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Man on Wire (2008)

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A look at tightrope walker Philippe Petit's daring, but illegal, high-wire routine performed between New York City's World Trade Center's twin towers in 1974, what some consider, "the artistic crime of the century".



(based on the book "To Reach the Clouds" by)
Won 1 Oscar. Another 45 wins & 11 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Himself (as Jean-François Heckel)
Himself (as N. Barry Greenhouse)
Guy F. Tozzoli ...
Himself (as Guy Tozzoli)
Philippe - Drama Reconstructions
David Demato ...
Jean-Louis - Drama Reconstructions
Ardis Campbell ...
Annie - Drama Reconstructions
Aaron Haskell ...
Jean-François - Drama Reconstructions
Shawn Dempewolff-Barrett ...
David - Drama Reconstructions (as Shawn Dempewolff)


On August 7, 1974, Philippe Petit, a French wire walker, juggler, and street performer days shy of his 25th birthday, spent 45 minutes walking, dancing, kneeling, and lying on a wire he and friends strung between the rooftops of the Twin Towers. Uses contemporary interviews, archival footage, and recreations to tell the story of his previous walks between towers of Notre Dame and of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, his passions and friendships, and the details of the night before the walk: getting cable into the towers, hiding from guards, and mounting the wire. It ends with observations of the profound changes the walk's success brought to Philippe and those closest to him. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


1974. 1350 feet up. The artistic crime of the century.

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some sexuality and nudity, and drug references | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:

| |  »





Release Date:

29 August 2008 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Man on Wire - Der Drahtseilakt  »

Filming Locations:



Box Office


£1,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$51,392, 27 July 2008, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$2,957,978, 1 March 2009
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on  »

Technical Specs



Sound Mix:


| (some scenes)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


The same story is covered by the children's picture book, The Man Who Walked Between the Towers (2007) by Mordicai Gerstein, and the film, The Walk (2015), featuring Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Philippe Petit. See more »


In the reenaction of Philippe Petit and his friend hiding from the night watchman at the WTC, a box on the floor has a present-day USPS logo. See more »


Philippe Petit: If I die, what a beautiful death!
See more »


References A Clockwork Orange (1971) See more »


Leaving Home
Written by J. Ralph
Published by Tubby and the Spaniard Music Publishing
See more »

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User Reviews

Simply amazing
20 June 2008 | by See all my reviews

I too saw this at the Waterfront Film Festival, and wow, what an experience.

It is hard to put into words just how good this film is, and on just how many levels it works. It is intensely fun, good-natured, laugh-out-loud funny at times, poignant and heart-wrenching at others. The images, not just of the central feat, but of many of Philippe Petit's performances are arresting and jaw-droppingly beautiful. Each of the supporting characters is colorful and entertaining in his or her own way, but none more so than Petit himself, who is so instantly likable that it is hard not to get immediately drawn in to this fascinating tale.

Even with this description, I am not doing the film justice. I have not seen a film this good in years. If you have a chance (I believe it is scheduled for release in August), GO SEE THIS MOVIE.

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