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The Stanford Prison Experiment (2015)

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2:31 | Trailer
In 1971, twenty-four male students are selected to take on randomly assigned roles of prisoners and guards in a mock prison situated in the basement of the Stanford psychology building.

Writers:

Tim Talbott, Philip Zimbardo (based on the book "The Lucifer Effect")
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4,457 ( 637)
4 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Billy Crudup ... Dr. Philip Zimbardo
Michael Angarano ... Christopher Archer
Moises Arias ... Anthony Carroll
Nicholas Braun ... Karl Vandy
Gaius Charles ... Paul Vogel
Keir Gilchrist ... John Lovett
Ki Hong Lee ... Gavin Lee / 3401
Thomas Mann ... Prisoner 416
Ezra Miller ... Daniel Culp / 8612
Logan Miller ... Jerry Sherman / 5486
Tye Sheridan ... Peter Mitchell / 819
Johnny Simmons ... Jeff Jansen / 1037
James Wolk ... Mike Penny
Nelsan Ellis ... Jesse Fletcher
Olivia Thirlby ... Dr. Christina Maslach
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Storyline

In 1971, twenty-four male students are selected to take on randomly assigned roles of prisoners and guards in a mock prison situated in the basement of the Stanford psychology building.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

They were given 2 weeks. It lasted 6 days.


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language including abusive behavior and some sexual references | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Billy Crudup and Michael Angarano were both in Almost Famous (2000). See more »

Goofs

A guard incorrectly attributes the now instantly recognizable walk of the Frankenstein Monster to his first appearance in the 1931 film Frankenstein. The Monster didn't walk with his arms outstretched in front of him until Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man over a decade later. This is a common mistake. See more »

Quotes

Dr. Philip Zimbardo: This experiment... is over.
See more »

Connections

Version of The Experiment (2010) See more »

User Reviews

 
Absolutely gripping and one of the all time most difficult movies to watch
8 February 2016 | by ronthrenodySee all my reviews

This is perhaps one of the best movies I have seen in 2015 and yet I would think twice before watching it again. The Stanford Prison experiment is a taut and intriguing drama hat manages to thrill you for most of its run time as well as making you terribly uneasy as you ponder as to why people behave as they do in the movie. Inspire by the real life prison experiment conducted at Stanford University in 1971 using college students where some would be assigned as guards and some prisoners and were stationed in a mock prison for 14 days within the Stanford University premises itself. It proved to be one of the most disastrous and widely criticized psychology experiments ever conducted by mankind and was shut down in just 6 days.

The movie doesn't spend too much time on buildup as you start feeling the claustrophobia and sense of loss of freedom quite early on. The script has been top notch as well as the direction. The best part about the script that I loved was that it remained truthful to the actual events and the documentary style cinematography added so much realism to the experience.

The other impressive aspect of this movie is the acting. The casting doesn't involve any big superstar names, rather most of them are well known in the indie and television scenes. Phillip Zambardo's character development was pulled off by Billy Crudup with absolute finesse while Ezra Miller and Thomas Mann left a lasting impression with the devolution of their respective characters. The rest of the cast, especially the ones who played the prisoners were great as well, as they were constantly able to maintain the sense of helplessness and psychological deterioration throughout. The main star of the film, however, is Michael Angarano. His character is what everybody would love to hate. I used to remember Angarano as this charming kid in Almost Famous and Lords of Dogtown and I was quite shocked to witness the whole sadistic and borderline sociopath side of him.

The only shortcoming I felt was the overall pacing. The movie slowed down at some points; especially during the first half (I am not going to spoil anything) and it could've done a better editing job. Some of the cast, especially on the guard side could've used a bit more screen time since the camera was almost entirely focused on Michael Angarano. However, this doesn't diminish the quality of movie in any way. It's a great albeit cringe worthy study of human psyche and the movie will leave a long trail of questions for you to think about.

Overall, The Stanford Prison Experiment is undoubtedly a great cinematic achievement both in terms of visual style, storyline, acting and direction. This is not exactly a family movie or something you want to watch with your girlfriend and definitely not a feel-good experience, but if you are a fan of psychological thrillers, then this film will give you a run for your money. My IMDb rating is 8.1/10.


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Details

Official Sites:

Official site

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

17 July 2015 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Untitled Stanford Prison Experiment Project See more »

Filming Locations:

Los Angeles, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$37,514, 19 July 2015

Gross USA:

$660,561

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$663,114
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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