IMDb > Standard Operating Procedure (2008)
Standard Operating Procedure
Top Links
trailers and videosfull cast and crewtriviaofficial sitesmemorable quotes
main detailscombined detailsfull cast and crewcompany credits
Awards & Reviews
user reviewsexternal reviewsawardsuser ratingsparents guidemessage board
Plot & Quotes
plot summarysynopsisplot keywordsmemorable quotes
Did You Know?
triviagoofssoundtrack listingcrazy creditsalternate versionsmovie connectionsFAQ
Other Info
box office/businessrelease datesfilming locationstechnical specsliterature listingsNewsDesk
taglines trailers and videos posters photo gallery
External Links
showtimesofficial sitesmiscellaneousphotographssound clipsvideo clips

Standard Operating Procedure (2008) More at IMDbPro »

Photos (See all 35 | slideshow) Videos (see all 2)
Standard Operating Procedure -- Errol Morris examines the incidents of abuse and torture of suspected terrorists at the hands of U.S. forces at the Abu Ghraib prison.
Standard Operating Procedure -- This is the theatrical trailer for Standard Operating Procedure, directed by Errol Morris.


User Rating:
7.5/10   3,184 votes »
Your Rating:
Saving vote...
Deleting vote...
/10   (delete | history)
Sorry, there was a problem
MOVIEmeter: ?
Down 36% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
View company contact information for Standard Operating Procedure on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
29 May 2008 (Germany) See more »
The War on Terror will be photographed See more »
Errol Morris examines the incidents of abuse and torture of suspected terrorists at the hands of U.S. forces at the Abu Ghraib prison. | Full synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
3 wins & 17 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
Too narrow a focus See more (22 total) »


  (in credits order)
Megan Ambuhl Graner ... Herself
Javal Davis ... Himself
Ken Davis ... Himself
Anthony Diaz ... Himself - Former MP
Tim Dugan ... Himself
Lynndie England ... Herself

Jeffrey Frost ... Himself - Former MP
Sabrina Harman ... Herself
Janis Karpinski ... Herself
Roman Krol ... Himself
Brent Pack ... Himself
Jeremy Sivits ... Himself
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Christopher Bradley ... Military Police (as Chris Bradley)
Sarah Denning ... Military Police
Robin Dill ... OGA

Joshua Feinman ... Military Police (as Josh Feinman)
Jeff L. Green ... Military Police (as Jeff Green)
Roy Halo ... Detainee
Cyrus King ... Military Intelligence
Alim Kouliev ... OGA / Interrogator

Mike McCann ... OGA / Interrogator
Daniel Novy ... Military Police
Zhubin Rahbar ... Detainee

Shaun Russell ... Military Police
Kami Shahab ... Detainee
Charity Sills ... Military Intelligence
Leighton Strout ... Detainee

Robert Dill ... Translator (uncredited)

Merry Grissom ... Interrogator (uncredited)
Combiz Shams ... Iraqi Detainee (uncredited)

