In August of 1971, Dr. Philip Zimbardo conducted an experiment at Stanford University, in which 24 male students took on the role of either prison guard or prisoner in a simulated “prison” built in the halls of the university. Six days later, the whole thing was shut down. These events are the basis for The Stanford Prison Experiment, a long-gestating adaptation that finally premiered at Sundance Film Festival and ahead of a release next month, we have the first trailer.

We said in our review, “As written by Tim Talbott and directed by Kyle Patrick AlvarezThe Stanford Prison Experiment is a straightforward breakdown of those six harrowing days. Little is sugar-coated here and it’s a smart move, the filmmakers confident in the natural tension the true story creates. Billy Crudup plays Zimbardo and does good work as a pioneer-of-sorts quickly spiraling out of control. Though at times a bit too villainous (blame some of that on ridiculous period facial hair), the veteran character actor carries the weight of his actions relatively well.”

Starring Ezra Miller, Olivia Thirlby, Tye Sheridan, Billy Crudup, Keir Gilchrist, Michael Angarano, Jesse Carere and Thomas Mann, check out the trailer and poster below.

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. Winner of two awards at the Sundance Film Festival, including Best Screenplay, and created with the close participation of Dr. Zimbardo himself, ‘The Stanford Prison Experiment’ is a chilling, edge-of-your-seat thriller about the dark side of power and the effects of imprisonment. Featuring an extraordinary cast of rising young actors, including Ezra Miller, Olivia Thirlby, Tye Sheridan, Keir Gilchrist, Michael Angarano, and Thomas Mann.


The Stanford Prison Experiment opens on July 17th and hits VOD on July 24th.

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