Man On Wire
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Customer Reviews:

  • An Incredible Artist at Work!
    I loved this movie, and it is a Keeper for me. It is better than I thought that it would be. This man is truly an artist. He has unbelievable balance control and better yet he knows how to stay focused passionately. Just think how much Focus and Confidence you have to have to pursue something like this. Could you do it? I also found the movie extremely interesting showing all of the planning that had to take place to make the event happen. The movie is not really about a Man on a Wire. It is about planning, dreams, passion, goals, developing skills, layout etc... I agree that there were scenes that were staged or reenacted, because they had to be. The actual events are real, and they grabbed me. My only disappointment was that he was arrested for being an artist and not bothering anyone. I can watch this movie again and again. It is Unbelievable and Real....more info
  • Should be viewed as a supplement, not a video equivalent of the book "Up In The Clouds."
    The phrase "the book was better" has been utilized by bookworms to annoy movie buffs for years, and in the case of Man on Wire, there is no better line than to balance one's judgment upon.

    Petit's large book "Up In The Clouds" (not Man on Wire) was a testament to the artistic pursuit. The expansive duration of his "project" spanning almost half a dozen years, read like a rollercoaster ride, soaring in inspiration at one moment, plunging into depression, but steadily gaining momentum. When he and his accomplice Jean Francois had to sit motionless under a tarp for hours to evade security guards on the night before his faithful walk, the excruciating event was expertly documented in the book. In Man on a Wire, director Jame Marsh intercuts the long hours with flashbacks and interviews, almost exempting the viewer from the taut suspense that creates the tension in Petit's high wire story.

    You will miss, for example, Petit's rebellious, anti-authoritarian childhood in France, the proposal from Dustin Hoffman in NYC, Petit's incessant arguments with Jean Louis, the people who pull out of the project and disappointed Philippe (but whom he, nevertheless, thanked), betrayals from people the moment the walk was completed, a quick victory hop in the sack with an anonymous fan, Petit's refusal to endorse advertisements and commercials in the wake of his success, but also his generosity in offering to walk again if a tower (or towers) should be erected in the place of WTC. You will also miss the beautiful 1902 story of the collapse of the San Marco tower, which Petit shares in the afterword as solace for the events of 9/11.

    What the movie does offer is COLOR. To Reach the Clouds is in a black and white format, meaning all photographs are in B/W. Man of Wire offers color versions of some of those photographs and whimsical footage of early days leading up to the walk. Silent-film style clips of tall-hatted Petit moving through the streets in his unicycle is also a humorous treat.

    The delightful Jean Francois, always ready to come to his aid (as oppose to Jean Louise, always criticizing Petit like a mother hen) gets interviewed in present day as well. His lovely manner is surely a testament to how good-natured people age gracefully.

    If you are not a reader, then I gently suggest you begin this DVD by watching the extra "interview with Phillipe Petit." In the 12 minute monologue from the man himself, you will get a taste of Petit's artistry and a sense of what his book 'Up In the Clouds' is about. In addition, it could also be taken as a "footnote/warning" to the documentary itself. Petit says:

    "The film is not my film...I have my own film in my head...very precise...my film is very different than the film that James did. James decided it is his vision, taken from my book 'To Reach The Clouds' He decided to give a lot of importance to the human feelings and the human drama, to the point that I think he manipulated a little bit - some of those interviews to make it more dramatic. As you see there are many tears and many question marks of people seemingly torn by what they would like to express but are not able to or whatever. This I have no comment, as this is not part of my adventure. My adventure is a fairy tale of a young man falling in love with two towers."

    In the extras, there is also a 10 minute illustrated (color drawing) educational documentary for children and a film short documenting his earlier walk across the support pillars of the Sydney bridge.

    The director should also be complimented on leaving footage and mention of 9/11 out of his film in order to capture and retain this good memory we possess of the Twin Towers.



    ...more info
  • the importance of acting now to fulfill our dreams
    Man On Wire documents Philippe Petit's quest to become a tightrope walker beyond comparison. The cinematography is very well done. In addition, we get lots of quality archival color footage and we also get very recent interviews with people who helped Philippe even when they didn't always see eye to eye with him. His girlfriend at the time, who provided Philippe with so much moral support, is also interviewed.

