World on a Wire (1973)
"Welt am Draht" (original title)

TV Mini-Series  -   -  Crime | Sci-Fi
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 2,500 users   Metascore: 76/100
Reviews: 19 user | 55 critic | 7 from

Somewhere in the future there is a computer project called Simulacron one of which is able to simulate a full featured reality, when suddenly project leader Henry Vollmer dies. His ... See full summary »

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Klaus Löwitsch ...
Barbara Valentin ...
 Gloria Fromm
Mascha Rabben ...
 Eva Vollmer
Karl Heinz Vosgerau ...
 Herbert Siskins (as Karl-Heinz Vosgerau)
Wolfgang Schenck ...
 Franz Hahn
Günter Lamprecht ...
 Fritz Walfang
 Rupp, Journalist
Adrian Hoven ...
 Professor Henry Vollmer (as Adrian Hooven)
Ivan Desny ...
 Günther Lause
Joachim Hansen ...
 Hans Edelkern
Kurt Raab ...
 Mark Holm
Margit Carstensen ...
 Maya Schmidt-Gentner
Ingrid Caven ...
 Uschi, secretary
Rudolf Lenz ...


Somewhere in the future there is a computer project called Simulacron one of which is able to simulate a full featured reality, when suddenly project leader Henry Vollmer dies. His successor Dr. Fred Stiller experiences odd phenomena. A good friend, Guenther Lause, disappears in the middle of a conversation and a week later nobody has ever heard of him. And those fits of dizzyness - Stiller cannot believe himself to be fool. There has to be an explanation for all this. Could Simulacron have something to do with it? Written by Oliver Heidelbach

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Sci-Fi


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

14 October 1973 (West Germany)  »

Also Known As:

World on a Wire  »

Box Office


DEM 950,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


(2 parts)

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


In 2010, a new version, completely restored by the Rainer Werner Fassbinder Foundation, made its premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival. See more »


In the beginning of Part 1 around the 7:10 mark as the camera does a long pull away from Professor Vollmer and Lause, a crewman's (possibly the camera operator) shoe can be seen reflected in the mirrored pedestal with the bust on top of it in the right hand bottom corner of the screen. See more »


Referenced in The Matrix (1999) See more »


Hör mein Lied, Violetta
by Othmar Klose, Rudi Lukesch, and Leone Sinigaglia
Performed by Alfred Hause and His Orchestra
(P) 1962 Polydor
Courtesy Universal Music Domestic Division
See more »

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User Reviews

Not one of Fassbinder's best works, but it's certainly interesting, and the visuals are exceptional
18 August 2013 | by (Saint Paul, MN) – See all my reviews

Recently rediscovered TV film made by Fassbinder in the mid-70s, it's an early film dealing with the sci-fi concept of virtual reality. The subject became really popular in the late 90s with the mega-hit The Matrix and several other more cultish flicks like Dark City, eXistenZ and The Thirteenth Floor (which was actually based on the same novel as World on a Wire). This is notably less cheesy than a lot of 70s sci-fi, though 70s styles are ever-present in the decor. I don't know if I'd say it's as fun as some of those cheesy 70s sci-fis, though. The film is split into two parts, and, as a whole, runs about three and a half hours. They probably could have cut it down a lot, because it really drags at times. The one thing I really love about it is the visuals. It might be Fassbinder's most visually resplendent work. I doubt someone watching it on a television screen in 1973 (probably the great majority watched it in black and white) could have appreciated the gorgeousness of it. The Criterion Blu Ray is gorgeous and very unique looking. As long as it was, the visuals always kept me enthralled. Like a lot of early Fassbinder films, it's a bit dry and could use some more interesting characters - he became a much better director starting around this same time when he started embracing melodrama.

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