I don't remember when the movie was from, but I saw it one to two decades ago. I just have this hazy recollection that all these people lived on what they believed was a spaceship. They are supposed to be on a long voyage to some far off solar system. But in reality they are on earth and are being studied by scientists to figure out the effects of long-term space travel on humans.

I have this visual in my mind of one character sneaking out of the supposed spaceship and that's how the other character figures out they are not on a spaceship.

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    In what country and about when did you see it? Is this a past hazy recollection from 3 years or 3 decades ago? – James Jenkins Mar 29 '14 at 10:35
  • These people weren't teenagers by any chance, were they? – Chahk Mar 29 '14 at 14:23
  • Probably closer to one to two decades than three years :) But really have no clear recollection of when. I just have this visual in my mind of one character sneaking out of the supposed spaceship and that's how the other character figures out they are not on a spaceship. But I have no clear recollection of when I saw this. – Fahim Mar 30 '14 at 11:46
  • Nope, they weren't teenagers as far as I can recall. My (albeit hazy) memory says that they were adults who were supposed to have been there years but that's not based on a very concrete memory ... – Fahim Mar 30 '14 at 11:48
  • I don't know of a movie, but there's a short story with that plot by Kingsley Amis. Or maybe Martin--but Amis. – user35559 Nov 2 '14 at 6:45

It sounds like the BBC adaptation of the 1962 novelette "Thirteen to Centaurus" by J. G. Ballard (ISFDB, Wikipedia) which was identified by Stan in the answer to this question.

  • This sounds very much like the story I was thinking of, thanks :) At least, I can try to find the BBC adaptation and see if that was what I was thinking of ... – Fahim Mar 30 '14 at 11:54

If you're dealing with a more recent media, there was a mini series on Syfy in 2014 with that plot. The basic premise was that this mission had been "launched" in the 1950's and the government had convinced the participants they were part of a generation ship headed to far off star system. The parts set on the space ship had a very Mad Men esque vibe because these people had been insulated from modern culture and events. I've put the name in spoilers since it's a more recent show and the fact that they haven't left Earth is not immediately revealed. It's called


  • it's only mentioned in the comments, but OP said it was 1 to two decades ago that they saw this. – phantom42 Oct 7 '15 at 17:30
  • oops sorry missed that. This obviously doesn't apply then – AndrewSwerlick Oct 7 '15 at 17:36
  • Still, it's a reasonable answer to have out there for if someone is looking for a similar movie to the querents, so yo get an upvote for that. – FuzzyBoots Oct 7 '15 at 17:37

There was a similar Twilight Zone episode called "Where Is Everybody?" Except he didn't think he was on a ship.

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    What parts of it are similar to what's described in the question? What's the basic plot of the episode? – Izkata Mar 29 '14 at 19:32
  • The episode details for "Where is Everybody?" can be found here: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Where_Is_Everybody%3F But that's not the movie I was thinking of. The one I recall was not about one guy alone - it was about a whole group of people living on what they thought was a ship out in space. – Fahim Mar 30 '14 at 11:51

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