In the movie The Prestige, Angier, with the help of Tesla, introduces a machine that can clone whatever falls into it in his performance. However, we also know that the original Angier might have ended up either in the water tank or as The Prestige of the performance.

We know the clones looked perfectly similar to the original; however, were the clones mentally and emotionally exactly the same as the original? In this sense, would the clone know the original Angier's past, his entire story with Borden and Julia, and the strain and enemity?

In the last confrontation scene between Borden and Angier at the old magic hall (where Angier stores his clones in water tanks), the Angier talking to Borden is a clone, but the confrontation happens like it's between Borden and the original Angier, as if the clone knew everything that happened in the past, as if he had first-hand faced the betrayal and witnessed Julia's death. As if the clone knows the whole story and reason for ending up being shot by Borden.

screencap of the scene described above
screencap of the scene described above

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    "the Angier talking to Borden is a clone" -- says who?
    – BCdotWEB
    Commented May 18, 2017 at 7:25

3 Answers 3


The clones know and feel everything exactly the same as the original.

It is the only way that makes Angier unsure of whether he is the original or not. We know they are exactly the same because he kills on different occasions the new clone and the original one.

If the clones didn't feel or think exactly the same, then Angier would have eventually known if he was the Prestige or the one falling in the water tank.

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    Also, since the first time he performs it he kills the one in the stands and in future performances kills the one at the stage, then the ones created in the stands must have all those memories or the plan would never be followed up on. I love the movie but kind of hate this - from the original's perspective he killed a copy/clone in the stands the first time, but every time after that he kills "himself." He acted on blind faith that the stands-copy would be exactly like him and continue his vendetta with Borden.
    – sirjonsnow
    Commented May 18, 2017 at 13:42
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    @sirjonsnow: But if the clones are indistinguishable from the original, how can we know that the original isn't teleported to the stands? It makes as much sense that Angier teleports and an imprint remains. In that case, it was the first clone (the one who stayed on the stage) who killed Angiers (in the stands), and who has kept killing the next clones (because he then kills the new clones on stage). There could be a single killer out there. The first clone, who both knew that Angiers would kill him and can prevent future clones from doing the same to him by immediately drowning them.
    – Flater
    Commented May 18, 2017 at 14:25
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    @Flater - to me, the reaction of the one on the stage the first time it happens is that he hasn't moved at all and a copy appeared in the stands. Your example would be an interesting case, but I don't think they tried to imply that. But, this is all subjective.
    – sirjonsnow
    Commented May 18, 2017 at 17:31
  • @sirjonsnow: I think the key here is the reaction of the one on stage the first time. Angier never performed the trick before, he didn't know what to expect. Both original Angier and clone Angier will think they are the original Angier (since there is no way to tell the difference and both men remember everything from before the cloning), so their initial surprise reaction would have been the same regardless of who is the clone.
    – Flater
    Commented May 19, 2017 at 6:56
  • @Flater - yes, that's my point. To the one on stage he's "real" and the other must be a clone, fake, whatever. So it's pretty nuts (IMO) to then set the trick so the one at the stage will die and you're counting on the other to also be a "real" you and continue the plan. It would make more sense to me if the stands version killed the stage version the first time - I'm in the stands now, so I don't care if I kill that stage version of me every time.
    – sirjonsnow
    Commented May 19, 2017 at 12:33

They aren't clones, they are duplicates created by Tesla's machine.

Since they exactly the same person as at the time the duplicate was created they would have all the same memories and experiences as the original and thus feel and act the same way as the original.


I think the film version makes it seems like they are one in the same, especially since the film does not give the time to explore 'nature and nurture' argument from the point of creation, but the novel makes it much more of a debate. And so this answer may be marginally relative for those that wonder about the possibility, since it DOES exist as a point of interest in source material.

Like many film adaptations The Prestige is, in some ways, a watered-down version of the novel, as the novel explores the duplicates a bit further, and in a slightly different way than the film does.

Instead of the clones being "corporeal" like the original Angier, they are incorporeal--ghost-like images. The novel ends with the incorporeal Angier reuniting with the corporeal one, whose dying with the hopes to use Tesla's machine to transport himself into the dead body of the original Angier! But the following paragraph from Wikipedia about a plot with incorporeal Angier and one of the Bordens makes clear that the incorporeal one does not follow through, because of his sense of morality--so one could argue that the incorporeal duplicate, may be more moral than the original Angier, depending if one views Angier as amoral.

The duplicate Angier, alienated from the world by his ghostly form, discovers Borden's secret. He attacks one of the twins before a performance. However, Borden's apparent poor health and the duplicate Angier's sense of morality prevent the assault from becoming murder. It is implied that this particular Borden dies a few days later, and the incorporeal Angier travels to meet the corporeal Angier, now living as the 14th Earl of Colderdale. They obtain Borden's diary and publish it without revealing the twins' secret. Shortly afterwards, the corporeal Angier dies and his ghostly clone uses Tesla's device to teleport himself into the body, hoping that either he will reanimate it and be whole again, or kill himself instantly. It is revealed in the final chapter that some form of Angier has continued to survive to the present day. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Prestige

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