It is a story so infamous and fascinating that it is still taught in classes today. In 1971, a Stanford professor chose 24 students to participate in a study of life in a prison. Some were chose to be guards, others prisoners. What started as an seemingly innocent look into social behavior quickly devolved into unbridled, violent madness.
44 years later, Dr. Philip Zimbardo’s experiment has been turned into a feature film. The Stanford Prison Experiment debuted at Sundance, where screenwriter Tim Talbott took home an award for his screenplay. Directed by Kyle Patrick Alvarez, the film stars Billy Crudup, Ezra Miller, Olivia Thirlby, Tye Sheridan, Keir Gilchrist, Michael Angarano and Thomas Man. The Stanford Prison Experiment opens in theaters July 17 and on VOD July 24.
What happens when a college psych study goes shockingly wrong? In this tense, psychological thriller based on the notorious true story, Billy Crudup stars as Stanford University professor Dr. Philip Zimbardo, who, in 1971, cast 24 student volunteers as prisoners and guards in a simulated jail to examine the source of abusive behavior in the prison system. The results astonished the world, as participants went from middle-class undergrads to drunk-with-power sadists and submissive victims in just a few days.