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 2 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.
dir.: oliver hirschbiegel drama / thriller 2001
moritz bleibtreu as tarek fahd / häftling Nr. 77 / prisoner #77 christian berkel as steinhoff / häftling Nr. 38 / prisoner #38 justus von dohnanyi as berus / strafvollzugsbeamter / guard
- based on a true story, professor philip zimbardo’s ”stanford prison experiment”. - although no one died in the stanford prison experiment on which the movie was based, the experiment was prematurely ended after 6 days out of a planned 2 weeks. the college students assigned to be prisoners was “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. - filmed in chronological order. - christian berkel originally auditioned for the part of schütte but was then cast as steinhoff. - oliver stokowski (schütte) is actually claustrophobic. in an early scene where the prisoners are crammed into the elevator, a hint of his genuine uneasiness is visible.