Directed by
Errol Morris 
Produced by
Julie Ahlberg .... producer (as Julie Bilson Ahlberg)
Amanda Branson Gill .... co-producer
Robert Fernandez .... executive producer
Martin Levin .... executive producer
Errol Morris .... producer
Ann Petrone .... co-producer
Julia Sheehan .... executive producer
Jeff Skoll .... executive producer
Diane Weyermann .... executive producer
Original Music by
Danny Elfman 
Cinematography by
Robert Chappell (director of photography)
Robert Richardson (director of photography)
Film Editing by
Andy Grieve 
Steven Hathaway 
Dan Mooney  (as Daniel Mooney)
Production Design by
Steve Hardie 
Set Decoration by
John M. Kelly 
Costume Design by
Marina Draghici 
Makeup Department
Brad Look .... key makeup artist
Donyale McRae .... makeup artist
Production Management
Julie Ahlberg .... unit production manager (as Julie Bilson Ahlberg)
Ron Ames .... post-production supervisor
Laura Burnell .... production supervisor (as Laura Anderson)
Mark Lipson .... post-production supervisor
Brody McHugh .... additional production supervisor
Dina Marie Piscatelli .... additional production supervisor
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Shea Vargé .... second assistant director (as Shea Varge)
Julian Wall .... first assistant director
Art Department
Christopher Branan .... carpenter
Jon Gold .... property master
Larry Morgan .... carpenter
Miles S. Richman .... lead painter
Daniel Turk .... construction coordinator
Sound Department
Jeremy Bowker .... sound editor
Dustin Cawood .... assistant sound designer
Lee Dichter .... sound re-recording mixer
G. John Garrett .... sound mixer
Pete Horner .... sound effects editor
Pete Horner .... sound re-recording mixer
Marc Mann .... midi transcriptions
Darren McKenzie .... midi transcriptions
John Nutt .... supervising sound editor
Randy Thom .... sound designer
Dror Gescheit .... sound re-recordist (uncredited)
Visual Effects by
Ron Ames .... visual effects producer
Danny Braet .... visual effects
Kyle Cooper .... designer
Adam Gerstel .... visual effects editor
Jesse Klein Seret .... assistant visual effects editor (as Jesse Klein)
Stephen Lawes .... compositor
Robert Legato .... visual effects supervisor
Luke McDonald .... visual effects
Nathaniel Park .... visual effects editor
Chris Paxson .... motion control technician
Richard Wardlow .... visual effects
Gary Mau .... effects animator (uncredited)
William De Vital .... stunt rigger (as William Devital)
Camera and Electrical Department
Todd Avery .... second assistant camera
Eric Boyle .... key grip
Mark J. Casey .... electrician
Joe Christofori .... first assistant camera
Scott D. Davis .... gaffer
Tim Driscoll .... key grip
Joe Duarte .... grip
Dan Hutchinson .... electrician
John R. Kaplan .... grip
Abby Levine .... digital imaging technician
Rob McCarthy .... gaffer
Steven Romeo .... digital utility
Travis Trudell .... set electric
John Vecchio .... gaffer
Casting Department
Claire Benjamin .... extras casting
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Carrie Dacre .... set costumer
Roseann Milano .... wardrobe supervisor
Editorial Department
Christine Carr .... digital intermediate producer
Salvatore Catanzaro .... on-line editor
Brad Fuller .... co-editor
David Ian Salter .... co-editor (as David Salter)
Karen Schmeer .... co-editor
Jim Passon .... color timer (uncredited)
Jorge Tanaka .... digital intermediate assistant (uncredited)
Music Department
Pete Anthony .... conductor
Michael Atwell .... digital score recordist
Steve Bartek .... orchestrator
Marc Mann .... midi transcriptions
Darren McKenzie .... midi transcriptions
Tim Rodier .... music preparation
Shie Rozow .... music editor
Dennis S. Sands .... music scoring mixer
Edgardo Simone .... orchestrator
Gina Zimmitti .... music contractor
Other crew
Unjoo Lee Byars .... title producer: Main/End Titles, Graphics
Maggie Causey .... script supervisor
Kyle Cooper .... title sequence: designer
Erin Henning .... production assistant
Raymond Hernandez .... production assistant
Daniel Izui .... production assistant
Chris Kasick .... post consultant
Zach Lazar .... stage manager
Lindy Lucas .... production secretary
Mike Mollica .... production assistant
TeNeil Moore .... production coordinator
Sean Robert O'Keefe .... production assistant
Daniel Polsby .... assistant to director
Allan Rafael .... set production assistant
Derek Rimelspach .... production assistant
Ellen Stafford .... producer: main/end titles
George Whitman .... key set production assistant
Sven Zuege .... title designer: end titles, Prologue Films
Seth Kleinberg .... technical producer: main and end titles and visual effects (uncredited)

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
Rated R for disturbing images and content involving torture and graphic nudity, and for language
116 min | Germany:118 min (Berlin International Film Festival)
Aspect Ratio:
2.35 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Argentina:13 | Australia:MA | Canada:18A (British Columbia/Ontario) | Canada:13+ (Quebec) | France:U (with warning) | Germany:18 | Mexico:C | Netherlands:16 | New Zealand:R16 | Singapore:M18 | UK:15 | USA:R

Did You Know?

First documentary ever to be nominated for the Silver Bear at the Berlin Film Festival (2008).See more »
Movie Connections:


This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
45 out of 76 people found the following review useful.
Too narrow a focus, 16 April 2008
Author: Chris Knipp from Berkeley, California

The well-known documentary filmmaker Errol Morris, who received an Oscar for his 2003 study of Robert McNamara and Vietnam 'The Fog of War,' has put the Abu Ghraib scandal under a microscope, but the result is too limited a picture of events.

Morris' film describes and shows the humiliations, the nude prisoners cuffed in stress positions or forced to masturbate or pile on top of each other with bags or women's underpants on their heads; the man they called "Gilligan" in the fringed blanket with the conical hat standing on a box with fake electrical wiring to his fingers; the howling dogs terrifying a squatting naked man and biting another's leg; the corpse of a man beaten to death packed in bags of ice.

The images, both stills and some fragments of videotapes, have a dramatic and quickly sickening effect. The circumstances of their taking is thoroughly explained. But the result is disappointingly narrow and obsessive, because Morris has allowed the low-ranking Americans implicated by the pictures, the majority of them concerned only with their own fates and future, to be the dominant voices of the film. The exceptions are a crude but more experienced interrogator, a precise but morally numb military investigator, and the angry general Janis Karpinski who was scapegoated because she was commander of the MPs.

