FRAT BOYS goes inside the shadowy, elite world of the American college fraternity, notorious for hard drinking and secret rituals. Membership has its privileges, but these organizations are also accused of fostering a culture of brutality and sexual assault.

At first glance the images are benign: grand houses, manicured lawns, places brimming with youthful energy But, behind closed doors, U.S. fraternity houses can be something very different: mysterious places with a powerful emphasis on belonging and success that can lead to degradation and excess.

So why join? Many say it’s all about meeting the right people and making the right connections; fraternities provide access to a powerful network of alumni throughout the US.

They point to the fact that membership has professional and financial rewards. After all, since 1900 frat houses have produced 18 U.S. presidents, 80 per cent of U.S. Supreme Court justices and 85 percent of Fortune 500 executives.

FRAT BOYS grants unprecedented access to "The Gazoni Family", a fraternity at the University of Central Florida. For one term, the film follows a group of new recruits as they embark on the pledging process. It reveals the lengths some young men will go to get what they see as an entrée into a world of wealth and success, and to prove themselves and their manhood.

Every year students are injured or die in initiation rituals, known as hazing, and some argue the way the fraternity system is set up allows sexual assaults to occur during drunken campus parties.

With stories from fraternities across the United States, a disturbing picture emerges of brotherhood and bonding that can have devastating - even deadly - consequences. With their roots in ancient traditions, modern day fraternity houses continue to flourish. They do so even as universities struggle to keep young people healthy, safe and alive.

Credits (Click to expand)

NARRATOR

Joseph Radcliffe

ARCHIVE RESEARCHER

Rebecca Forsey

ARCHIVE

Getty Images

Corbis

ON-LINE EDITOR

Adam Grant

COLOURIST

Vicki Matich

DUBBING MIXER

Ross Millership

PRODUCTION TEAM ASSISTANTS

Isma Iqbal

Jake Loveland

PRODUCTION COORDINATOR

Toby Keeley

PRODUCTION MANAGER

Simon Frost

UNIT MANAGER

Emily Yeatman

PRODUCER

Sarah Foudy

FILM EDITOR

Chris Brainwood

FILMED AND DIRECTED BY

Chris Taylor

EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS

Sarah Waldron

Sam Bagnall

BBC Productions

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