7.7/10
85,873
172 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:

Nach einer wahren Begebenheit. 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

Christian Berkel originally auditioned for the part of Schütte but was then cast as Steinhoff. 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

References Alien (1979) See more »

Soundtracks

Concerto For Flute
La Notte""
in G minor op 10/2 (Allegro)
(Antonio Vivaldi)
Mit freundlicher Genehmigung der KoKa Media GmbH
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User Reviews

Too true to life
5 June 2004 | by RehaberSee all my reviews

I saw this film recently on the Sundance Channel. I could not stop watching. After seeing the prison pictures from Iraq, the film fully explored the reasons for the abuse of prisoners. When I read some of the reviews posted, I noticed how many dismissed the film as contrived and not plausible. I wonder if any of those reviewers would like to modify their dismissal of Das Experiment. Human behavior under stress often declines to the lowest common instinct. It reminded me of an adult Lord of the Flies. Degradation and humiliation seems to exactly follow what happened in Iraq. As a veteran who spent most of time working on Military Mental wards, I witnessed a number of abuses, as force had to be used patients were acting out or lost control, but all those memories seem pale compared to the horrors of the Iraq prison camps. Since life imitates art, this makes the film even more profound.


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