Rory Kennedy's 'The Ghosts of Abu Ghraib,' produced for HBO last year, has already presented all this information about the photo scandal--together with the larger context Morris has left out. Alex Gibney's 'Taxi to the Dark Side' thoroughly explored the larger implications--the responsibilities that go all the way up, the distribution of prison abuses throughout Afghanistan, Iran and Guantánamo, the violations of international law and the inadequacy of torture as an interrogation device. By specifically focusing on the beating and death of the taxi driver named Dilawar at the Bagram prison in Afghanistan Gibney showed much more detail than Morris about the specifics of one prisoner and the full extent of the physical brutality of US interrogators and guards. Anyone coming to Morris' film from Kennedy's and Gibney's will find it incomplete.

'Standard Operating Procedure' doesn't follow up on any Iraqis. Perhaps because Morris' mostly unheard questions were aggressive, his talking heads are always on the defensive, repeating that they were only "softening up" the prisoners as instructed. Lynndie England protests that she was in love with her boss, Charles Graner, and just did what he said. They do admit their process included sleep deprivation, hypothermia, loud noises, and also, when they lost patience or just felt like it, random physical abuse. We learn from the more experienced interrogator that his young associates were useless with high value prisoners. We also learn that no worthwhile information came out of interrogations at the prison. Karpinski explains how heavily overpopulated her prisons became, any suspects once held hard to release.

Morris commits several serious stylistic errors. He introduces fake basement-tape video reenactments (a device he has used before) to augment the visuals of the Abu Ghraib abuses--close-ups of "prisoners'" bodies, blood dripping on a uniform, keys going into a lock--so that after a while you aren't sure what is real and what is fake. The genuine images needed no enhancement, and this confusion is a terrible mistake. The score by Danny Elfman with its heavy-handed drumbeat sounds introduces frantic melodrama, also superfluous and in bad taste.

In fact Morris' material, which ought to have been allowed to speak for itself, is permeated by the banality of evil. The words of the MPs, including Megan Ambuhl, Javal Davis, and Jeremy Sivitz, as well as, most notably in this context, the two women amateur photographers, Lynndie England and Sabrina Harman, are notable for their lack of affect. There is no drama about them. Apart for one or two shaky expressions of doubt, awareness that all this wasn't right, especially on the part of Sabrina Harmon, writing to her "wife" Katie back home, they tend to speak as people going about what they believed to be their jobs; doing what others did and what everybody knew was being done at Abu Ghraib. Except, it seems, General Karpinski, because she was traveling from one prison to another, and says the ugliness was hidden from her. Perhaps it was. There's not much effort to question or puncture any of this testimony.

The film's title refers to the army investigator's conclusion that the majority of the photographed humiliations and punishments were "Standard Operating Procedure" and only certain scenes of physical injury could be classified as documenting crimes. This indulgence is something Morris does not explore further, however. 'Taxi to the Dark Side' goes much more thoroughly into the issue of torture. The distinction between torture and humiliation Morris alludes to seems less important than how the whole pattern of sordid conduct at the prisons get started, a topic 'Standard Operating Procedure' doesn't investigate. We have just had President Bush's admission that he knew and approved high-level meetings inside the White House on harsh interrogation tactics. Morris does not set the Abu Ghraib scandal within this larger framework.

We do hear that children were imprisoned and that there were children raped by prisoners and the prisoners were beaten and injured for that. We're briefly told that methods were transferred to Abu Ghraib from Guantánamo. It's all prefaced by a description of what a disgusting place Abu Ghraib was when the MPs and other American staff came to live there--with constant bombardment, because, in violation of international law (but we are not told that) Abu Ghraib was not behind the lines. This is presented elsewhere by some as mitigating circumstance. The low-ranking Abu Ghraib scandal scapegoats were not only just following orders (or "S.O.P."); they were under stress. Stuff happens. Here again, Morris doesn't connect the dots. Some will like that. The much admired, often awarded Morris is a sacred cow. But this time his result seems more repulsive than effective.

Was the above review useful to you?
See more (22 total) »

Message Boards

Discuss this movie with other users on IMDb message board for Standard Operating Procedure (2008)
Recent Posts (updated daily)User
there is something seriously wrong... tapavko
Defence of Sabrina SC-20
What a bunch of Crybabies. hitmanzer0
Please Tell Me why All the Soldiers look RETARDED? hasstmann
Pictures!?!? markrosen1983
Revealing interview with the director TheViewfromNowhere
See more »


If you enjoyed this title, our database also recommends:
- - - - -
The Road to Guantanamo Taxi to the Dark Side The Mark of Cain In the Valley of Elah Jarhead
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
Show more recommendations

Related Links

Full cast and crew Company credits External reviews
News articles IMDb Documentary section IMDb USA section

You may report errors and omissions on this page to the IMDb database managers. They will be examined and if approved will be included in a future update. Clicking the 'Edit page' button will take you through a step-by-step process.