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Das Experiment
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The Experiment (2001) More at IMDbPro »Das Experiment (original title)

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Down 41% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Mario Giordano (novel)
Mario Giordano (screenplay) ...
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Release Date:
8 March 2001 (Germany) See more »
Bist du stark genug? See more »
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. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
14 wins & 13 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
Interesting, involving and exciting – made more interesting with revelations involving the US troops in Iraqi prisons See more (171 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Moritz Bleibtreu ... Tarek Fahd - Häftling Nr. 77 / Prisoner #77

Christian Berkel ... Robert Steinhoff Nr. 38

Oliver Stokowski ... Günther Schütte Nr. 82

Wotan Wilke Möhring ... Joe Maier Nr. 69
Stephan Szasz ... Häftling Nr. 53
Polat Dal ... Häftling Nr. 40

Danny Richter ... 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 ... Kamps - Strafvollzugsbeamter / Guard
Timo Dierkes ... Eckert - Strafvollzugsbeamter / Guard

Antoine Monot Jr. ... Bosch - Strafvollzugsbeamter / Guard

Lars Gärtner ... Renzel - Strafvollzugsbeamter / Guard
Jacek Klimontko ... Gläser - Strafvollzugsbeamter / Guard
Markus Klauk ... Stock - Strafvollzugsbeamter / Guard
Ralph Püttmann ... Amandy - Strafvollzugsbeamter / Guard

Edgar Selge ... Professor Dr. Klaus Thon - Wissenschaftler / Scientist

Andrea Sawatzki ... Dr. Jutta Grimm - Wissenschaftler / Scientist

Philipp Hochmair ... Die Wissenschaftler - Lars
Klaus Spinnler ... Assistent / Assistant
Tristan Vostry ... Assistent / Assistant
Maren Eggert ... Dora
André Jung ... Ziegler
Uwe Rohde ... Hans

Heiner Lauterbach ... Dennis (voice)

Fatih Akin ... Taxifahrer (voice)
Christiane Gerboth ... Nachrichtensprecherin (voice)

Directed by
Oliver Hirschbiegel 
Writing credits
Mario Giordano (novel "Black Box")

Mario Giordano (screenplay) &
Christoph Darnstädt (screenplay) &
Don Bohlinger (screenplay)

