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The Stanford Prison Experiment (2015)

The Stanford Prison Experiment (2015)

Ezra MillerTye SheridanBilly CrudupOlivia Thirlby
Kyle Patrick Alvarez


The Stanford Prison Experiment (2015) is a English movie. Kyle Patrick Alvarez has directed this movie. Ezra Miller,Tye Sheridan,Billy Crudup,Olivia Thirlby are the starring of this movie. It was released in 2015. The Stanford Prison Experiment (2015) is considered one of the best Biography,Drama,History,Thriller movie in India and around the world.

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.

The Stanford Prison Experiment (2015) Reviews

  • Very intriguing, but it missed a couple of things.


    I think this movie was extremely interesting and I also found myself being very invested in the characters' developments. I was really rooting for the prisoners and wanted to kick those guards' butts. The thing that sort of annoyed me though, was that we never got to see how prisoner 8612 and 819 responded when they got released. I actually really wanted to know what their reaction was after they went outside and realised everything was an experiment (since they both started to doubt their sanity) and that they were free. I think it would have been very interesting to see that. 7/10. -Imme van Gorp

  • Chillingly bad science


    This film is a dramatization of a real psychological experiment that took place at the Stanford University in 1971. The motivation was to study the dynamics of individuals who were arbitrarily placed into roles as prisoners and guards at a simulated prison. Since none of the study participants were actual criminals or correction officers, the idea was to glean insight into the psychology of the power imbalance that arises from the situation, as opposed to the people involved. Things famously degraded quickly and the experiment was terminated after only six days. Multiple guards displayed sadistic traits and performed acts of psychological and even (to a smaller degree) physical torture, all overseen, permitted, and arguably encouraged by "superintendent" Philip Zimbardo, the study's creator. The conditions the participants were exposed to were reprehensible, but even worse is that ultimately this was simply bad science, making the whole endeavor a cruel waste of time. The experiment lacked much of the basic rigor required, as highlighted in the film by a verbatim repetition of an actual conversation Mr. Zimbardo had with a colleague who questioned some of the basic scientific methodologies being utilized in the study. Zimbardo himself committed what I would consider borderline criminal acts such as initially denying "prisoner" participants the option to leave when requested (to instill in them the belief that their situation was, in fact, real), which came frighteningly close to converting the "study" into a criminal act of kidnapping in my opinion. Zimbardo explains this as him getting "to close" to the experiment, but personally I'm not particularly sympathetic to that argument. When you watch the actual clips from the study and read the notes, I'm more inclined to think that Mr. Zambardo himself had a sadistic streak that he failed to control for a time. Honestly, I think the man should have faced criminal charges for his role in this fiasco. In the end, some good did come out of this experiment in that it created a push for establishing standards and controls for psychological experiments in the future. Despite knowing the actual outcome, I still felt anxious about the fates of the young men involved, a testament to the power of the acting and directing here. To me, this movie is a chilling and visceral reminder of how easy it is to create conditions that foster cruelty and dehumanization. A rewarding, if somewhat depressing, film to watch.

  • Don't go in for a casual watch


    This was horrifying. Definitely not for everyone. Most horrifying thing is that this really happened. I don't even know where to start. The movie is well made and told. It's really claustrophobic and it will get under your skin. How horrible humans can be. There's no violence here, but the verbal abuse and the way people are treated and at the same time being watched by people who could have stopped it, is what makes this story the more haunting. The actors do a good job here. Those guards, man. This movie is gonna make you hate them and feel very sorry for the prisoners. It's all acting, but you really get a grudge against those guards. So, the movie did a good job on that. It gets you invested, but it at the end leaves a bad taste in your mouth. Nothing feel good about it. One thing it lacks is a main character. The first half is centered on Ezra Miller, but he disappears halfway through. I think it lost something when he was gone. It's a though one to watch and I don't think I need to watch it again. No, once was good enough. Maybe it can do good and remind you of the cruelty of us humans, and help stop these things from happening. But, it's not an experience for everyone like I said and the cruelty is almost overboard at times and a little over the top. I think it was trying to chock people too much. Horrifying, but well made and acted. It dwells too long on some of the most cruel moments and it's gonna make it hard to watch. So, don't go in for a casual watch. You gotta be prepared to watch it

  • "The Stanford Prison Experiment" is a dramatic true story and a startling look at human nature.


