It is the summer of 1971. Dr. Philip Zimbardo (Billy Crudup, Almost Famous) launches a study on the psychology of imprisonment. Twenty-four male undergraduates at Stanford University are randomly assigned to be either a guard or a prisoner. Set in a simulated jail in the basement of the Stanford psychology building, the project unfolds.
“Riveting and powerful … will give you chills.” – Kyle Smith, New York Post
The participants rapidly and readily embody their roles — the guards become power-hungry and sadistic, while the prisoners, subject to degradation, strategize as underdogs. It soon becomes clear that Zimbardo and his research team, as they monitor the escalation of action through surveillance cameras, are not fully aware of how they, too, have become part of the experiment, leading to shockingly unexpected results. Based on the highly controversial real-life research of Dr. Zimbardo (who was a consultant on the film), The Stanford Prison Experiment is a dramatic period piece that remains relevant over 40 years later. Featuring an impressive cast of up-and-coming young actors, including Ezra Miller (The Perks of Being a Wallflower) and Tye Sheridan (Mud), as the students who get more than they bargained for, The Stanford Prison Experiment in an intense, visceral and eye-opening drama about the dangers of power that plays to both chilling and exhilarating effect. (Dir. by Kyle Patrick Alvarez, 2015, USA, 122 mins., Not Rated)