7.7/10
50,239
151 user 202 critic

Man on Wire (2008)

Trailer
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 »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Documentary | Crime | News
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 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 | News
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 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
Documentary | Biography | News
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 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
Crazy Heart (2009)
Drama | Music | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 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
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 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
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
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 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 multibillion-dollar class action suit.

Director: Tony Gilroy
Stars: George Clooney, Tilda Swinton, Tom Wilkinson
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
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Based on the events of the brutal Ugandan dictator Idi Amin's regime as seen by his personal physician during the 1970s.

Director: Kevin Macdonald
Stars: James McAvoy, Forest Whitaker, Gillian Anderson
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
Syriana (2005)
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

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

Director: Stephen Gaghan
Stars: George Clooney, Matt Damon, Amanda Peet
Capote (2005)
Biography | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 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:
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)
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 | 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 »
Edit

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 »

Edit

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 »
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

Philippe Petit: As a child, I loved to climb everywhere. I'll let the psychiatrists decide why. Maybe I wanted to escape my time. Maybe I wanted to see the world from a different perspective and I was an explorer at heart. Who knows and who cares? But I was a little climber. And nobody, not my parents, not the teachers, nobody could stop me.
See more »

Connections

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

Soundtracks

A Fifth Of Beethoven
Written and Performed by Walter Murphy (and the Sunshine Band)
Published by RFT Music Publishing Corp./Bug Music, Inc. (BMI)
Courtesy of Thomas J. Valentino, Inc., a Bug Music, Inc. Company
Courtesy of Boosey & Hawkes M.P. Ltd UK
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

A unique, stunning, exhilarating and beautiful experience
20 September 2008 | by ametaphysicalsharkSee all my reviews

Constructed, believe it or not, as a heist film, composed of interviews, actual filmed footage from the seventies, re-enactments (done incredibly tastefully and intelligently) and a large number of photographs, "Man on Wire" from director James Marsh is a brilliant, audacious, stunning, and utterly enthralling film, and having seen it not more than an hour ago I can already say with confidence that it is one of the best documentaries ever made, not because it achieves the sort of brilliantly real observations on human behavior and emotions that a Maysles Bros. film does, but because it is a surprisingly hilarious, unbelievably well-crafted movie about so many absurdities, so much ridiculousness, such insane, insane acts (and yet so beautiful as well), and one which looks in on some of the most interesting people I think I've ever come across. I normally don't take to non-'cinema-verite' documentaries, but this is just about the biggest exception possible, as I will say with confidence that this is an a terrific film.

Philippe Petit, the wire-walker who walked between the World Trade Center towers in 1974, is one of the most absurd and audacious people I've ever seen in real life or recorded on film. His spirit fills every frame of the film, and his commitment to this dangerous, illegal, and almost unbelievably courageous act is astounding to witness. The film thankfully affords us the chance to get to know Philippe, and it would have been so easy for Marsh to focus only on the incredibly entertaining planning process for the audacious climactic act, but he doesn't, as through the interviews we get to know Philippe, Annie, and Jean-Louis quite well, and the interviews don't feel as put-on as they do in many other films.

I said that "Man on Wire" was one of the best documentaries ever made. I'm going to disagree with myself. As a documentary there have been many which are more effective. As a film, however, the skill that went into "Man on Wire" is absolutely outstanding. The editing, the quality of the re-enactments, the wealth of footage and still photographs, the excellent interviews, the film's wildly funny sense of humor (the audience at my screening laughed louder than a sold-out screening for most comedies), and the absolutely inspired idea to construct the film as a heist film make this one of the most memorable, exhilarating, and enthralling films I've ever come across. The idea to make it a heist film makes complete sense as well, as the careful planning that went into their entrance into the WTC towers and reaching the roof, and all the steps that led to it, definitely have the air of a typical heist film, complete with surveillance, inside men, disguises, false ID's, and all sort of wacky ruses. It's terrifically entertaining.

"Man on Wire" doesn't ignore 9/11, but it thankfully doesn't become a film which isn't about what its actual subject. There are fleeting moments (including the shot, which unfortunately is in the trailer, of Phillipe on the wire between the two towers and an airplane in the top left corner of the screen) which are immensely powerful and resonant, even chilling, but the film switches back to its effortlessly entertaining original format seconds later

Those with a fear of heights might find themselves hyperventilating at certain points in the film, as even I, someone who has never had an issue with looking down the side of a cliff, felt vertigo coming on at the still, looking down off the edge of the tower, of Phillipe sticking his foot out just before he began the walk across. I guess those are the only people I wouldn't highly, highly recommend this film to. It's a terrific, massively entertaining film, and even I, the grouchy fan of pretty much only ultra-realistic documentaries, have to admit that it is an immense artistic achievement.

9/10


107 of 119 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 151 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Free Movies and TV Shows You Can Watch Now

On IMDb TV, you can catch Hollywood hits and popular TV series at no cost. Select any poster below to play the movie, totally free!

Browse free movies and TV series

Stream Popular Action and Adventure Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular action and adventure titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed