Welt am Draht (1973)

West Germany, 14 October -16 October 1973
1 series, 2 episodes, average 102m each
16mm film, colour, 4:3
mono, German

A West German science fiction television mini-series directed by Rainer Werner Fassbinder. The two-part series has also been released as a single theatrical film.


At the Institute for Cybernetics and Future Science, supercomputer Simulacron is running a program that houses over 9,000 “identity units” who live as human beings. When project leader Professor Vollmer dies in a mysterious accident, his successor, Dr Fred Stiller finds that things are not as they seem at the institute. A security adviser disappears, an identity units attempts suicide and his colleague Fritz Walfang is possessed by another unit, Einstein…


A film by: Rainer Werner Fassbinder
© Westdeutscher Rundfunk Köln 1973
Produced by: Peter Märthesheimer, Alexander Wesemann
Script: Fritz Müller-Scherz and Rainer Werner Fassbinder
By: Daniel F. Galouye [based on the novel Simulacron-3]
Directors of Photography: Michael Ballhaus, Ulrich Prinz
Editors: Marie Anne Gerhardt, Ursula Elles
Music by: Gottfried Hüngsberg
Sound: Ernst Thomas, Hans Pampuch
Costume Designer: Gabriele Pillon
Makeup Artists: Rosemarie Schönartz, Norbert Gerwin
Art Directors: Kurt Raab, Horst Giese, Walter Koch

Klaus Löwitsch [Fred Stiller]
Barbara Valentin [Gloria Fromm]
Mascha Rabben [Eva Vollmer]
Karl-Heinz Vosgerau [Herbert Siskins]
Wolfgang Schenck [Franz Hahn]
Günter Lamprecht [Fritz Walfang]
Ulli Lommel [Rupp, journalist]
Adrian Hoven [Professor Henry Vollmer]
Ivan Desny [Günther Lause]
Joachim Hansen [Hans Edelkern]
Kurt Raab [Mark Holm]
Margit Carstensen [Maya Schmidt-Gentner]
Ingrid Caven [Uschi, secretary]


14 October 1973
16 October 1973

Alternative Titles

Le monde sur le fil – French title
Il mondo sul filo – Italian title
El mundo conectado – Spanish title
O Mundo no Arame – Portuguese title
Swiat na drucie – Polish title
Verden i en tråd – Danish title
World on a Wire – English language title

See also
The Thirteenth Floor (1999)


Science Fiction Film and Television vol.2 no.2 (Autumn 2009) pp.269-279 – illustrated article (The perfect panopticon: Rainer Werner Fassbinder's Welt am Draht by Florian Leitner)
Sight & Sound vol20 no.6 (June 2010) pp.12-13 – illustrated article (Rushes: Total recall by Tony Rayns)