7.8/10
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172 user 110 critic

The Experiment (2001)

Das Experiment (original title)
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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 »
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:

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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

Although no one died in the Stanford Prison Experiment on which the movie was based, the experiment was prematurely ended after six days out of a planned two weeks. The college students assigned (randomly) to be prisoners were "withdrawing and behaving in pathological ways" as a result of the degrading treatment they received. Quite a few scenes in the movie actually happened in the original experiment, including the early fire extinguisher scene and the prisoners being forced to clean the toilets by their bare hands. See more »

Goofs

As the prisoners escape, they lock the door to the cell block and break off the key, forcing the guards to go another way. However when Doctor Thon returns the door is wide open. 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.
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Connections

Featured in Visionado obligado: El experimento (2012) See more »

Soundtracks

Are You Lonesome Tonight
Lou Handman / Roy Turk
(C) by Redwood Music Ltd. / Carlin Music Corp.
Mit freundlicher Genehmigung der
Greenhorn Musikverlag GmbH & Co. Munchen
(i.Hs.Warner / Chappell Music GmbH Germany)
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User Reviews

 
A lesson for all humans
1 October 2005 | by See all my reviews

Without fancy tricks and clichés, this movie tells us why riots occurs, why hatred spreads, and how to solve it.

In the beginning of this movie, the main character (prisoner no.77), an ex-journalist who hopes to take his job back, participates in a experiment in a mock prison for 2 weeks in order to record down this story, and publish it on the newspaper. Furthermore, he taunts and insults mock prison guards who are also the participants in this experiment so that he can make this story more interesting. However, things become worse and worse...

I am really surprised that this movie doesn't either glorify main characters, nor malign bad guys. Everyone has their characteristics, and their interaction is cruel but practical. We can see how the whole thing becomes worse. Don't stereotype this German story as a reflection of Nazism, because this movie is a warning for every culture which the power is overused. I am really glad that German dares to make this movie without too much clichés and fancy tricks. If you are tired of clichés in Hollywood films, this is a great movie for you.


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