7.7/10
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Man on Wire (2008)

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2:11 | Trailer
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:

James Marsh

Writer:

Philippe Petit (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

Cast overview, first billed only:
Philippe Petit ... 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 Guy F. Tozzoli ... Himself (as Guy Tozzoli)
Paul McGill ... Philippe - Drama Reconstructions
David Demato David Demato ... Jean-Louis - Drama Reconstructions
Ardis Campbell Ardis Campbell ... Annie - Drama Reconstructions
Aaron Haskell Aaron Haskell ... Jean-François - Drama Reconstructions
Shawn Dempewolff-Barrett Shawn Dempewolff-Barrett ... David - Drama Reconstructions (as Shawn Dempewolff)
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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 | Add 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:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official site | See more »

Country:

UK | USA

Language:

English | French

Release Date:

29 August 2008 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Man on Wire See more »

Filming Locations:

Paris, France See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

GBP1,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$51,392, 27 July 2008

Gross USA:

$2,962,242

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$5,258,569
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

|

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color | Black and White (some scenes)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The elevator footage at 20:56 is from the film Hollow Man. Although in this documentary the clip is used to portray the elevator going up, in Hollow Man the exact same shot shows Kevin Bacon's character descending to his laboratory. 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

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

Connections

Featured in The Orange British Academy Film Awards (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

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

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User Reviews

 
Fascinating and Magical
11 August 2008 | by lovelyrhinoSee all my reviews

Easily one of the best documentaries I've seen, Man On Wire swept me off my feet not with spectacle but with a certain quiet recognition of the incredible events it chronicles - a team of young, rebellious twentysomethings who rigged a wire across the twin towers that their mascot, Philippe Petit, walked or as one police officer comments, "danced," across for forty- five minutes.

The reenactments are superbly done, and director James Marsh keeps the film at a short 90 minutes to keep it from getting boring. Perhaps the most surprising thing was the eloquence and insight of the comments by Petit and company. His ex-girlfriend Annie, for instance, said of meeting Petit for the first time "he courted me... and then my life was all about him. it was as if I had no destiny of my own... I was following his destiny."

Viewing the movie as a character study of Mr. Petit offers another layer to film - this man, who seems wholly self-consumed and unaware of a) the potential problems of any such idea he stumbled upon and b) the emotional pressure he was putting on his friends who could have aided his death, speaks frankly even when discussing the aftermath of his stunt - which indirectly ended many of his friendships with people close to him.

But despite his own shortcomings, viewers cannot deny Petit as the man who did something that none of us could ever imagine: he pinpointed his dream and he achieved it. "The towers were built for him." Annie comments at the beginning of this powerful and poignant study of triumph and aspiration. And in the end, it is the not the actual nineteen seventies footage depicting a tiny man walking the line between life and death that communicates this theme the most; it is a pencil drawing Petit drew on a wall beforehand - two rectangles and one, sloping line between them. It is this thin curved line, this gossamer thread connecting two shapes that signifies the whole expanse of the human spirit.


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