7.7/10
86,675
173 user 112 critic

The Experiment (2001)

Das Experiment (original title)
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1:45 | Trailer

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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.

Writers:

Mario Giordano (novel), Mario Giordano (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
14 wins & 13 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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 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 Justus von Dohnányi ... Berus - Strafvollzugsbeamter / Guard (as Justus von Dohnànyi)
Nicki von Tempelhoff Nicki von Tempelhoff ... Kamps - Strafvollzugsbeamter / Guard
Timo Dierkes 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

Taglines:

They never imagined it would go this far. 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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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, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$141,072, 27 October 2002
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

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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Did You Know?

Trivia

Although no one died in the Stanford Prison Experiment on which the movie was based, the experiment was prematurely ended after six days out of a planned two weeks. The college students assigned (randomly) to be prisoners were "withdrawing and behaving in pathological ways" as a result of the degrading treatment they received. Quite a few scenes in the movie actually happened in the original experiment, including the early fire extinguisher scene and the prisoners being forced to clean the toilets by their bare hands. See more »

Goofs

After the car crash in the beginning of the film, the right rear of the taxi has been damaged, including the rear light. When Tarek drives Dora to his place, it's just the other way around. 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

Featured in CineMaverick TV: Episode #1.13 (2012) See more »

Soundtracks

Mali Ghanni Aannak
Azeez Alnecheymi
See more »

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User Reviews

An escalating claustrophobic nightmare!
11 June 2002 | by MeatfarmerSee all my reviews

This is an overwhelming film. I have not been so affected - physically - since I was run over by "Terminator 2" ten years ago.

If you have any claustrophobic tendencies or if you find it hard to endure situations of powerlessness, this film will be a total nightmare for you. But I urge you to see it anyway...

The acting is superb and the directing is moderate and intelligent. As a result, the potentially predictable story becomes very unpredictable. Its surprise effects are not sudden. You get plenty of time to realize what is about to happen (and how little you or anybody else can do about it...).

At one time, despite being almost completely absorbed by the suspense, I was able to look away from the screen and notice that I was sitting in a movie theater, at a safe distance from the experiment. Thank God!

My grade: 10 out of 10!


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