Produced by
Marc Conrad .... producer
Philip Evenkamp .... executive producer
Benjamin Herrmann .... co-producer
Ulrike Leibfried .... associate producer
Norbert Preuss .... producer
Friedrich Wildfeuer .... producer (as Fritz Wildfeuer)
Original Music by
Alexander Bubenheim  (as Alexander van Bubenheim)
Cinematography by
Rainer Klausmann 
Film Editing by
Hans Funck 
Casting by
An Dorthe Braker 
Production Design by
Andrea Kessler 
Art Direction by
Uli Hanisch 
Costume Design by
Claudia Bobsin 
Makeup Department
Mary May .... makeup artist
Sylvia Reusch .... makeup artist
Production Management
Stephan Bechem .... assistant unit manager
Alexander Dominitzki .... unit manager
Klaus Spinnler .... unit production manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Uli Hampeter .... second assistant director (as Ulrike Hampeter)
Isabel Kleefeld .... first assistant director
Art Department
Markus Baum .... carpenter
Uwe Belke .... carpenter
Uwe Brauer .... painter
Laura Engels .... art department intern
Stefan Isfort .... property master
Kai Koch .... assistant art director
Oliver Koch .... carpenter
Fee Kolb .... painter
Markus Krüll .... metalworker
Elmo Langenberg .... metalworker
Uli Langenberg .... construction coordinator
Lenny Lehmann .... carpenter
Daniel Peeck .... construction coordinator
Doriano Quintavalle .... carpenter
Thorsten Sabel .... set dresser
Katja Schlömer .... set dresser
Dieter Schmidt .... carpenter
Ricky Stecker .... props buyer
Christoph Steeger .... sketch artist
Jo Teh .... painter
Saskia Trixa .... prop intern
Dagmar Wessel .... stand-by props (uncredited)
Sound Department
Achim Böcking .... sound intern
Christof Ebhardt .... sound editor
Lisa Geffcken-Reinhard .... foley editor (as Lisa Geffcken)
Florian Gross .... sound production manager
Monika Gussner .... adr editor
Magda Habernickel .... supervising sound designer
Hans Hohenwarter .... technical director: sound
Frank Lehner .... boom operator
Peter Notz .... adr mixer
Jörn Poetzl .... foley artist (as Joern Poetzl)
Annette Prey .... sound editor
Max Rammler-Rogall .... re-recording mixer
Thomas Schwenke .... technical director: sound
Philipp Sellier .... foley mixer
Marcel Spisak .... sound editor
Wolfgang Wirtz .... production sound mixer
Special Effects by
Karl-Heinz Bochnig .... special effects technician
Visual Effects by
Thilo Gottschlich .... film recording
Lutz Lemke .... composite layouts
Marian Mavrovic .... digital compositor
Verena Pohlmann .... assistant datacine operator
Angela Reedwisch .... visual effects producer
Rainer Schmidt .... datacine operator
Jürgen Schopper .... visual effects supervisor
Christoph Steeger .... modeler
Steven Stueart .... scanning supervisor
Christian Zeh .... digital compositor
Ernst Reimann .... stunts
Randy Wittur .... stunts
Camera and Electrical Department
Thomas Balder .... second assistant camera
Stefan Biebl .... additional camera operator
Moritz Bleibtreu .... camera operator: special glasses camera
Holger Fleig .... additional assistant camera
Uwe Fuchs .... electrician
Udo Heinz .... electrician
Ingo Hilden .... grip
Wolfram Koch .... video technician: Cine 01
Peter Krammer .... gaffer
Bernd Mayer .... key grip
Ralf M. Mendle .... additional camera operator (as Ralf Mendle)
Axel Näther .... video technician: Cine 01
Jens Piotrowski .... first assistant camera
Roland Scheidt .... assistant electrician
Bernd Spauke .... still photographer
Dominik Stöcker .... additional assistant camera
Jürgen Tomadini .... electrician
Tom Trambow .... property photographer (uncredited)
Casting Department
Tanja Schwichtenberg .... extras casting
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Martina Jeddicke .... costumer
Ursula Münstermann .... assistant costume designer
Editorial Department
Sabine Allerdisse .... assistant editor
Katja Birklein .... assistant editor
Christa Garmeier .... negative cutter (as Christine Garmeier)
Nicholas Goodwin .... assistant editor
Traudl Nicholson .... color timer
Location Management
Frank Meter .... location scout
Music Department
Alexander Bubenheim .... orchestrator (as Alexander van Bubenheim)
Tommy Eberhardt .... musician: drums
Alexandre Frank .... music supervisor
Alex Klier .... musician: bass
Woepf Lechenmayr .... music editor
Woepf Lechenmayr .... music scoring mixer
Olaf Mierau .... music production supervisor
Georg Naschke .... music coordinator: Axxis Musik (as George Naschke)
Max Rammler-Rogall .... musician: trumpet
Max Schaefers .... assistant music engineer
Hanno Simons .... musician: cello
Günter Strebl .... music recordist
Transportation Department
Jochen Behle .... driver
Diana Schwieger .... driver
Marcel Winterscheid .... driver
Other crew
Regine Baschny .... unit publicist
Marika Dornbusch .... production accountant
Christl Druxeis .... production accountant: Fanes Film (as Christl Druxeis-Chawki)
Friederike Jacob .... unit publicist
Otto Kiefer .... legal and business affairs: Typhoon Film
Hermann Koenen .... caterer
Christina Kügelgen .... unit manager intern
Claudia Lehmann .... electronic press kit: Maz & Movie
Heike Manzke .... script supervisor
Michael Otto .... title designer: Blow Up Film
Bettina Plasdick .... assistant production accountant
Gottfried Reisecker .... consultant: film laboratory
Maria Sobecki-Grimm .... caterer
Jochem Strate .... legal advisor: Kanzlei Strate + Zauleck
Ariane Thiede .... production coordinator: Fanes Film
Ulrike Thiede .... production coordinator
Rolf Thissen .... unit publicist
Peter Vit .... projectionist
Tristan Vostry .... production intern
Oliver Wissmann .... production coordinator
Anke Zindler .... unit publicist
Norbert Maass .... sales manager: Senator International (uncredited)
Dirk Blothner .... thanks
Oliver Castendyk .... thanks
Helmut Dietl .... thanks
Stefan Gärtner .... thanks
Alfred Holighaus .... special thanks
Mechthild Holter .... thanks
Béla Jarzyk .... thanks (as Bela Jarzyk)
Sigrid Narjes .... thanks
Oliver Schütte .... thanks
Crew believed to be complete

