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The Stanford Prison Experiment

Thriller . Drama . Biography . History

This film is based on the actual events that took place in 1971 when Stanford professor Dr. Philip Zimbardo created what became one of the most shocking and famous social experiments of all time.

Actors: Billy Crudup , Ezra Miller , Michael Angarano , Tye Sheridan , Olivia Thirlby , Johnny Simmons , Gaius Charles , James Wolk , Thomas Mann , Moisés Arias , Moises Arias , Nicholas Braun
Directors: Kyle Patrick Alvarez
Country: USA
Release: 2015-07-17
More Info:
  • Drew McWeeny

    Using real transcripts, and with the involvement of Dr. Philip Zimbardo, who was the psychologist who designed the project in the first place, Talbott and director Kyle Patrick Alvarez have opted to aim for something authentic and honest.

    Hitfix Full Review
  • Rodrigo Perez

    Alvarez’s clinical but deeply engrossing execution of the drama is mesmerizing in its directness.

    The Playlist Full Review
  • Jordan Hoffman

    Director Kyle Patrick Alvarez deserves all the praise in the world for the way he cranks up this pressure cooker script. The Stanford Prison Experiment begins with giggles but ends in full psychological break.

    The Guardian Full Review
  • Leslie Felperin

    For all its flaws it’s a rich, thought-provoking film which, while challenging, is not without humor and visual pleasures, particularly in the restrained but bang-on period production design.

    The Hollywood Reporter Full Review
  • Justin Chang

    The problem is not that this film is upsetting (it should be), but that it ultimately seems more interested, and skilled, at dispensing regular shocks than fresh insights.

    Variety Full Review
  • Katie Walsh

    The ensemble shines in demonstrating the complexities of the individuals who either endure or exploit this system of abusive power dynamics.

    Los Angeles Times Full Review
  • Richard Roeper

    The Stanford Prison Experiment is the kind of movie that raises as many questions as it answers. It’s also the kind of film where you want to budget some time for discussion afterward. You won’t be able to shake this one off easily.

    Chicago Sun-Times Full Review
  • A.A. Dowd

    A gripping dramatization, The Stanford Prison Experiment puts its audience in the same position as the head researcher, Dr. Philip Zimbardo: We watch with equal fascination and dread as a group of fresh-faced undergraduates adapt with scary speed to the roles they’re assigned.

    The A.V. Club Full Review
  • Neil Genzlinger

    The experiment’s methodologies and meanings have been analyzed endlessly over the years, and the film doesn’t delve deeply into these interpretations and critiques. It doesn’t need to; this stark and riveting version of events speaks for itself.

    The New York Times Full Review
  • James Rocchi

    Disturbing, honest and compelling, The Stanford Prison Experiment turns a well-known story into must-see storytelling, depicting the ugly truth through gorgeous filmmaking.

    TheWrap Full Review
  • Molly Eichel

    Watching these young men brutalize each other is troubling enough, but perhaps the film's most interesting angle is how the experiment changes more than its subjects.

    Philadelphia Inquirer Full Review
  • Jeff Baker

    Kyle Patrick Alvarez, whose previous movie was the filmed-in-Oregon "C.O.G.," stages the many torture scenes in a tight, claustrophobic way that works to heighten tension.

    Portland Oregonian Full Review
  • Michael Phillips

    It never should've been OK'd in the first place and never should've gotten past the first day. This has a mixed effect on the movie itself, which inevitably fights against its own sense of dulled outrage and methodical role-playing. But it's pretty gripping all the same.

    Chicago Tribune Full Review
  • Mick LaSalle

    As Zimbardo, Billy Crudup adopts an implacable facade, and for a while we don’t know what we’re seeing — a humanitarian on the brink of discovery, an ambitious monster who has found the winning ticket, or a young professor in way over his head.

    San Francisco Chronicle Full Review
  • Brian Truitt

    Even with some familiar faces, The Stanford Prison Experiment feels like an honest-to-goodness documentary — a high compliment for a movie based on an infamous college project.

    USA Today Full Review
  • Sara Stewart

    The film spirals steadily downward through humanity’s worst impulses as the guards, led by Angarano’s character, explore the free rein they’re given to torment the powerless.

    New York Post Full Review
  • Chuck Bowen

    The formalism fashions effective textural shortcuts to behavioral understanding that the remarkable cast fills in with chilling, convincing finesse.

    Slant Magazine Full Review
  • Bilge Ebiri

    It is remarkable, however, that The Stanford Prison Experiment works as well as it does, and for as long as it does. Crudup and the young cast (particularly Angarano) deserve much of the credit.

    New York Magazine (Vulture) Full Review
  • Amy Nicholson

    Even simply sticking to the facts, the film is a painful watch.

    Village Voice Full Review
  • Brad Wheeler

    The acting is uniformly strong and the camera work is winningly claustrophobic, but the film is one note.

    The Globe and Mail (Toronto) Full Review
  • Ann Hornaday

    The film can be appreciated, if only as a showcase for its assured, emotional attuned performances, as a convincing time capsule and period piece, and as a chance to reconsider one of the more well-known and still-influential studies of its era.

    Washington Post Full Review
  • Roger Moore

    A very good cast headed by Billy Crudup, Michael Angarano and Tye Sheridan stars in The Stanford Prison Experiment, a film as straight-forward and clinically chilling as its title.

    Movie Nation Full Review
  • Marjorie Baumgarten

    What we witness onscreen is horrifying and deeply disturbing (as it should be), but a little more context might help us to not feel so marooned.

    Austin Chronicle Full Review
  • David Ehrlich

    A vividly told but crushingly literal dramatization of an event that’s in every psych textbook published during the last 40 years, Kyle Patrick Alvarez’s new film is compelling and useless in equal measure.

    Time Out New York Full Review
  • Odie Henderson

    Unfortunately, The Stanford Prison Experiment is a dramatization, and no matter how much it may adhere to the well-documented specifics of Zimbardo’s work, it is a massive failure. Full Review
  • Joe Neumaier

    Director Kyle Patrick Alvarez’s film underserves its cast of up-and-comers (Thomas Mann, Ezra Miller, Tye Sheridan), allows the usually solid actor Michael Angarano to go astray with a scenery-chewing role and buries Crudup in fretting and sanctity. Worse, the experiment’s inherent drama is exacted with a tin ear and a cheesy style.

    New York Daily News Full Review
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