    "Would you rather be a prison guard or a prisoner?" That question was put to young college men who answered a newspaper ad in "The Stanford Prison Experiment" (R, 2:02). The movie is based on a real-life psychology department study conducted at California's Stanford University in August 1971. After being screened using a questionnaire and an interview, 24 students were chosen as paid participants in the 14-day experiment (each making $15 per day). In spite of the above question being asked of all applicants, participants were assigned as either guards or prisoners by coin flips. Faculty offices in the basement of the university's psychology building were transformed into a mock prison wing. Dr. Philip Zimbardo, the psychology professor who led a team of graduate students and advisors in conducting the experiment, wanted to test the theory that conflicts between guards and inmates are caused by the men's individual personality traits. A documentary about the experiment was released in 1992 and a German film loosely based on the experiment came out in 2001, followed by an American remake in 2010, but this is the first feature film which attempts to dramatize the actual events that took place. As we see Zimbardo (Billy Crudup) going through his selection process, we meet his team (James Wolk, Keir Gilchrist and Gaius Charles) and the student participants (including "prisoners" Ezra Miller, Tye Sheridan and Thomas Mann, along with Michael Angarano as a "guard" who based his authoritative persona on a sadistic captain in the movie "Cool Hand Luke"). The guards are briefed and given generic uniforms. The prisoners are "arrested" by actual local police officers and sent to the "prison" to "await trial". The guards process the prisoners, give them uniforms (crude smocks and stocking caps) and taught to only identify themselves by their prisoner number and to address all guards as "Mr. Correctional Officer". The guards initially perform their duties tentatively while there's a lot of eye-rolling by the prisoners. Then something happens. Both the guards and the prisoners quickly adapt to their roles to a surprising degree and even internalize them. The guards become increasingly menacing and sadistic. The prisoners' actions vary, but all are in character as some comply while others resist the guards' authority and talk of escape and some are even pushed to their psychological limits. Zimbardo and his team watch and listen to all the goings-on via closed-circuit camera and hidden microphones. Even when the guards violate the rules they've been given and the experiment seems close to getting out of hand, Zimbardo repeatedly forbids his team from intervening. A former San Quentin inmate (Nelson Ellis) joins the team as an adviser and gets involved more than he's comfortable with. An actual priest (Albert Malafronte) speaks with each of the prisoners and the team even holds a mock parole board. When Zimbardo's girlfriend (Olivia Thirlby) stops by and observes parts of the experiment, she criticizes Zimbardo's methods and expresses concern for the well-being of the prisoners. The professor insists that his experiment could bring out positive change in prisons everywhere and wants to continue, convinced that he can keep things under control. "The Stanford Prison Experiment" is a compelling dramatization that really sneaks up on you. Just when you're tempted to write off what you're seeing as a ridiculous exercise, you start to see what the professor sees – the remarkable transformation in the student participants from role-players to young men living and, in the case of the guards, actually relishing their roles. We also see what Zimbardo can't see – that he and his team are becoming part of the experiment themselves. The cast includes few, if any recognizable actors, but there is no weak link in this chain of performances and Crudup is particularly outstanding. Tim Talbot's script and the film's look realistically evoke the spirit of the early 70s, while the score and the cinematography are both creative and effective at drawing us into the film's narrative. Little-known director Kyle Patrick Alvarez does a great job of pulling these elements together. Dr. Zimbardo's experiment made him an in-demand expert on the psychology of authority and on inmate-prison guard relations. He testified before Congress after major prison riots at San Quentin and Attica shortly after his experiment took place. After he noticed striking similarities between the results of his experiment and the abuse of prisoners at the hands of American soldiers in Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison in 2004, Zimbardo wrote a book discussing that connection. He has also lectured on his findings to audiences all over the world. None of this should be surprising to anyone who sees "The Stanford Prison Experiment". It's a dramatic depiction of a landmark psychology experiment and a startling window into human nature. It also happens to be a fascinating and entertaining film. "A-"

  • Absolutely gripping and one of the all time most difficult movies to watch


    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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