7.8/10
44,157
138 user 196 critic

Man on Wire (2008)

PG-13 | | Documentary | 29 August 2008 (USA)
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 Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

ON DISC
Won 1 Oscar. Another 44 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 7.6/10 X  

Alex Gibney exposes the haunting details of the USA's torture and interrogation practices during the War in Afghanistan.

Director: Alex Gibney
Stars: Alex Gibney, Brian Keith Allen, Moazzam Begg
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 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  

Filmmaker Davis Guggenheim follows Al Gore on the lecture circuit, as the former presidential candidate campaigns to raise public awareness of the dangers of global warming and calls for immediate action to curb its destructive effects on the environment.

Director: Davis Guggenheim
Stars: Al Gore, Billy West, George Bush
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
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
Precious II (2009)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 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
The Queen (2006)
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

After the death of Princess Diana, 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
Drama | Mystery | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A widower is determined to get to the bottom of a potentially explosive secret involving his wife's murder, big business, and corporate corruption.

Director: Fernando Meirelles
Stars: Ralph Fiennes, Rachel Weisz, Hubert Koundé
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
Syriana (2005)
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A politically charged epic about the state of the oil industry in the hands of those personally involved and affected by it.

Director: Stephen Gaghan
Stars: George Clooney, Matt Damon, Amanda Peet
Ray I (2004)
Biography | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

The story of the life and career of the legendary rhythm and blues musician Ray Charles, from his humble beginnings in the South, where he went blind at age seven, to his meteoric rise to stardom during the 1950s and 1960s.

Director: Taylor Hackford
Stars: Jamie Foxx, Regina King, Kerry Washington
Biography | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Biopic of the iconic French singer Édith Piaf. Raised by her grandmother in a brothel, she was discovered while singing on a street corner at the age of 19. Despite her success, Piaf's life was filled with tragedy.

Director: Olivier Dahan
Stars: Marion Cotillard, Sylvie Testud, Pascal Greggory
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.

Genres:

Documentary

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  »

Filming Locations:

 »

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:

| (some scenes)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

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

Mark Lewis: I never doubted Philippe's talent, his prowess on the wire. It was the unforeseen things that really worried me. You know, America's a very litigious society... you know, involuntary manslaughter, assisted suicide... I didn't want to be liable for the death of a friend.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Mike & Mike: Episode dated 20 June 2013 (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

Passage De L'Egalité
Written by Michael Nyman
Performed by The Michael Nyman Band
Published by ChesterMusic Limited
Courtesy of MN Records
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

The triumph of will as genius
19 December 2008 | by (Greece) – See all my reviews

"Genius is a transcendent capacity for taking trouble first of all" Frederick the great by Thomas Carlyle

"Genius: the mental endowment peculiar to an individual; that disposition or aptitude of mind which qualifies a person for a certain kind of action or special success in a given pursuit." Webster's International Dictionary

This is Phillip Petit, the 25 year old who in August of 1974 walked a tightrope between the Twin Towers of the WTC. Yet what is that which makes a documentary on such a fantastic, quixotic accomplishment relevant to us mortals? Is it not the same kind of awe the passers by experienced when they saw that morning a tiny figure suspended above the void, the same kind of marvel the people interviewed experienced again when they described Petit's walking on air some thirty years later? What is Petit's accomplishment if not a profound religious experience, a form of divinity in itself? And it is exactly because Petit's action bears no explanation, it has no rationale behind its daring do, no tangible end by which to hold it and examine it in the light of logic. The action in the same time the reason of it. What did Petit accomplish but a monument of human perseverance, enduring will and the triumph of mind over matter?

If MAN ON WIRE is so successful at what it does, it's not only because of the feat it purports to describe but because of the path it takes in describing it. Staging it as a heist thriller, filmed in black and white in shades of noir, orchestrated like a bank robbery of sorts, the same kind of films Petit laboriously studied as he was preparing his takeover. By presenting us with real people who emote better than a lot of actors could even dream of. By placing Phillip Petit pivotal in the narration of the events unfolding, a passionate man with an almost half-mad gleam in his eye but also a love of life that leaps across the screen as utterly genuine. By adopting the skeleton of a real movie - not a sterile "went there, did that" documentary but one with a premise, plot, setup and payoff, climax and conclusion.

Filmed with true cinematographic flair, in turns suspenseful, faith-reaffirming and awe-inspiring, MAN ON WIRE is the unexpected show-stealer of the year, sneaking under the nose of Hollywood behemoths with 50 times its budget and doing what they're too sluggish to do, too dazzled by their own spectacle. A simple story beautifully told.


34 of 40 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page