Man on Wire

2008 Documentary

On August 7, 1974, a 24-year-old French high-wire artist named Philippe Petit committed one of the most astonishing performance stunts of the late 20th century: he strung a thin cable in between the two towers of the World Trade Center and not only walked across, from one building to another, but did a nerve-wracking series of knee-bends and acrobatic movements on the cable, some 1,350 feet above the ground, before turning himself in. This occurred to the consternation and chagrin of Port Authority policemen, who immediately arrested Petit for the act -- prompting many to dub Petit's stunt "the artistic crime of the century." James Marsh's documentary Man on Wire revisits and recounts this chain of events some 34 years after they occurred.

Director: James Marsh


  • This is a police procedural, if you will, about what's been called the artistic crime of the century.

    Kenneth Turan - Los Angeles Times

    26 April 2013

  • Man on Wire is about the vanquishing of the towers by bravery and joy, not by terrorism.

    Roger Ebert - The Chicago Sun-Times

    26 April 2013

  • The gorgeous music includes Ralph Vaughan Williams' wafting tone poem ''The Lark Ascending'' -- apt in describing an artist who might well be part bird.

    Lisa Schwarzbaum - Entertainment Weekly

    26 April 2013

  • James Marsh's documentary raises the bar for the genre to skyscraper height.

    Joe Morgenstern - The Wall Street Journal

    26 April 2013

  • The sight is magical and heartbreaking in equal measure. Look, the movie says: Where so many would fall, a man walks on air.

    Ty Burr - The Boston Globe

    26 April 2013


  • Best Documentary, Features

    Academy Awards (2009)

  • Best Edited Documentary

    American Cinema Editors (2009)

  • Best Documentary

    Austin Film Critics Association (2008)

  • Outstanding British Film

    BAFTA Awards (2009)

  • Best Documentary

    Boston Society of Film Critics Awards (2008)