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 2,518 users   Metascore: 76/100
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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?


Shot on 16 millimeter film in about six weeks. See more »


In the second part of the film, the scene at Fred's cabin: When the camera moves surrounds the cabin, at one point the shadow of the camera is clearly projected on the wooden wall. See more »


References The Third Man (1949) See more »


Lili Marleen
Music: Norbert Schultze
Lyrics: Hans Leip
Performed by: Solange Pradel
See more »

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User Reviews

R.W. Fassbinder as Cybernetician
11 March 2010 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

It is an interesting fact that metaphysics by Platon and Aristoteles, formal logic and abstract ontology form about those sciences that most people are not interested in. But then, around one thousand years after Aristoteles, the computer began to usurp the human thinking, and the humans who were refusing to reflect questions of being other than biological, physical and chemical ones, suddenly felt paralyzed because they could not cope with the consequences that this computers would bring "over night". R.W. Fassbinder's "Welt Am Draht", together with Tarkovsky's "Solaris" and Godard's "Alphaville", is probably the first movie who took the philosophical questions of emerging computer science as a basis of a story to be told in a movie. The confusing questions about identities and realities are cleverly built into different interwoven criminal stories which the audience really tries to follow because it is interested to solve the cases. Fassbinder was a master to sell highly abstracts contents to his public by embedding theoretical knowledge into practical, appetizing forms. The basis problem to understand is that an identity defines a reality, but on the other side, a reality also requires identity in order to be perceived. The idea of a person with multiple identities is known to us solely from the standpoint of psychiatry. However, logically spoken, the only reason why we have just one identity, is the fact that our logic has only two values (right and false). Now take a logic with just one more value, i.e. with three: Then, as you can easily see, you have already three identities. What happens now, when, let us say, Dr. Stiller gets killed? Then, it is quite possible that only one of three identities is abolished and the other two remain and are able to rescue the individual from death. Another question is, if a person with multiple identities actually feels these identities at once. The idea, however, to display such sets of identities in a up-down or down-up way as shown in the scene with the elevator in the hotel, is misleading, since identities and hence realities are not structured in Hierarchical, but in a Heterarchical way. Strictly speaking, there is no "artificial identity" either, since each identity is defined over two objects who share all of their features with one another. Therefore, the idea of assuming that every individual has just one single identity is nothing but a consequence of ancient two-valued logic either (a second identity would imply that a person, at the same time, exists and not-exists). But now look around and see that one and the same object (which is by definition self-identical) is perceived by every subject in its own way. If therefore every subject sees an object differently, why should it no be possible for the single individual to open the borders of his two-valued individuality-corset, with the effect that different persons can exchange their different Individualities? Fassbinder would five years later pick up this topic in his masterpiece "Despair. A trip into the light".

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