The Princess Bride

The Princess Bride (1987)


Concept featured in film:Experimentation and Ethics

Location of clip: DVD: Chapter 17


Play Flickclip Here

Summary of clip: In the Pit of Despair, Count Rugen straps Westley to The Machine in order to gather information from his study on pain. He turns the machine to the first setting then asks Westley to share his experience.

Connection of flick to concept: This clip could be used to start a discussion about the ethics of using humans in scientific experimentation.

Suggestions to teachers:
1. Suggested questions for students when viewing the clip:

a. What is being tested? Is there a central question to the study?

b. Describe the experimental procedure being used. Would you classify this as a good scientific experiment? Why or why not?

c. Do real scientists ever use human subjects? Is it necessary? Is this ethical?

d. Are there any possible benefits to this study? Are potential benefits important when considering if a practice is ethical? Do the ends ever justify the means?

2. Have students research what laws exist to protect human research subjects. How did these laws comeabout and how have they changed over the years?