Production CompaniesDistributorsSpecial EffectsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Das Experiment" - Germany (original title)
See more »
Rated R for strong violence, disturbing situations, language, sexuality and nudity
Canada:114 min (DVD) | South Korea:109 min (cut version) | Germany:120 min (uncut version)
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:

Did You Know?

Based on a true story, Professor Philip Zimbardo's "Stanford Prison Experiment".See more »
Continuity: After Prisoner No. 82 (Schütte) dies, he's being put in Tarek's bed by Tarek (77) and Steinhoff (38). When Professor Dr. Thon returns in the institute only the blanket is knocked over.See more »
[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 »
Movie Connections:
Version of The Experiment (2010)See more »
Wouldn't It Be NiceSee more »


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37 out of 44 people found the following review useful.
Interesting, involving and exciting – made more interesting with revelations involving the US troops in Iraqi prisons, 23 August 2004
Author: bob the moo from United Kingdom

Taxi driver and freelance journalist Tarek Fahd spots an advert in a newspaper for volunteers to take part in a psychological experiment over two weeks. He arrives along with a group of others, to be divided up into prisoners and guards before being placed into a simulated prison and provided with rules, Tarek being prisoner number 77. Initially everyone is enjoying themselves but soon the guards tire of the prisoners taking the p*ss and decide it is time to clamp down on their behaviour. As they realize that they have no limit on their powers, the actions of the guards become increasingly brutal and uncaring.

Based on the infamous experiments carried out at Stanford in the 1970's, this film had it all going for it in terms of being an effective thriller while also looking at the ways that human nature will gravitate towards the cruel once they are placed in positions of power. I decided to watch this film because it seemed interesting on this basis but also very topical considering the behaviour of the US soldiers in the Iraq prisons – mostly poor 'white trash' types who were corrupted when they suddenly found themselves in a position they had never been in before – control. Like them, the characters here gradually get more extreme – just like they did in the real experiment as well. With this topicality it is no surprise that I was easily taken in by the film and was never really bored by it. Being a thriller in its own right, the film has to settle into the eventual action conclusion but even this works pretty well and doesn't detract from what has gone before in terms of interest.

This is not to say it is perfect, because it could have been much better than it was. The constant cutting to Tarek's girlfriend now and in flashback only took away from the film and she could have still played her part at the end with much less time during the main body of the film. Also it became a little too far-fetched for the sake of drama – a recent television drama in the UK did it differently by actually recreating the same experiment as opposed to this film which needed to go harder and faster in order to reach the eventual running and fighting stage! But it still works and, to be honest, it is well worth seeking out for the 'human nature' aspect alone – it had a special resonance in Germany but it is hard not to be put in a thoughtful mood given recent events in Iraqi military prisons.

The cast are roundly good and all slip one way or the other in a convincing manner. Beibtreu is good once he gets past the stage where he is making trouble for the sake of it – this is necessary to speed the descent into cruelty but it was laid on a bit thick at the start. After this his performance is much more evenly balanced and he is a good lead. I struggled to pick up the names of all the others because they were mostly unknown to me but the head guard was very good while the rest of the cast did more than just deliver their pigeon-holed characters, where really they could have been nothing more than 'prisoner who goes crazy', 'timid guard', 'angry guard', 'silent prisoner' etc – they weren't, they were all pretty real people.

Overall this is not the best thing to come to if you are after a sort of documentary drama about the original experiment but it is still a very good film. It is exciting and dramatic while still having a bit of a brain on it – an asset made more interesting by what we have seen in Iraq over the past few months with guards becoming even worse than those we see in this film! Not a perfect film but a well made one that is interesting, involving and exciting and one that is well worth looking up.

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