Das Experiment

March 8, 2001 0 By Fans
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (No Ratings Yet)

Andrea SawatzkiMoritz Bleibtreu & Maren EggertMoritz BelibtreuEdgar Selge & Andrea Sawatzki Edgar SelgeMoritz Bleibtreu


The movie is based on the infamous "Stanford Prison Experiment" conducted in 1971. A makeshift prison is set up in a research lab…

Release Year: 2001

Rating: 7.8/10 (36,342 voted)

Critic's Score: 60/100

Oliver Hirschbiegel

Stars: Moritz Bleibtreu, Christian Berkel, Oliver Stokowski

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.

Writers: Mario Giordano, Mario Giordano


Moritz Bleibtreu

Tarek Fahd – Häftling Nr. 77
Prisoner #77

Christian Berkel

Steinhoff – Häftling Nr. 38
Prisoner #38

Oliver Stokowski

Schütte – Häftling Nr. 82
Prisoner #82

Wotan Wilke Möhring

Joe – Häftling Nr. 69
Prisoner #69

Stephan Szasz

Häftling Nr. 53
Prisoner #53

Polat Dal

Häftling Nr. 40
Prisoner #40

Danny Richter

Häftling Nr. 21
Prisoner #21

Ralf Müller

Häftling Nr. 15
Prisoner #15

Markus Rudolf

Häftling Nr. 74
Prisoner #74

Peter Fieseler

Häftling Nr. 11
Prisoner #11

Thorsten Dersch

Häftling Nr. 86
Prisoner #86

(as Thorsten J.H. Dersch)

Sven Grefer

Häftling Nr. 94
Prisoner #94

Justus von Dohnányi

Berus – Strafvollzugsbeamter

(as Justus von Dohnànyi)

Nicki von Tempelhoff

Kamps – Strafvollzugsbeamter

Timo Dierkes

Eckert – Strafvollzugsbeamter

You Are Invited To Participate


Official Website:
Metropolitan Filmexport (French) |
Official site [Canada] |

Release Date: 8 March 2001

Filming Locations: Cologne, North Rhine – Westphalia, Germany

Opening Weekend: €398,557
(25 August 2002)
(131 Screens)

Gross: $141,072
(27 October 2002)

Technical Specs


South Korea:
(cut version)
(uncut version)

Did You Know?


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


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.


[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.

User Review

A Fascinating and Disturbing Film


Based on a real psychological experiment at Stanford University in
1971, using a group of male students, the mood of this film captures
the sense of disorientation and loss of reality that was experienced by
the original volunteers. Acts of humiliation present a violent and
effective method for stripping individuality and asserting power over
prisoners. The psychological transformations into masochistic and
submissive roles are fascinating when you consider that that the only
real distinguishable difference between the characters, is that by a
random selection process, some are labeled 'wardens' and others are
labeled 'prisoners'. The levels of violence, brutality and humiliation
in the film seem extreme but in the original experiment, humiliation
tactics were also extreme – prisoners were also made to wear chains
round their ankles and stockings on their heads at all times! The
film's conclusion is carefully constructed and appears to bear an
implicit reference to the real prison riot of San Quentin (which
occurred the day after the Stanford experiment was prematurely halted),
in which guards and informant prisoners were tortured and murdered
during the prisoners' escape attempt. This film is a sensitive study
into power relationships within an altered reality and is masterfully
crafted to build tension and invite the viewer to question the
character's morality and ethical codes. Far more relevant and
interesting than the bland reality TV shows we are plagued by these
days…highly recommended!