    Although we don't get much in the way of background about Philippe Petit; we are told he was brought up in a strict household and he's essentially a rebel, going around the streets of Paris juggling balls and doing magic tricks on a unicycle. Philippe is obviously a brave man and he was very strong physically and emotionally as he prepared for the challenge of walking the tightrope between The World Trade Center buildings. Philippe also recruited a crew of friends, including his then-girlfriend; and together they all embarked on their mission to help Philippe prepare for his big goal of walking on a tightrope between what was then called "The Twin Towers."

    We see footage of Philippe walking in a field on a tightrope and he learns how to do it very well rather quickly--good for him! He eventually became so good at this that he could even do it with his eyes closed. Incredible. He then scaled the towers of the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris; and he also walked a tightrope on top of a bridge in the harbor of Sydney, Australia much to the chagrin of the police. It's interesting to note, however, that Philippe gave the police a run for their money without ever committing a serious crime.

    And then came the preparations for the grand achievement--walking a tightrope between "The Twin Towers." Philippe and his friends prepared meticulously back in France by making small scale models of the tops of the two buildings and making numerous drawings of the scenario in order to study it from every possible angle. They didn't leave a thing to chance especially because Philippe's desire to walk that tightrope was so risky in and of itself. They even swayed the tightrope while Philippe practiced so that he could get used to walking on a swaying tightrope when the two buildings if any wind was blowing on the day he was going to do walk that tightrope.

    One extremely interesting part of the adventure was actually conning their way into the Twin Towers to take pictures from which they could study--and prepare the tightrope the night before so that Philippe can walk early one morning in August of 1974. We see how they got in to study the buildings and how they eventually entered for the big event. I'll let you watch the film to see how they managed all this--on several occasions, too!

    What happens to Philippe after he starts to cross the tightrope and the police show up? Will he get off the rope right away? Will his accomplishment change his relationships with his friends and his girlfriend? Does he ever do this or anything like it again? Watch the movie and find out!

    The DVD comes with a few extras. There is a retelling of this true story for children entitled The Man Who Walked Between The Towers; and there is another interview with Philippe Petit as well. We even get a featurette about Philippe's experiences in Sydney back in 1973.

    Man On Wire tells the fascinating tale of a once in a lifetime event--that of a brave man walking a tightrope between "The Twin Towers." However, on a broader scale this film is really about the importance of acting now to fulfill our dreams and achieve our goals. Only then can we savor life. The interviews we get are pretty incredible. I highly recommend this film for anyone who enjoys documentaries or films about the importance of living life to the fullest.
    ...more info
  • Involving, bracing documentaries don't always have to be about negative topics
    Immensely entertaining documentary about Philippe Petit, a kind of "performance terrorist", who instead of plotting to destroy the world's most famous buildings and monuments, performs on them via his high wire act. "Man on Wire" recounts his most famous stunt: sneaking into the newly-built World Trade Center in 1974, stringing a wire between the two towers, and performing an elegant high-wire act for almost an hour before being hauled off by police. His eventual punishment? He had to perform his juggling and high wire act for New York's children in free performances in Central Park. So even the authorities weren't too peeved with Mr. Petit for his memorable crime.

    Cleverly filmed in the style of a heist movie, "Man on Wire" moves along at a nice clip, featuring a variety of interviews with Mr. Petit and his compatriots intercut with tense re-enactments of the infiltration of the World Trade Center on that memorable day in 1974. What's also graceul about the film is that it never mentions the horrible events of September 11, 2001, but by including material about the construction of the towers and what they symbolized at the time, the film also subtly functions as a memorial to their passing.

    Extra features include a 20-minute featurette about a similar stunt Mr. Petit successfully pulled off in Australia about a year before the World Trade Center event; a 12-minute interview with Mr. Petit that seems to have been conducted after the film wrapped (as he discusses at length his impressions of the movie); and- most impressively- a nine-minute animated film that recounts Mr. Petit's World Trade Center adventure in a wonderful storybook-style aimed at children. This short cartoon is very well done.

