The Stanford Prison Experiment - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Stanford Prison Experiment Reviews

September 25, 2015
The acting is uniformly strong and the camera work is winningly claustrophobic, but the film is one note: scene after scene of bullying.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
August 14, 2015
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.
Read More | Original Score: 3.5/4
August 7, 2015
This is not an uplifting movie, and its progress can be grueling. But it has a lot to say about how we let roles define us, how fragile personalities are and how context shapes reality.
Full Review | Original Score: B
July 31, 2015
The film works hard to keep up the suspense: how far will the guards go? How much can the prisoners take? At what point, if any, will Zimbardo and his team intervene? And is his experiment scientific? Objective? Humane? Worthwhile?
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
July 30, 2015
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.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
July 30, 2015
Billy Crudup gives a fine performance as Dr. Philip Zimbardo, who engineered the whole thing and was then pulled into his own power trip.
July 30, 2015
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.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
July 30, 2015
The movie ... inevitably fights against its own sense of dulled outrage and methodical role-playing. But it's pretty gripping all the same.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
July 30, 2015
Straightforward yet gripping and claustrophobic
| Original Score: 4/5
July 24, 2015
A riveting re-enaction of the still-notorious study. The young cast is electrifying.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
July 23, 2015
It does make for a fascinating, if skin-crawling, two hours at the movies, and Angarano is a charismatic manipulator, both in and out of character.
July 22, 2015
That this was a controversial experiment, whose findings have been the subject of debate ever since, comes as no surprise. But history, before and since, suggests that it encapsulates an essential truth.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
July 22, 2015
From start to finish, Alvarez and screenwriter Tim Talbott have the audience in lockdown mode in this claustrophobic nail-biter.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
July 21, 2015
Fortunately, terrific performances from Ezra Miller as "Prisoner 8612" and Michael Angarano as an overlord keep you from hoping for an early release.
Full Review | Original Score: B
July 21, 2015
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.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
July 19, 2015
It is remarkable ... that The Stanford Prison Experiment works as well as it does, and for as long as it does.
July 17, 2015
Alvarez captures an emotional immediacy and risk that is deliberately excluded from academic debate.
July 17, 2015
No matter how much it may adhere to the well-documented specifics of Zimbardo's work, it is a massive failure.
Full Review | Original Score: 1.5/4
July 16, 2015
Alvarez captures the sickly green and dingy gray environment, and even though he emphasizes the claustrophobic nature of the stuffy hallway, brings movement and dynamism to the space.
July 16, 2015
Fine ensemble acting brings a notorious psychological study to life in "The Stanford Prison Experiment."
July 16, 2015
The experiment's inherent drama is exacted with a tin ear and a cheesy style.
Full Review | Original Score: 1/5
July 15, 2015
A painful watch, leavened only by its infatuation with Seventies period design and the horrors of Brady Bunch fashion.
Full Review | Original Score: B-
July 15, 2015
The result is a viscerally unsettling experience, and a testament to the enduring relevance of the study's findings on the psychology of incarceration.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
July 14, 2015
Disturbing, honest and compelling, "The Stanford Prison Experiment" turns a well-known story into must-see storytelling, depicting the ugly truth through gorgeous filmmaking.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
July 14, 2015
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.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
January 30, 2015
The ugly spectacle of college kids stripping other college kids naked, in a humiliating show of dominance, speaks disturbing volumes.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
January 30, 2015
Alvarez is trying to capture something not just about human behavior but the institutions that shape it, and he mostly gets there.
January 30, 2015
Tim Talbott's dense script provides much to discuss and argue about, providing both left and right with talking points.
January 30, 2015
For all its flaws it's a rich, thought-provoking film which, while challenging, is not without humor and visual pleasures.
January 27, 2015
The combination of relentless forward drive and gruesomely fastidious detail, while audacious and admirable in theory, begins to pay dwindling returns in a picture that feels rather longer than its 122-minute running time.