Primates in TV and Film

Documentaries featuring primates in the wild and in captivity can be a valuable teaching resource. A web search of “primate documentaries” and also “streaming primate documentaries” reveals a wealth of current programs, series, databases and resources in this area.

In addition, “Motion Pictures Featuring Monkeys and Apes” is an archival resource of Primate Info Net shared here for historical and informational purposes.

With growing pressure from international sanctuary alliances, primatological societies and animal welfare organizations, fewer primates are being used in the TV and movie industry today. These organizations maintain that many primates kept as pets or used in the entertainment industry are no longer wanted or needed and end up in sanctuaries, which often struggle to financially support these animals.

We welcome your stories and links describing how you use documentaries and other films in teaching about primates.


Photo of Dorothy Fragaszy and her slide showing capuchin monkeys cracking nuts with rocks.
Dorothy Fragaszy talks about her work on nut cracking tool use in capuchin monkeys. Her research has been covered by Offspring Films, National Geographic On Assignment, BBC and others. (J. Lenon photo)

Primate Info Net (PIN) is maintained by the Wisconsin National Primate Research Center (WNPRC) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, with countless grants and contributions from others over time. PIN is an ever-growing community effort: if you’d like to contribute, or have questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.