    Absolutely recommended for documentary fans, "Man on Wire" will also be immensely entertaining for those who only occasionally delve into the non-fiction filmmaking genre. One can easily see why it won the Academy Award for Best Feature-Length Documentary Film on February 22, 2009. ...more info
  • Philippe Petit is a daring adventurist and artist with an uncompromising goal.
    This is a dramatic documentary with some history channel re-enactments about an amazing wire-walk from North tower to South, and the incredible set of circumstances, which implies Fates aligned with the universes that night and morning (Slumdog Millionaire has as well Fate as a messege.) Perhaps a Documentary has only a certain number of ways to be done, because it is rather newsy. It certainly needs many, many interviews and actual photographs and film from the event. But I am always revolted by the years gone by where directors rely on these rules like a crutch. An inspiring story that, along with fate, has that messege to chase your dreams; I haven't a problem with versions of a story, but I do with movies that do not feel fresh, and with that romantic energy only passion and intellegence can deliver. This is a documentary like just about any onther you'll find on Digital Cable or else perhaps done better on HBO or those paid channels. Are we still living in a Documentary boom? Have we become desensitized by all the dramas and unveilings of our mysterious world? Petit is a true artist. Walking his step with determination, not living by anyones rules....more info
  • Everything a documentary should be
    James Marsh has created a documentary that pays homage to the early masters of the form and one that will stand on its own for generations to come.

    It is the story of Phillipe Petit, a self-talk tightrope or wire walker, street performer, publicity hound and obsessive who captured the world's attention in 1976 when he, with the help of interesting band of confederates, walked a wire strung between the newly erected World Trade Center towers.

    More than a thousand feet in the air, Petit walked the 200 feet or so between the towers on a quarter-inch thick wire eight times. On occasion he kneeled in salute. He lay down on the wire. He did this all with supreme ease, while onlookers gasped in surprise, shock, awe and fear.

    James Marsh pulls together Petit himself, looking vastly older now than the cherubic youth who pulled off this stunt, his girlfriend of the time whom the years have not treated well and several other friends, acquaintances and confederates.

    It is a marvelous story. Petit leaves no doubt that he is an obsessive - and watching his skills mature leaves one in awe of his incredibly singular talent. His girlfriend of so long ago lived in thrall to him, doing his ever bidding. She's quite the contrast - the young woman dressed in the style of the 60s and 70s compared to the much older woman of today, showing the ravages of age.

    Petit's friends of long standing all attest to the combustibility of Petit and their own tempers.

    The stories of the past are intertwined with the meticulous planning for the WTC escapade, which Marsh successfully imbues with the tension of a great bank heist film. The stories of creeping up to the top floor and then scurrying when a guard unexpectedly appears and leans on the tarp they are hiding under are wonderful.

    Finally the great event. Footage from the day just leaves the viewer gasping. Mere mortals don't do things like this - walk on a thin wire more than a thousand feet above our heads, kneeling on the wire, laying on the wire.

    A police officer, long forgotten to history, lives on in a news interview of the time, his hairstyle so 70s, so retro today, as he talks of the police reaction.

    No one treated it as a great crime, though the police officers, angry about being taunted by Petit, did rough him up.

    A judge "sentenced" Petit to a public performance for children. The WTC gave Petit a lifetime pass to the observation deck of the WTC.

    Petit faded into semi-obscurity, teaching and performing in New York.

    This film, however, assures that future generations will know and see the "man on wire", as the police complaint describes the event. Petit did something that no other human has done - and that no other human can ever do.

    A marvelous film. A tribute to Petite, the "man on wire" and Marsh, a superb documentarian.

    Jerry...more info
  • Miracles do happen
    A delightful, quixotic documentary about a dreamer who wanted to walk on a tightrope between the World Trade Towers and had enough skill to actually bring off the unlikely feat.

    Along with his tightrope talent Philippe Petit had resourcefulness and considerable engineering ability. He smuggled more than a ton of equipment into the Towers under the noses of the guards, and rigged the wire by sending an arrow from one tower to the other and embroidering the wire from the fishline. His plan for the guywires was complex, and had to be, given the possibilities of wind and other problems at the top of the buildings.

