time to discuss a salient question for our times: Why are some people willing to take courageous nonviolent action in defense of ethical principles, even at personal risk to themselves?

This video captures their conversation and calls for a new era of truth-telling by citizens privy to crucial and often classified information that the public deserves to know. They call for a new ethic of accountability by those leaders who govern the United States, its judiciary and its military. They challenge ordinary people to take calculated risks in the service of their conscience and their fellow citizens.

This defines the New Heroism.

'Psychology and the New Heroism is an engrossing film, touching on a subject that is rarely assessed: heroism. I found the insights of Daniel Ellsberg and Philip Zimbardo penetrating. Bill Roller is to be congratulated for having the vision to put them together. In a time when personal courage is more necessary than ever before, this film comes at exactly the right moment.' Robert W. McChesney, Professor of Communications, University of Illinois, co-founder of FREE PRESS, co-author of Dollarocracy: How the Money-and-Media Election Complex is Destroying America

'I was quite impressed. This video will be very useful for students and the general public...Zimbardo and Ellsberg gave a contribution to science and general society. They are both activists and made a difference. Zimbardo to the Psychology of Evil and Ellsberg to the lies and deceptions of our leaders during the Vietnam War. That kind of information needs to be talked about again and again.' Dr. Samuel P. Oliner, Professor Emeritus of Sociology, Humboldt State University, Founder and Director, The Altruistic Personality and Prosocial Behavior Institute, Author, Altruism, Intergroup Apology, Forgiveness and Reconciliation

'We all admire heroes, but what compels certain individuals to risk all for what is right and good? In this fascinating conversation between a true hero and a brilliant psychologist who's dedicated to promoting ordinary heroism, we are offered insight and thought-provoking perspectives on what might compel each of us to embrace the hero within and reject the influences which would have us act against our true values and beliefs.' Zoe Weil, President, Institute for Humane Education, author, Most Good, Least Harm: The Simple Principle for a Better World and a Meaningful Life and Above All, Be Kind: Raising a Humane Child in Challenging Times

'Ellsberg and Zimbardo eloquently make a compelling case for the need for new heroes and the importance of understanding how we can create a societal atmosphere that allows them to emerge...Psychology and the New Heroism is a transfixing DVD...An excellent pedagogical tool for a variety of undergraduate and graduate classes in group psychology, social psychology, and organizational psychology.' Virginia Brabender, Widener University, International Journal of Group Psychotherapy

'Daniel Ellsberg, once again, speaks truth to power, this time in dialogue with Philip Zimbardo. Their conversation recasts citizen engagement in a new light, and their call for a new ethic of accountability is especially timely as a new generation of whistleblowers attempts to redress what they see as a lack of transparency and a compromised privacy in the post-9/11 world.' Carl Maida, anthropologist and professor, University of California - Los Angeles

'One of the finest films I've seen...about a man who in 1971 changes his own life and took on the U.S. government at the ultimate cost to his career.' Oliver Stone, filmmaker

'A deep, philosophical and psychological discussion...Psychology and the New Heroism challenges viewers to listen to their conscience above all, for the sakes of their fellow citizens.' The Midwest Book Review


Main credits

Roller, Bill (Interviewer)
Roller, Bill (Director)
Soller, Julie (Producer)
Zimbardo, Philip G (Interviewee)
Ellsberg, Daniel (Interviewee)

Other credits

Videographer, Stuart Sweetow; music, Mark Taylor.

Distributor credits

Julie Soller

Julie Soller
Bill Roller
Videographer: Stuart Sweetow
Guitarist: Mark Taylor
A Production of the Berkeley Group Education Foundation

Docuseek2 subjects

Social Psychology
Psychology and Mental Health
Citizenship, Social Movements and Activism
Journalism and the Press
Law and Legal Studies
American Studies

Distributor subjects

American Democracy
American Studies
Citizenship and Civics
Civil Disobedience
Social Justice
Social Psychology


Philip Zimbardo, Daniel Ellsberg, non-violence, eithical principles, Stanford Prison Experiment, Robert McNamara, Pentagon, Pentagon Papers, American foreign policy, Vietnam, My Lai, classified information, ethic of accountability, civil disobedience, new heroism, psychology, Bradley Manning, whistleblowers, Lt. William Calley, Ernest Medina, Ron Ridenhour, Hugh Thompson, John Kyriakou, nonviolent resistance, Christina Maslach, Patricia Ellsberg, Herman Kahn, Colin Powell, William Fulbright, Seymour Hersh, Michael Bernhardt, draft resistance; "Psychology and the New Heroism"; Bullfrog Films

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