The Thirteenth Floor
File:The Thirteenth Floor poster.jpg
The Thirteenth Floor theatrical poster
Directed by Josef Rusnak
Written by Daniel F. Galouye (book)
Josef Rusnak (screenplay)
Ravel Centeno-Rodriguez (screenplay)
Starring Craig Bierko
Armin Mueller-Stahl
Gretchen Mol
Vincent D'Onofrio
Dennis Haysbert
Cinematography Wedigo von Schultzendorff
Editing by Henry Richardson
Release date(s) 25px 28 May 1999
25px 2 September 1999
Running time 100 min.
Country 22x20px United States 25px Germany
Language English
Budget $16,000,000 (estimated)
Gross revenue Domestic
United Kingdom15
United StatesR

The Thirteenth Floor is a 1999 film directed by Josef Rusnak, produced by Roland Emmerich and starring Craig Bierko, Gretchen Mol, Armin Mueller-Stahl, Vincent D'Onofrio, and Dennis Haysbert. The film is loosely based on the novel Simulacron-3 by Daniel F. Galouye and the German mini-series Welt am Draht (World on Wires) by Rainer Werner Fassbinder.

In 2000, The Thirteenth Floor was nominated for the Saturn Award for Best Science Fiction Film. (However, the award went to The Matrix.)


In late 1990s Los Angeles, Hannon Fuller (Armin Mueller-Stahl) is the owner of a multi-billion dollar computer enterprise and the inventor of a newly completed virtual reality simulation (VR) of 1937 Los Angeles. When Fuller is murdered just as he begins premature testing of the system, his friend and protégé Douglas Hall (Craig Bierko) finds himself the primary suspect, and begins to doubt his own innocence.

Between questioning by LAPD Detective Larry McBain (Dennis Haysbert), Hall meets Jane Fuller (Gretchen Mol), who he is surprised to learn is Fuller's estranged daughter. Hall develops a romance with Jane, who we soon find out is attempting to shut down the new VR system. When a local bartender who witnessed a meeting between Hall and Fuller on the night of the murder is himself found murdered, Hall is imprisoned. He is soon released though, after Jane provides him with an alibi.

Seeking answers, Hall attempts to track down a message left by Fuller inside the simulation. Within the system, Hall learns that Jerry Ashton, a bartender (Vincent D'Onofrio) has stumbled upon the truth about his artificial nature by reading the message intended for Hall. Frightened and angry, Ashton attempts to kill Hall, who barely escapes the system in time.

Now unable to find Jane, Hall discovers her double, Natasha Molinaro (also Gretchen Mol), working as a grocery store clerk — but Molinaro seems not to recognize Hall. This leads Hall to perform an experiment outside the VR system, something that Fuller had instructed him to try in his letter: He tried to drive to a place where he never would have considered going otherwise. When he arrived, he saw that the area and everything within it didn't exist, and was instead replaced by wire frame models.

Finally understanding the meaning of Fuller's message, Hall realizes the truth — that his own world of 1990s Los Angeles is itself a fabricated simulation.

Several revelations follow: Hall's virtual world is one of thousands, but is also the only one that developed a virtual world of their own. Jane actually lives in the "real world", and only participated in the 1990's simulation in order to assume the identity of Fuller's daughter, gain control of the company, and shutdown the simulated 1937 reality. Hall himself is modeled after Jane's real-world husband David, who has begun to seek pleasure by murdering people in the 1990's simulation. It was David who had performed the murders, while controlling Hall's body, because he had become jealous when his wife Jane fell in love with Hall within the simulation.

Whitney (also Vincent D'Onofrio), Hall's associate, enters the simulated 1937 and assumes the role of Ashton, who has kidnapped Ferguson and bound him in the trunk of his vehicle. When Whitney is killed in an automobile accident, Ashton's consciousness is released into Whitney's body (in the 1990's). Ashton kills a security guard, David (Bierko yet again) assumes control of Hall, kills Ashton, and attempts to rape and murder Jane. She is saved by Detective McBain, who shoots and kills David.

The death causes Hall's consciousness to be released into David's body, and he wakes to find himself in 2024, connected to a VR system. He disconnects the system and finds Jane and her father, who looks very much like the man he was accused of killing in his original reality, Hannon Fuller.


The plot parallels with well known existentialist themes as portrayed in The Matrix and eXistenZ all released the same year, and Dark City, a year before. The Thirteenth Floor received overall negative reviews. [1]

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es:The Thirteenth Floor fa:طبقه سیزدهم fr:Passé Virtuel it:Il tredicesimo piano he:הקומה השלוש עשרה ru:Тринадцатый этаж (фильм) tr:13. Kat (film)