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Standard Operating Procedure (2008)

Megan Ambuhl Graner , Javal Davis , Errol Morris  |  R |  DVD
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Megan Ambuhl Graner, Javal Davis, Ken Davis, Anthony Diaz, Tim Dugan
  • Directors: Errol Morris
  • Producers: Errol Morris, Amanda Branson Gill, Ann Petrone, Diane Weyermann, Julie Ahlberg
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: Chinese, English, French, Portuguese, Spanish
  • Dubbed: French
  • Region: Region 1 encoding (US and Canada only)
    Some Region 1 DVDs may contain Regional Coding Enhancement (RCE). Some, but not all, of our international customers have had problems playing these enhanced discs on what are called "region-free" DVD players. For more information on RCE, click .
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: October 14, 2008
  • Run Time: 116 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001DPHDA6
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #151,408 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Standard Operating Procedure" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Witness one of the worst debacles in American military history. Enter Abu Ghraib. This award-winning documentary uncovers the dramatic series of events that led to torture, international outrage, and forced a president to apologize to the world.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
177 of 215 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars SOP Obscures The Truth September 21, 2008
Representatives for film director Errol Morris told me during pre-production that "Standard Operating Procedure" would be the very best documentary on the abuses of Iraqi detainees at Abu Ghraib - the one that would tell the whole truth.

I had pinned great hope on that. It didn't turn out that way.

My perspective on the Abu Ghraib scandal came from spending from September 2003 to February 2004 at the Iraq prison as a sergeant in Army Intelligence. Working the 8 p.m.-to- 8 a.m. night shift, it was impossible not to notice who was directing the operation. And I shared all this with Morris.

But now I've seen the film and I'm disappointed. Morris does little to get to the bottom of what happened. He muddies already opaque waters regarding who was actually responsible for the abuse of prisoners.

The film focuses on the awful photos, the people in them and those who took them. This perspective plays right into the hands of the cover-up artists. It perpetuates the myth that the abuses are rightfully laid at the feet of those impressionable, but very human, young soldiers.

Morris should have been looking up the chain of command; at the civilian and military officials actually responsible for ordering these Military Police Reservists to rough up prisoners.

A no-holds-barred documentary? Give me a break.

Finally, the Whole Truth!

I was first put into contact with the makers of "SOP" while I was still in the Army. From the beginning, I was told this was going to be a huge project with the production support of Sony Pictures Entertainment; and that Morris, who had won an Oscar with his documentary, "The Fog of War," would be at the helm.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Reviewer "From Hades" spends 1,620 words supporting a thesis that can be stated in a sentence: The civilian interrogators were responsible for Abu Ghraib, and this film is flawed because it doesn't suggest that.

The reviewer makes clear that he believes the film spends too much time "humanizing" the military personnel when instead it should have been placing blame. He wanted the film to single out the civilian interrogators as the responsible persons so that, I guess, we can wipe our hands and move on.

It's distressing that his is the top-rated review because he is doing the precise thing that the film magnifies to absurdity: Telling the simple story, reaching the simple conclusion, identifying the "bad guys," and being satisfied with your tidy little explanation.

It's easier to theorize about human behavior than it is to look at it.

It's easy to look at the photos from Abu Ghraib and construct stories. A social psychologist might say that Abu Ghraib illustrates the results of the Stanford Prison Experiment. An economist might say that "rational" people were responding to grim incentives. An evolutionary biologist might say that Abu Ghraib merely shows apes gone amok amid environmental pressures. A neurochemist might say that the military personnel were experiencing a severe chemical imbalance in the brain.

It's hard to do what Errol Morris did, which is to examine the events that actually happened and listen to the people involved. The result -- this movie -- shows how grossly inadequate simple stories can be.

Before watching Errol Morris's films, it's important to understand that he does not make traditional "issue" or "historical" documentaries like you might see on PBS.
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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Morris turns his eye to the War May 19, 2008
In the past year, there have been a number of fiction films released all of which attempt to dramatize various aspects of the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Many of these films were well made, and share common themes. But they also have something else in common. They all flopped and failed to ignite the public moving them to action.

Now, the well-known documentarian Errol Morris ("Mr. Death", "The Thin Blue Line", "The Fog of War") turns his eye to one small part of the current conflict, Abu Ghraib.

Morris, like Michael Moore, is an unconventional documentarian. Both almost overtly inject themselves, their thoughts and views into their exploration of the subject matter. And both are usually criticized for this practice. Every good documentary displays the filmmaker's strong point of view. This is why the film is made in the first place, someone wants to share their view on a topic, the filmmaker was interested, disturbed, concerned about something. Moore has been criticized because he has taken on politically charged ideas. Morris is now turning his eye on politically themed ideas and is receiving similar criticism. In my mind, even when their films are flawed, they are interesting and meaningful because the directors are passionate about their point of view. Why would you want to see a documentary without a strong point of view? Such a film would be boring and pointless.

I would find it hard to believe that you haven't seen at least one picture to come out of this prison in Iraq, a prison the American forces took over and converted into an interrogation facility for the prisoners they were also holding there. As soon as the story broke, some of the pictures were shown on every news show and cable network ad nausea until the next big story broke.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Published 12 days ago by what
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Documentary
This is an excellent documentary that looks into the prison abuse in Iraq during the 2nd Iraq war. It's bone chilling and informative, but don't be surprised if some find it... Read more
Published 15 months ago by Blackdawn
5.0 out of 5 stars Soldier Operating Procedure
"Standard Operating Procedure" follows the plight of what happened to some of the former soldiers from the Abu Gharaib Prison scandal. Read more
Published 15 months ago by marriedutopianstriver
4.0 out of 5 stars No subtitle
Everything is fine except there's no subtitle. I bought it for some assignments in university but there's no subtitle. There are many online free version. With $9. Read more
Published 23 months ago by Frances
1.0 out of 5 stars Typical liberal bullsh-t
It's just a shame that people like this director,has got more compassion on the monster terrorists,than the actual victims that these maniacs have killed. Read more
Published on September 11, 2012 by SideshowBob
5.0 out of 5 stars Important film about human nature under extreme conditions
PROS: This deep and gripping documentary film investigates the context of the infamous photographs taken at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq in 2003-2004 that show the abuse of Iraqi... Read more
Published on July 31, 2011 by Timur Shtatland
5.0 out of 5 stars Well done doc
Mr Morris is a marvelous culture reflector and I was mesmerized by his slice of American service prison of war culture. Like it or not, these folks are sharing their truths. Read more
Published on April 2, 2011 by Frank Barker
3.0 out of 5 stars Heard on TAL
I heard a piece on this American Life and decided to buy the film. After all, the radio show convinced me that this would be great. Read more
Published on March 10, 2011 by Karl Kronlage
5.0 out of 5 stars Are you listening?
This docu-movie has the actual people who served in Abu Graib sit down and tell you about their experiences! It's that simple! Read more
Published on September 4, 2010 by Borat's Bad Brother
2.0 out of 5 stars No Critical Eye-- Misses an Opportunity to Find the Real Story
I was intrigued by the tagline: "The Scandal Was A Coverup." This was promising, because we know that the reversal from denial to an enthusiastic "investigation" only occured when... Read more
Published on June 17, 2010 by D. Millar
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