7.7/10
90,060
177 user 115 critic

The Experiment (2001)

Das Experiment (original title)
Trailer
1:41 | Trailer
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.

Writers:

Mario Giordano (novel), Mario Giordano (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
14 wins & 14 nominations. See more awards »

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Photos

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Moritz Bleibtreu ... Tarek Fahd Nr. 77
Christian Berkel ... Robert Steinhoff Nr. 38
Oliver Stokowski ... Günther Schütte Nr. 82
Wotan Wilke Möhring ... Joe Maier Nr. 69
Stephan Szasz Stephan Szasz ... Häftling Nr. 53
Polat Dal Polat Dal ... Häftling Nr. 40
Danny Richter ... Häftling Nr. 21
Ralf Müller Ralf Müller ... Häftling Nr. 15
Markus Rudolf Markus Rudolf ... Häftling Nr. 74
Peter Fieseler Peter Fieseler ... Häftling Nr. 11
Thorsten Dersch Thorsten Dersch ... Häftling Nr. 86 (as Thorsten J.H. Dersch)
Sven Grefer Sven Grefer ... Häftling Nr. 94
Justus von Dohnányi ... Berus (as Justus von Dohnànyi)
Nicki von Tempelhoff Nicki von Tempelhoff ... Kamps
Timo Dierkes Timo Dierkes ... Eckert
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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:

20 men. Two groups. An experience you will never forget. 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:

View content advisory »
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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

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.
See more »

Alternate Versions

The first cinema version had an insert in the beginning of the movie which stated "This is based on the Stanford Prison Experiment". Since Prof. Philip Zimbardo wasn't asked by the filmmakers - and the movie doesn't really show the true experiment, but an exaggeration, the insert was changed to say "This movie is based on the novel Black Box" See more »

Connections

References The Thin Red Line (1998) See more »

Soundtracks

Mali Ghanni Aannak
Azeez Alnecheymi
See more »

User Reviews

A Fascinating and Disturbing Film
6 December 2004 | by wamweriSee all my reviews

Based on a real psychological experiment at Stanford University in 1971, using a group of male students, the mood of this film captures the sense of disorientation and loss of reality that was experienced by the original volunteers. Acts of humiliation present a violent and effective method for stripping individuality and asserting power over prisoners. The psychological transformations into masochistic and submissive roles are fascinating when you consider that that the only real distinguishable difference between the characters, is that by a random selection process, some are labeled 'wardens' and others are labeled 'prisoners'. The levels of violence, brutality and humiliation in the film seem extreme but in the original experiment, humiliation tactics were also extreme – prisoners were also made to wear chains round their ankles and stockings on their heads at all times! The film's conclusion is carefully constructed and appears to bear an implicit reference to the real prison riot of San Quentin (which occurred the day after the Stanford experiment was prematurely halted), in which guards and informant prisoners were tortured and murdered during the prisoners' escape attempt. This film is a sensitive study into power relationships within an altered reality and is masterfully crafted to build tension and invite the viewer to question the character's morality and ethical codes. Far more relevant and interesting than the bland reality TV shows we are plagued by these days…highly recommended!


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Details

Country:

Germany

Language:

German | English

Release Date:

8 March 2001 (Germany) See more »

Also Known As:

The Experiment See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$19,857, 22 September 2002

Gross USA:

$144,634

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$13,782,896
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (DVD) | (cut) | (uncut)

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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