MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Up 732 this week

Man on Wire (2008)

PG-13  |   |  Documentary, Biography, History  |  29 August 2008 (USA)
7.9
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.9/10 from 32,593 users   Metascore: 89/100
Reviews: 125 user | 189 critic | 31 from Metacritic.com

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."

Director:

Writer:

(book)
Watch Trailer
0Check in
0Share...

Watch Now

$0.00 with Prime Instant Video

WATCH NOW
ON DISC

IMDb Picks: May

Visit our IMDb Picks section to see our recommendations of movies and TV shows coming out in May, sponsored by COVERGIRL.

Visit the IMDb Picks section

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 49 titles
created 03 Aug 2011
 
a list of 29 titles
created 23 Oct 2011
 
a list of 40 titles
created 23 Sep 2012
 
a list of 22 titles
created 07 Oct 2012
 
a list of 31 titles
created 7 months ago
 

Related Items

Search for "Man on Wire" on Amazon.com

Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: Man on Wire (2008)

Man on Wire (2008) on IMDb 7.9/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Man on Wire.

User Polls

Won 1 Oscar. Another 42 wins & 11 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Documentary | Crime | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

An in-depth look at the torture practices of the United States in Afghanistan, Iraq and Guantanamo Bay, focusing on an innocent taxi driver in Afghanistan who was tortured and killed in 2002.

Director: Alex Gibney
Stars: Alex Gibney, Brian Keith Allen, Moazzam Begg
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Two documentary filmmakers chronicle their time in Sonagchi, Calcutta and the relationships they developed with children of prostitutes who work the city's notorious red light district.

Directors: Zana Briski, Ross Kauffman
Stars: Kochi, Avijit Halder, Shanti Das
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A documentary on Al Gore's campaign to make the issue of global warming a recognized problem worldwide.

Director: Davis Guggenheim
Stars: Al Gore, Billy West, George Bush
Project Nim (2011)
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Tells the story of a chimpanzee taken from its mother at birth and raised like a human child by a family in a brownstone on the upper West Side in the 1970s.

Director: James Marsh
Stars: Nim Chimpsky, Stephanie LaFarge, Herbert Terrace
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A look at the annual journey of Emperor penguins as they march -- single file -- to their traditional breeding ground.

Director: Luc Jacquet
Stars: Morgan Freeman, Charles Berling, Romane Bohringer
Crazy Heart (2009)
Drama | Music | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A faded country music musician is forced to reassess his dysfunctional life during a doomed romance that also inspires him.

Director: Scott Cooper
Stars: Jeff Bridges, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Colin Farrell
Milk I (2008)
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

The story of Harvey Milk, and his struggles as an American gay activist who fought for gay rights and became California's first openly gay elected official.

Director: Gus Van Sant
Stars: Sean Penn, Josh Brolin, Emile Hirsch
Biography | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

The life story of singer Édith Piaf.

Director: Olivier Dahan
Stars: Marion Cotillard, Sylvie Testud, Pascal Greggory
Precious II (2009)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

In New York City's Harlem circa 1987, an overweight, abused, illiterate teen who is pregnant with her second child is invited to enroll in an alternative school in hopes that her life can head in a new direction.

Director: Lee Daniels
Stars: Gabourey Sidibe, Mo'Nique, Paula Patton
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A law firm brings in its "fixer" to remedy the situation after a lawyer has a breakdown while representing a chemical company that he knows is guilty in a multi-billion dollar class action suit.

Director: Tony Gilroy
Stars: George Clooney, Tilda Swinton, Tom Wilkinson
The Queen (2006)
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

After the death of Princess Diana, HM Queen Elizabeth II struggles with her reaction to a sequence of events nobody could have predicted.

Director: Stephen Frears
Stars: Helen Mirren, Michael Sheen, James Cromwell
Capote (2005)
Biography | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

In 1959, Truman Capote learns of the murder of a Kansas family and decides to write a book about the case. While researching for his novel In Cold Blood, Capote forms a relationship with one of the killers, Perry Smith, who is on death row.

Director: Bennett Miller
Stars: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Clifton Collins Jr., Catherine Keener
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Himself
Jean François Heckel ...
Himself (as Jean-François Heckel)
Jean-Louis Blondeau ...
Himself
Annie Allix ...
Herself
David Forman ...
Himself
Alan Welner ...
Himself
Mark Lewis ...
Himself
Barry Greenhouse ...
Himself (as N. Barry Greenhouse)
Jim Moore ...
Himself
Guy F. Tozzoli ...
Himself (as Guy Tozzoli)
...
David Demato ...
Ardis Campbell ...
Aaron Haskell ...
Shawn Dempewolff-Barrett ...
David - Drama Reconstructions (as Shawn Dempewolff)
Edit

Storyline

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

Taglines:

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:

 »
Edit

Details

Official Sites:

| |  »

Country:

|

Language:

|

Release Date:

29 August 2008 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Man on Wire - Der Drahtseilakt  »

Box Office

Budget:

£1,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$51,392 (USA) (25 July 2008)

Gross:

$2,957,978 (USA) (27 February 2009)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Low on money for the Sydney Harbor Bridge walk, Philippe Petit got the cable in exchange for an impromptu juggling and magic show he put on for employees. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Sgt Charles Daniels: ...I observed the tight rope dancer... because you couldn't call him a walker... approximately half-way between the two towers. I personally figured I was watching something that somebody else would never see again in the world. Thought it was once in a lifetime.
See more »


