7.8/10
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172 user 110 critic

The Experiment (2001)

Das Experiment (original title)
For two weeks, 20 male participants are hired to play prisoners and guards in a prison. The "prisoners" have to follow seemingly mild rules, and the "guards" are told to retain order without using physical violence.

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(novel), (screenplay) | 2 more credits »

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14 wins & 13 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Günther Schütte Nr. 82
...
Joe Maier Nr. 69
Stephan Szasz ...
Häftling Nr. 53
Polat Dal ...
Häftling Nr. 40
...
Häftling Nr. 21
Ralf Müller ...
Häftling Nr. 15
Markus Rudolf ...
Häftling Nr. 74
Peter Fieseler ...
Häftling Nr. 11
Thorsten Dersch ...
Häftling Nr. 86 (as Thorsten J.H. Dersch)
Sven Grefer ...
Häftling Nr. 94
Justus von Dohnányi ...
Berus - Strafvollzugsbeamter / Guard (as Justus von Dohnànyi)
Nicki von Tempelhoff ...
Timo Dierkes ...
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Storyline

The movie is based on the infamous "Stanford Prison Experiment" conducted in 1971. A makeshift prison is set up in a research lab, complete with cells, bars and surveillance cameras. For two weeks 20 male participants are hired to play prisoners and guards. The 'prisoners' are locked up and have to follow seemingly mild rules, and the 'guards' are told simply to retain order without using physical violence. Everybody is free to quit at any time, thereby forfeiting payment. In the beginning the mood between both groups is insecure and rather emphatic. But soon quarrels arise and the wardens employ ever more drastic sanctions to confirm their authority. Written by <armin@sfb288.math.tu-berlin.de>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Bist du stark genug? See more »

Genres:

Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong violence, disturbing situations, language, sexuality and nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

8 March 2001 (Germany)  »

Also Known As:

The Experiment  »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$19,857, 22 September 2002, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$141,072, 27 October 2002
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

(DVD) | (cut) | (uncut)

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

(at around 15 mins) Oliver Stokowski (Schütte) is actually claustrophobic. In an early scene where the prisoners are crammed into the elevator, a hint of his genuine uneasiness is visible. See more »

Goofs

(at around 20 mins) Tarek took one of the prisoner's milk bottles with his left hand, then he's holding it in right hand. While giving back the milk bottle, it's in his left again. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Tarek Fahd, Häftling Nr. 77: [voiceover, reading newspaper ad] Test subjects wanted. Earn 4000 marks for a 14-day experiment in a simulated prison.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Does Your Soul Have a Cold? (2007) See more »

Soundtracks

Concerto For Flute
La Notte""
in G minor op 10/2 (Allegro)
(Antonio Vivaldi)
Mit freundlicher Genehmigung der KoKa Media GmbH
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User Reviews

Too true to life
5 June 2004 | by See all my reviews

I saw this film recently on the Sundance Channel. I could not stop watching. After seeing the prison pictures from Iraq, the film fully explored the reasons for the abuse of prisoners. When I read some of the reviews posted, I noticed how many dismissed the film as contrived and not plausible. I wonder if any of those reviewers would like to modify their dismissal of Das Experiment. Human behavior under stress often declines to the lowest common instinct. It reminded me of an adult Lord of the Flies. Degradation and humiliation seems to exactly follow what happened in Iraq. As a veteran who spent most of time working on Military Mental wards, I witnessed a number of abuses, as force had to be used patients were acting out or lost control, but all those memories seem pale compared to the horrors of the Iraq prison camps. Since life imitates art, this makes the film even more profound.


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