The Lobotomist

In the early decades of the 20th century, before the development of psychiatric medications, there were few effective treatments for mental illness. For most patients, the last stop in their anguished journey was an overcrowded state asylum. An ambitious young neurologist named Walter Freeman advocated for brain surgery to reduce the severity of psychotic symptoms. This film tells a gripping tale of medical intervention gone awry.

[text adapted from]


Written by Barack Goodman
Directed and Produced by Goodman and John Maggio
Edited by Maggio and R.A Fedde
Produced by WGBH for The American Experience