In this movie there are scientists who (spoilers ahead)

...are creating a simulation. One scientist starts seeing odd looking characters but no one else sees them. He asks around and more and more characters are missing or don't know about the characters in the story he knows about.
He finds out that he is part of a simulation. He finds out that the characters only he remembers have been deleted. He also finds out that there are characters from his own simulation that have broken free of his simulation and are in his world.

Hints: I remember this being an older film (70's?); it might have been foreign film possibly with subtitles (not Hollywood); it might have been part of the Criterion collection; I'm pretty sure I streamed it from Hulu. Sorry, I can't remember more details.

2 Answers 2


"Welt am Draht" (German for "World on a Wire"), based on the book Simulacron-3 (1964) by Daniel F. Galouye, also published under the title Counterfeit World. Per Wikipedia:

At the Institute for Cybernetics and Future Science ("Institut für Kybernetik und Zukunftsforschung, IKZ"), a new supercomputer hosts a simulation program that includes an artificial world with over 9,000 "identity units" who live as human beings, unaware that their world is just a simulacron.

Re: "characters only he knows have been deleted", also from Wikipedia:

His successor, Dr. Fred Stiller, has a discussion with Günther Lause, the security adviser of the institute, when the latter suddenly disappears without trace, before passing on Vollmer's secret to Stiller. More mysterious still is the fact that none of the other IKZ employees seem to have any memory of Lause.

And the escape of some identity units to his world:

In an attempt to become a real person, Einstein switches his mind into Walfang's body while the latter is in contact with the simulated world.

And it's in German, from 1973.

This story has been previously asked about and answered successfully here.

  • "+1" and "thanks". I've been looking for this for a long time. Thank you! Mar 11, 2015 at 9:29

There are two films that come into my mind, but neither fully fits your description. But I answer anyway, just in case:

13th Floor from 1999: IMDb page

So it is more recent than the one you mention and it is an English film, but it has a simluation within a simulation.

The second one is Avalon which is even newer (2001): IMDb page

This has no nested simulation as far as I remember but it is Polish in the original and even shot in Poland. The simulation is a war game.

  • 4
    i really enjoyed the 13th floor! Worth a watch
    – Jimmery
    Mar 11, 2015 at 13:42
  • 7
    IIRC 13th floor was also based on Simulacron-3, the accepted answer's origin.
    – Zommuter
    Mar 11, 2015 at 13:43
  • Avalon is Japanese. We in CZE sadly don't have quality sci-fi movies. Well there were adaptations of Jules Verne books, but that's about it. It's a shame, given the number of Czech sci-fi writers.
    – jnovacho
    Mar 12, 2015 at 8:56
  • @jnovacho the creator is Japanese, but the movie was shot in Poland and is spoken in Polish (not Czech though), but as a central european I can't identify eastern Europe languages.
    – Thomas
    Mar 12, 2015 at 9:28
  • I see, I based my comment on the first few lines of IMDB as I have not actually seen this movie.
    – jnovacho
    Mar 12, 2015 at 9:30

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