Soundtracks

Memorial
Written by Michael Nyman
Performed by The Michael Nyman Band
Published by Chester Music Limited
Courtesy of MN Records Ltd.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Art in the sky
5 August 2008 | by (Berkeley, California) – See all my reviews

What does Philippe Petit do now? Is he Professor of Advanced Balance at the Sorbonne? Is ha a therapist dealing exclusively in acrophobia? He seems to be a man so specialized that he was meant in life to do only one thing, at one time, and this film is about that moment and shows why a moment--a half hour, actually, in the early morning of August 7, 1974--can define a life and reshape one's perceptions. After the long slow methodical buildup, when the moment comes, calmly accompanied by a famous piece for solo piano by Eric Satie, it is so awesome, so still, so transcendent it makes you cry. No question why this film needed to be made.

Why is it that walking across a wire up in the air can be an aesthetic experience so exalted it brings you to tears? I don't know, but that's what 'Man on Wire' is about.

Philippe Petit is a clown, a sprite, a magician, an athlete, and a dancer. When he was seventeen, before the World Trade Center was even built, he knew it had to be his. It was as if it was invented just for him. . This was his greatest exploit. His triumph. It was to make him world famous.

A 'funambule,' the French call them. A tightrope walker: the epitome of risk-taking Only this time he increased the risk. Like his earlier walks between towers of the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris and pylons of the Sydney Harbor Bridge, only more so, Petit's walk on a wire between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center, the tallest buildings in New York City, was illegal, a 'rififi,' a break-in, a caper. Some call it "the art heist of the century." But it's not an ordinary heist. They stole nothing, except the air, our breath. Petit and crew didn't take anything out. They took in a ton of equipment, most importantly enough heavy wire and support wire to secure his pathway across the towers.

If you could make a documentary about a successful robbery, it might be something like James Marsh's film about this event. There is the conception, the reconnaissance, the gathering of accomplices, some of whom out of wisdom or fear opt out, even up to the last minute. The false start and bailout. The months of rehearsal. The miniature mock-ups of the top of the towers (handsome, and in wood). The trial runs and on-scene observations, the skillfully made false documents and identities, the changes of costume (for Petit himself, businessman, construction worker, and the ballet shoes and black velvet costume of the tightrope walker And of course Petit and company were documenting all of this. Marsh has admirably gathered all the images, plus simulations, plus the present-day talking heads, several in French, the others in English. This time simulations seem quite justifiable. There are things we need to see--particularly the crew dodging and hiding from guards on the towers.

It's all like a game; a lark. And at the same time, lethal, dangerous, and a defiance of the laws of man and God. The simulations are appropriate because this is all so unreal anyway. Why not add a little fakery?

Philippe Petit is more than a little bit strange. And in some indefinable way he is also quintessentially French.. Not only has he an incredible insensitivity to danger (and drive to overcome it), but this diminutive, almost weightless fellow has his unmistakably Napoleonic side, his grandiosity. But also playfulness. One of the best moments is when he is being arrested and photographed (charge: trespassing; event description: "man on wire"), he takes a policeman's uniform cap and balances it on his forehead by the bill, then flips it onto his head. His exploit had made him a celebrity and a mascot. He enhanced life, made a partly clunky new landmark beautiful and remarkable.

After the event, he knew he was famous. How can you ask me if I'm thirsty, he says to a psychiatrist, when 300 journalists are waiting to interview me? And his first act after release was, as somebody put it "to bang a groupie," which he himself describes as "disgusting." Maybe he was steadier out on the wire, where he remained for half an hour, high over New York, without a net, crossing and re-crossing eight times by his friend's count. And then afterwards, somehow things were so bent out of shape that he ended two key relationships--with his girlfriend and his collaborator (both of whom help narrate this film).

This is troubling, but Petit is also wise, a saintly kind of man, immune to ordinary temptations (except groupies?). When asked why he'd done it, he said: "If I see three oranges, I have to juggle. And if I see two towers, I have to walk." The psychiatrist judged him "same and ebullient." His was a pure act, an existential declaration of joy, an example of how to live life daily to the fullest. "Every day for him was a work of art," says his girlfriend. "L'art pour l'art," art for art's sake, is his motto. All of which is pretty thought-provoking, and may be inspiring. At a time of many excellent documentaries, this one seems indispensable. It provides a very pure kind of thrill. Needless to say after 9/11, the buildings gone, the recreation of this moment evokes nostalgia and loss.

Actually Petit has done much since the event. Right afterward the charges of trespassing and criminal conduct were dropped with the promise that he would perform juggling acts for children in Central Park, and he was given a permanent pass to the towers. A policeman interviewed at the time says when he watched, he knew he was seeing something unlike anything he'd ever see again. Sometimes you do know. When he was interviewed for this film, he was artist in residence at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine.


76 of 88 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Did anyone here ever get to visit the World Trade Center? Rabipelado
What makes this movie so deserving of acclaim? pbechard
No Film of Actual Walk? ChadShaft
why did the other guy start crying gus495
No discussion of September 11th? purplepirate-1
Was it really that dangerous? Hinzy9
Discuss Man on Wire (2008) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page