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Il giorno prima (1987)

PG-13 | | Drama, Thriller | 14 February 1987 (USA)
Fifteen strangers take part in an experiment to learn whether such a group can survive in a cramped disaster fallout shelter.


Giuliano Montaldo


Piero Angela (screenplay), Piero Angela (story) | 3 more credits »
1 win. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Ben Gazzara ... Mike Zella
Kate Nelligan ... Sarah Howell
Kate Reid ... Camille Dupont
Burt Lancaster ... Dr. Herbert Monroe
Ingrid Thulin ... Mrs. Havemeyer
Erland Josephson ... Swanson
Cyrielle Clair ... Laura Swanson
William Berger ... Mr. Peterson
Jean Benguigui Jean Benguigui ... Max Bloch
Andréa Ferréol ... Rosy Bloch
Lavinia Segurini Lavinia Segurini ... Eva Bloch
Flavio Bucci ... Herman Pundt
Zeudi Araya Cristaldi ... Sheba (as Zeudi Araya)
Amy Werba Amy Werba ... Greta Hellstrom
Andrea Occhipinti ... Matteo


An experiment of psychological effects under stressfull conditions in a shelter. When fifteen strangers are put into a nuclear shelter to see how long they can survive without interaction with the outside, things work out fine. Written by Marcos Eduardo Acosta Aldrete

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Thriller


PG-13 | See all certifications »



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Release Date:

14 February 1987 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Control See more »

Filming Locations:

Italy See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


When Sheba starts singing, on the first night at the shelter, her lip movements do not match her voice. See more »


Journalist #1: What happened down there?
Camille Dupont: I don't remember. I don't *want* to remember.
See more »


(G. Sims/Ennio Morricone)
Sung by Blizzard
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User Reviews

Bunker Prison Experiment
11 November 2007 | by Thorsten_BSee all my reviews

In the final credits it says that Philip G. Zimbardo served as scientific adviser for this film. Not only the author of a world-famous introductory book on psychology, Zimbardo was also professor at Stanford University and in this position responsible for the infamous "Stanford Prison Experiment" that was later, among others, turned into a decent film by German director Oliver Hirschbiegel in the 90s. "Il Giorno prima" has some elements of that particular experiment. Whereas back in Stanford volunteers were given the roles of guardians and prisoners and stuck into an improvised prison, "Giorno" has a bunch of people residing in an atomic bunker for two weeks to explore the psychological difficulties that may arise from such a situation. In Stanford, things went wrong: The "guardians" used their roles to punish and humiliate the "prisoners", displaying raw violence in a surrounding that was only to be taken "as if"; Zimbardo had to stop the experiment in order to save the participants' lives. The "Stanford Prison Experiment" gave an insight on how people behave under extreme circumstances. This is repeated in "Il Giorno prima", this time located in a German bunker, with Burt Lancaster in a sort-of "homage" to Zimbardos own original role. As one would expect from an experiment (though the inhabitants of the bunker are not so suspicious), stimuli from outside are brought in, thereby creating arguments, discrepancies and finally even violence. The "moral", so to say, is not surprising, and the acting isn't so great, but the main fault is the very naive script. Then again, it still is an entertaining flick, well worth a look – but probably not two.

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