7.7/10
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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:
... Tarek Fahd - Häftling Nr. 77 / Prisoner #77
... Robert Steinhoff Nr. 38
... 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 ... Kamps - Strafvollzugsbeamter / Guard
Timo Dierkes ... Eckert - Strafvollzugsbeamter / Guard
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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

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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

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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

(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.
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Connections

References Dumbo (1941) See more »

Soundtracks

Wouldn't It Be Nice
Written by Brian Wilson, Tony Asher and Mike Love
(C) 1966 by Sea of Tunes Publishing Co. Inc., USA
The Beach Boys
Mit freundlicher Genehmigung der
EMI Music Publishing Germany GmbH
und der EMI Electrola GmbH
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User Reviews

 
Probably one of the best films ever made, an experiment itself!
26 March 2003 | by See all my reviews

Das Experiment is a masterpiece with flawless acting. It keeps the viewer attached to the screen throughout. It's probably the only movie ever made that has 90% of it taking place in a prison, but is still a great watch. Ok maybe Shawshank Redemption is another, but this one is at least as good as that one if not better. Violence does occur, however, people don't end up shooting everything that walks as in American films. It has a realistic side, psychological balance is really tender as screened on this movie. I found myself captured watching the movie, and I realized I was feeding a strong hatred against the guardians. Very very successful shot! I recommend it to everyone for sure, but especially those who are interested in the science of psychology, as the film is not solely ABOUT an experiment, but it turns out to BE a psychological experiment itself. I'm out of words... Go watch it, and please shoot me if you don't enjoy it. A well-deserved 10/10 from me.


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