    During the planning stages the filmmakers use the lovers' theme from Michael Nyman's music for "The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover". When Philippe is actually on the wire between the towers, they switch to Satie's "Gymnop¨¦die". Then, as the camera pans from Philippe to the New York cops, the hectic march from "The Cook The Thief" takes over.

    The sense of exultation and awe is contagious as Philippe's girlfriend tells the passersby that there is a man on a tightrope between the towers. Philippe's friends can't talk about the miraculous ascension without weeping. There is, indeed, something magical about the enormity of his dream and his accomplishment. I had a lump in my throat at the critical moment.

    Predictably, the authorities and the media asked him "Why?" He found the question incomprehensible and irrelevant. A commitment like his doesn't have or need a "Why."

    The entire project, from dream to planning to execution to arrest, could be regarded as a work of modern art, performance art, carried out with technological means but -- most of all -- a romantic end.

    A great movie for dreamers and those who respect dreamers. Even one of the cops says, "This is a once-in-a-lifetime thing."...more info
  • Magnifique!
    This outstanding documentary plays like a top-notch work of fiction. It's exciting, of course, but it's also hilarious at times -- with a cast of compelling, oddball characters right out of a Monty Python skit. Highly (pun intended) recommended! ...more info
  • The power of human determination and discipline
    This documentary film is not just about a crazy man walking on a wire high up in the sky. It is a valuable lesson about what an intelligent, courageous, disciplined hard and smart work with a purpose can achieve. This is the answer to the criticism that walking on a high wire has no benefit to the welfare of society. The benefit to society is to teach a lesson about the potential capability of the human being in a society where too many people think they are inadequate and live life without setting any goals. This is the same lesson given by the achievements of climbers of the Everest summit.

    In the film you can see how Phillipe Petit dreamed, planned and achieved his goal to walk between the twin towers in New York in 1974, that were subsequently brought down on September 11th 2001 by terrorist plane crashes. He set this goal even before the twin towers' construction began. He walked on the wire on lower heights for many years such as on the Sydney Harbor Bridge and many other places in the world for many years before eventually walking on the wire between the twin towers of New York. He had a supporting team of friends who tried to talk him out of the twin towers project fearing that he would fall. Despite this he kept his persistence. In the film we see that the team put up the wire between the twin towers after midnight so that they would not get caught. Even setting up that wire was very difficult. When dawn broke they had slept very little, even the walker Phillipe Petit. His friends were anxious that without a good night sleep and rest he would be too exhausted to keep his balance on the wire and made a last attempt to persuade him to give up the idea. He did not change his mind. It is remarkable that he spent 45 minutes on the wire, going back and forth between the towers 8 times as the crowd below and the police that came onto the towers to arrest him watched him. He didn't just walk ; he lyed on the wire like on a bed, balanced on his knee etc. When he came off the wire he was arrested and taken to psychiatric examination for insanity. He was found to be perfectly sane and charges against him of trespassing etc. were dismissed.

    The only downside to the film is that a few of the scenes have low picture quality and some of the interviews made by the walker and members of the team are sometimes a little boring. However, some viewers of the film may not find the interviews boring.
    ...more info
  • Man On Wire = WOW never knew this happened!
    Really cool documentary. I never knew that this event even took place. Worth the watch. ...more info
  • you cant "4-star" a feat like this...
    Great part about this film there is authentic home film of the wire walker and crew in the 70's training and playing, really added to the experience, nice treat. The film itself is about the only man to tight rope walk (or dance as a witnessing police man said in a live interview after the act). What Philip Petit did was a awe and life aspiring feat. This should be watched by basically everyone...what made this film extra special for me is that I watched (by happenstance) maybe 2 days after seeing another documentary concerning the world trade towers. It was called "falling man", which was about the attempts of a journalist trying to uncover the identity of a man who was one of the many who choose to leap to their death than be consumed by flames following the jet attacks on the towers (the unidentified falling man was put on the front page to the shock of many viewers, that picture only ran once, remember?)...the movie is actually about more than that but that is beyond the scope of this review.

