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The Experiment (2001)

Das Experiment (original title)
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 »
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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

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

8 March 2001 (Germany)  »

Also Known As:

The Experiment  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$19,857 (USA) (20 September 2002)

Gross:

$141,072 (USA) (25 October 2002)
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Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(DVD) | (cut) | (uncut)

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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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 Prisoner No. 82 (Schütte) dies, he's being put in Tarek's bed by Tarek (77) and Steinhoff (38). When Professor Dr. Thon returns in the institute only the blanket is knocked over. 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

Remade as The Experiment (2010) See more »

Soundtracks

Are You Lonesome Tonight
Lou Handman / Roy Turk
(C) by Redwood Music Ltd. / Carlin Music Corp.
Mit freundlicher Genehmigung der
Greenhorn Musikverlag GmbH & Co. Munchen
(i.Hs.Warner / Chappell Music GmbH Germany)
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User Reviews

Compelling thriller that disturbs as much as it entertains.
15 August 2003 | by (Perth, Australia) – See all my reviews

I was initially a bit dubious about 'Das Experiment', thinking it looked like it was going to be lame, but within half an hour I was hooked. It isn't the greatest movie ever made, the most technically dazzling, or the most insightful into the human condition, but as a thriller it is first class, and far better than any I've seen come out of Hollywood for years. The movie in inspired by an experiment conducted in America in the early 1970s. 'Das Experiment' isn't a documentary it is after all but a thriller, so the outcome is more sensational than in real life. But I think people may be shocked when they read about the real experiment, as they will see that the basic pattern of what happens in the movie happened in reality. And if people are still skeptical I just suggest they look into their heart and ask themselves honestly what they would do in a similar situation... The cast are all terrific. The only actor I recognized was the star Moritz Bleibtreu, from 'Knocking On Heaven's Door' and 'Run Lola Run', but it really is an ensemble piece and all the actors were well cast and convincing. I highly recommend this movie and just hope that Hollywood doesn't decide to remake it because I'm sure it'll be another 'Insomnia' farce all over again...


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