Blu-ray, DVD Release: World On a Wire

Blu-ray & DVD Release Date: Feb. 21, 2011
Price: DVD $29.95, Blu-ray $39.95
Studio: Criterion

World on a Wire movie scene

The future has a look all its own in Fassbinder's 1973 film World on a Wire.

The 1973 science-fiction drama World On a Wire, a 3½-hour movie made for German television by Rainer Werner Fassbinder (I Only Want You To Love Me), is a very inventive and equally paranoid film about the future.

With dashes of Stanley Kubrick (A Clockwork Orange) and novelists Kurt Vonnegut and Philip K. Dick, World on a Wire tells the noir-spiked tale of a reluctant hero, Fred Stiller (Klaus Lowitsch, Fassbinder’s Despair), a cybernetics engineer who uncovers a massive corporate conspiracy. His discovery involves the reality of life itself, which Stiller learns might very well be an artificial creation. It’s a heady idea that results in the deaths of those who know too much about it — and a concept that’s referred to today as “virtual reality.”

“Rediscovered” a few years back, the surreal and satirical World on a Wire enjoyed a critically lauded limited release to theaters in the U.S. (and around the world) in 2010.

On the Criterion Blu-ray and DVD, the film has a new high-definition digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition. Plus, the movie comes with new English subtitles.

Both versions also have these special features:

  • Fassbinder’s “World on a Wire”: Looking Ahead to Today, a 50-minute documentary about the making of the film by Juliane Lorenz
  • new interview with German-film scholar Gerd Gemünden
  • trailer for the 2010 theatrical release
  • booklet featuring an essay by film critic Ed Halter

Here’s the film’s trailer:


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About Laurence

Founder and editor Laurence Lerman saw Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest when he was 13 years old and that’s all it took. He has been writing about film and video for more than a quarter of a century for magazines, anthologies, websites and most recently, Video Business magazine, where he served as the Reviews Editor for 15 years.