    After watching "Man on Wire" was a life affirming movie. We should all live so passionately....what else are we to do with this small amount of time given on this earth?
    ...more info
  • Man on Wire is Spellbinding!
    Man on Wire is technically a documentary but feels like a good drama with humor, suspense and character development. I was only vaguely familiar with the actual history so I was completely blown away by Petit's incredible feats. I originally saw it on the big screen; I think the DVD will be best appreciated on as large a flatscreen as you can get....more info
  • Man on a Wire
    Excellent, daring, insanity driven person. I compare him to the man
    who lived amongst the Grizzly Bears, who ultimately killed him. Man on
    a Wire had me on the edge of my seat with his daring feats. Amazing, but
    absolutely insane. Loved his charismatic personality that drew others
    into his dream to tightrope across the Twin Towers in N.Y. They loved
    him even after his fame caused him to abandon them in the end....more info
  • "Man on Wire" will leave you breathless
    "Man on Wire" is a documentary about Philippe Petit's dream to tightrope walk between the two towers of the World Trade Center in NY. What easily could have been a average 30 minute film is instead a riveting documentary that deservedly won the Academy Award for Best Documentary.

    Having a fear of heights, there were pictures and video of Petit's exploits that were absolutely harrowing. The story of how Petit and his helpers were able to get all their equipment in place and their ingenuity in stringing a steel wire between the two towers is unbelievable. The historical footage of the WTC and surrounding area along with Petit's walk are worth watching. However, when you put that together with the story of how they could accomplish this feat -- all the little things that had to and did go right -- and the interviews with key players, you have a brilliant picture.

    The only thing about the movie that left a bad taste in my mouth was Philippe Petit. He's a pompous, arrogant person and it is a good thing his exploits are so interesting because he is not a very endearing person....more info
  • A documentary equal to its subject
    Imagine this: a man stretches a cable between two buildings at a height of a quarter of a mile, walks out to the middle, and lays down on it. What kind of a man could do such a thing? That is the question director James Marsh asks, and answers, in this superb documentary.

    In doing so, he skillfully blends present-day interviews with footage and photographs from the past and re-enactment that is so good it takes most of the film before one realizes that some of these scenes could only have been re-created with actors. This is documentary storytelling at its very best....more info
  • Very Exciting, entertaining
    "Man on Wire" is most entertaining. If you didn't already know what it's about, it starts out like a subversive terrorist thriller, and of course, the premise is well laid out shortly after. These guys act like a bunch of naughty school boys pulling a stunt for which they know they'll be caught. It's the suspense leading up to the pranks that is riveting. Director James Marsh has crafted a fine film about the improbable passion of Philippe Petit that is instructive as well as entertaining. One thing I appreciated was that there's little or no reference made to the bombing of the WTC to distract from the narrative at large. That would be a whole 'nother film. Highly recommended....more info
  • Fabulous!
    I loved this documentary. The viewer is caught up in the dedication of this young man who decided he HAD TO do this amazing thing. He is unbelievably talented and so strong in his belief that the twin towers were put up for him to make this walk. It's takes a little time to get used to the back and forth between present days and planning days, but the end result is just wonderful. Great accomplishment and it will NEVER happen again! ...more info
  • Insights Into A Performer's Passion
    This documentary shows Philippe Petit's life-long commentment as an artiistic performer, not as an entertainer. He clarifies his commitment is to art and does not intend to frighten an audience. His famous walk was highly dependent on the commitment and efforts of friends and their efforts are an integral part of the story. I found myself admiring him without any desire to be like him. He reveals a side of human nature one rarely touches. The extra features are also well worth watching. I'm glad I bought it, rather than waiting for the movie to show up in our city. A strong theme throughout the story is our fascination with breaking the law (convention) while doing nothing to harm anyone; I think this speaks to a deep longing within us, especially men.
    ...more info
  • Man on Wire, Me on Tacs
    When I initially purchased this CD (2), I felt a little silly. What? No car crashes? No murders? No sexually explicit scenes? It was soooo good. THEN it received an Academy Award! WELL . . . it was even better! How to Wire-Walk Between the World Trade Center Towers for Dummys. Mary M....more info
  • Magic on Wire
    Determination, patience, obsession, talent, and lots of hard work. These are the words I can think of to describe this wonderful film. The incredible story of Phillipe Petit and his helpers is something to behold. Both the interviews with them and the re-enactetment of their incredible adventure that took place thirty-five years ago are beautifully captured and told. It is pure poetry. Plus, as a bonus, the viewer will be able to watch his previous experiences as well.

