26 men are chosen to participate in the roles of guards and prisoners in a psychological study that ultimately spirals out of control.


Paul T. Scheuring


Paul T. Scheuring (screenplay), Mario Giordano (novel) | 4 more credits »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Adrien Brody ... Travis
Forest Whitaker ... Barris
Cam Gigandet ... Chase
Clifton Collins Jr. ... Nix
Ethan Cohn ... Benjy
Fisher Stevens ... Archaleta
Travis Fimmel ... Helweg
David Banner ... Bosch (as Lavell 'David Banner' Crump)
Jason Lew ... Oscar
Damien Leake ... Govenor
Maggie Grace ... Bay
Rod Maiorano Rod Maiorano ... Rex
Rachel O'Meara ... Female Administrator
Jeanne Hopson Jeanne Hopson ... Gertrude
Jack Mishler Jack Mishler ... Henry (as Jack W. Mishler)


For a handsome $1,000-a-day reward, the unemployed pacifist, Travis, decides to take part in a controversial two-week behavioural experiment that will attempt to simulate life within the prison walls. Now, inside a controlled environment, two hand-picked groups of twenty inmates and six guards must follow a simple set of basic rules, while high-tech cameras monitor the entire makeshift jail. However, devoid of their civil rights and their identities, the volunteers will soon find themselves dragged into a dangerous and volatile situation, as the sadistic warders begin to take extreme pleasure in enforcing their authority. Under those circumstances, Travis, or the rebellious Prisoner #77, will have to explore his limits. How long can he last? Written by Nick Riganas

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Prisoner #77 chose to be here. See more »


Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong disturbing violence including a rape, language, some sexual content and nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


While this film is based on actual experimentation performed by psychologists on college students. Some of the experiment's findings have been called into question. The experiment has been criticized for unscientific methodology, possible fraud bordering on a hoax. Results are believed to have been forced and manipulated to fit the researchers motives. See more »


When an "inmate" who has diabetic low blood sugars, he correctly says he needs sugar. But later, still with low blood sugar, he says he just needs insulin. That would lower his blood sugar even more resulting in coma or death. See more »


[first lines]
Travis: [playing shuffleboard] You suck, don't you?
Gertrude: You suck.
Travis: Yeah, I suck so bad I just skunked you. Which means, you gotta eat your pills.
Gertrude: You're supposed to be nice to me.
Travis: I am nice to you. It's not my fault you got no game.
Gertrude: You suck, Travis.
Travis: I know.
See more »


References Moulin Rouge! (2001) See more »


Written by Michael James Bryant and Jonathan Howard Fugler
Performed by Fluke
See more »

User Reviews

A Mutated Version of What the Stanford Experiment Was
7 September 2010 | by gavin6942See all my reviews

A group of people, looking to earn a quick buck, sign up for a behavior experiment. But that may have been a really, really bad idea. The experiment causes even the pacifists to turn violent, and there is no one to stop them.

This film could have been easily forgettable, but luckily they somehow secured a great cast, and I think that may have saved it from being just another American remake. Starring Adrien Brody as the pacifist (perhaps even hippie) Travis and Forest Whitaker as Barris, these two can carry the film on their own, with or without the ensemble cast.

I have to give a shout out to Fisher Stevens, who plays the professor Archaleta. I'm saddened that after some bigger hits (notably "Short Circuit") Stevens has been reduced to doing bit parts. But even more sad is the inclusion of Maggie Grace as the hippie Bay. Not that she does a poor job, but that the character is completely pointless, has no development, and her scenes only add another five or ten minutes on to the film -- which would have been more powerful without her.

The experiment shown in the film wouldn't hold up by standards today, as the safety of the people involved is now a top priority. This may have been indirectly addressed, though... I'm unsure. What I can say is that this was adapted from a 2001 German film, which was adapted from a book, which was loosely based on the Stanford Prison Experiment. I think it's safe to say that this film has nothing to do with the original experiment (it is very, very loosely based)... but I'm not sure how close it is to the other sources.

While you might be able to rent better films, this is not something to automatically pass up. If you're into survival, or enjoy these cast members, or like prison stories, you may really like this one. I was pleasantly surprised, and of all the films I see, it was one of the best in recent weeks.

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Release Date:

12 August 2010 (South Korea) See more »

Also Known As:

The Experiment See more »

Filming Locations:

Alleman, Iowa, USA See more »


Box Office


$21,800,000 (estimated)

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

SDDS | DTS | Dolby Digital

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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