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".


James Marsh


Philippe Petit (based on the book "To Reach the Clouds" by)
Won 1 Oscar. Another 45 wins & 13 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Philippe Petit ... Self
Jean François Heckel ... Self (as Jean-François Heckel)
Jean-Louis Blondeau ... Self
Annie Allix ... Self
David Forman ... Self
Alan Welner ... Self
Mark Lewis ... Self
Barry Greenhouse ... Self (as N. Barry Greenhouse)
Jim Moore ... Self
Guy F. Tozzoli Guy F. Tozzoli ... Self (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)


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


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 »

Did You Know?


Petit was given a lifetime pass to the Twin Towers Observation Deck by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. 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 »


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 »


Version of The Walk (2015) See more »


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

User Reviews

The way it was.
16 October 2008 | by pk-2See all my reviews

Man on Wire is the sorta film that brings back all sorts of memories. As someone old enough to remember this Philippe's amazing feat, seeing this brought back memories of old. And of course new. As a 8 year old living in NJ, I had never been to or seen NYC up to that point of my life. But a friend of mine told me about a tree nearby tall enough to see the Twin towers from the top. It was at the time of the crossing that i climbed this tree to see the top of the towers. I couldn't see the actual crossing from the 15 some odd miles from my house. But to think someone could actually do this was something i just couldn't believe. I watched the news that night and remember the video of his arrest and the footage inside the police station. Seeing this film brought back that amazing times. And for those couple hours of movie viewing brought back a time when things like this were truly amazing and cool, and when the towers stood as a great symbol of the NYC skyline and America. As evil on a human scale as 9/11, this period shown in this movie show the opposite of that scale. And how one man's dream can now be shared by all of us in this film.

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English | French

Release Date:

29 August 2008 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Man on Wire See more »

Filming Locations:

Paris, France See more »


Box Office


GBP1,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$51,392, 27 July 2008

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs



Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital


Color | Black and White (some scenes)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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