    This is a most enjoyable experience!...more info
  • Awesome documentary!
    I know I'm not alone when I say that I can not begin to imagine the courage, soul, seeming fearlessness(although he does admit to being fearful and acknowledges how potentially close death was), bravery, daring, etc. etc. of a man like Philippe Petit. The relative ease with which he deals with heights, I'm sure, will make many viewers cringe a few times during the film. I have never written a review before, but if you are a fan of the extraordinary, this film is for you. It is an inspiring glimpse into what greatness human beings are capable of when we dream, are blessed with a singular determination and daring and when we take care of ourselves(body and mind). Can you imagine after everything Mr. Petit had to do to set the stage for his dance on the wire that he was physically and mentally at ease enough to accomplish the actual act. No twitches or spasms or mental demons that tortured him into a mistake at a time when a mistake might be lethal. Mr. Petit is not a man as I am a man. He is a Superman! In a crazy world where most are dedicating huge portions of their lives to a suspect preperation for some far-fetched after-life... Philippe Petit has surly found his own answers from among his several opportunities to sit amongst the clouds on his wire....more info
  • "UNBELIEVABLE'
    Little wonder that "MAN ON WIRE" was judged Best Documentary by the Academy Awards. From beginning to end it is utterly amazing -- because it is a true story. It shows all that was involved for Phillipe Petit and his friends in stringing a wire between the two towers of the World Trade Center and then for Phillipe to walk on the wire from one Tower to the other.
    It is impossible to believe that such a feat will ever be surpassed. And this film accurately and comprehensively reports the whole story of how it came about.
    It is difficult to imagine how anyone could watch this and be disappointed. Phillipe is a bigger than life character who takes it all with a grain of salt -- in the midst of utter and total dedication.
    It is a joy to recommend this highly.

    Bob Balkam...more info
  • 5 Stars! A crowd pleaser!
    I purchased MAN ON WIRE from Amazon and paid the public screening rights from the film's distributor in order to show it @ the SFASU Cole Art Center @ The Old Opera House in Nacogdoches, TX. This film brought out the crowds and kept them glued to their seats! MAN ON WIRE is fun, historic, and a thriller all wrapped into one. No wonder it's up for an Academy Award! --C.Cutler, Director of Galleries...more info
  • Interesting documentary about daredevil act
    This documentary recounts how French high wire walker Philippe Petit and a small band of accomplices managed to string a cable across the roofs of the twin towers of the World Trade Center in 1974 so he could walk, dance, kneel, run and lie down in mid-air for an unforgettable 45 minutes.
    The movie never mentions the 2001 attack that destroyed the towers but that is always in your mind and gives the movie some additional poignancy.
    We meet Petit, who is articulate and almost laughably French. He had already walked on a wire between the two spires of Notre Dame in Paris and on a bridge in Sydney. He was apparently obsessed by the idea of walking between the twin towers from the moment construction on them began.
    Why is the event interesting enough to deserve to be remembered? Like all theater, it was fleeting and transitory, yet it created an image of beauty that those who witnessed it never forgot.
    From the grim aftermath, we know that the towers themselves were transitory. Like twin Towers of Babel, they aspired to touch the sky and yet they were so easily destroyed by those evil men.
    And I guess it teaches us that everything we create and build and achieve, no matter how grandiose and significant it may seem, is transitory in this world of ours.
    According to the movie, the event changed Petit in some fundamental way. For a short time, he became a star. He broke up with his girlfriend and his relationships with his loyal helpers also ruptured. I wish the movie had delved more into the aftermath. One extra included on the Dvd is an animated version of the story intended for children. It's almost more moving and resonant that the movie itself.
    In the end we're left with the unforgettable image of a man walking, so it appears, on thin air, suspended in space a quarter of a mile in the sky....more info
  • Can't Get Higher
    All true. They just don't get better than this one. Funny, surprising, thrilling, touching, thought-provoking.... I can't recommend this too highly....more info