Metascore
89

Universal acclaim - based on 31 Critics What's this?

User Score
8.4

Universal acclaim- based on 94 Ratings

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  • Starring:
  • Summary: On August 7th 1974, a young Frenchman named Philippe Petit stepped out on a wire illegally rigged between New York's twin towers, then the world’s tallest buildings. After nearly an hour dancing on the wire, he was arrested, taken for psychological evaluation, and brought to jail before he was finally released. Following six and a half years of dreaming of the towers, Petit spent eight months in New York City planning the execution of the coup. Aided by a team of friends and accomplices, Petit was faced with numerous extraordinary challenges: he had to find a way to bypass the WTC’s security; smuggle the heavy steel cable and rigging equipment into the towers; pass the wire between the two rooftops; anchor the wire and tension it to withstand the winds and the swaying of the buildings. The rigging was done by night in complete secrecy. At 7:15 AM, Philippe took his first step on the high wire 1,350 feet above the sidewalks of Manhattan… James Marsh’s documentary brings Petit’s extraordinary adventure to life through the testimony of Philippe himself, and some of the co-conspirators who helped him create the unique and magnificent spectacle that became known as “the artistic crime of the century.” (Magnolia Pictures) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 31 out of 31
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 31
  3. Negative: 0 out of 31
  1. 100
    Man on Wire is about the vanquishing of the towers by bravery and joy, not by terrorism.
  2. 100
    This is a police procedural, if you will, about what's been called the artistic crime of the century.
  3. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    100
    The sight is magical and heartbreaking in equal measure. Look, the movie says: Where so many would fall, a man walks on air.
  4. Reviewed by: Ken Fox
    88
    The film runs 95 minutes, and you'll be holding your breath for most of them.
  5. 88
    As suspenseful as a full-blown thriller.
  6. History has made his midair stroll meaningful, but the film shows how even then, everyone - from Petit to his accomplices to the cops who were waiting for him atop the North Tower - recognized the stunt's crazy poetry.
  7. 67
    It's a story worth telling, yes--but after 90 minutes, it's hard not to wonder if the storyteller can talk about anything else.

See all 31 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 29 out of 34
  2. Negative: 4 out of 34
  1. Apr 14, 2012
    10
    It's about a man's pursuit of his dream to walk on a tight rope between the World Trade Center towers. The story and characters are compelling enough on their own. But Marsh matches visuals to music in a way that makes this story more a work of art than a retelling. This movie owned me the first time I saw it. And I watch it again from time to time to remind myself how to dream. Expand
  2. RiaR.
    Dec 28, 2008
    10
    Extremely unusual, extremely inspiring. In a Prozac era, it is so uplifting to see someone with such a lust for life; someone who really experiences life as beautiful. What an unusual person! Expand
  3. Apr 23, 2011
    10
    This movie is all about what art is : When somebody says something is impossible - let us begin with it. The artistic creativity of an artist is always a balancing act over the rules in human society. Expand
  4. JimmyD.
    Dec 21, 2008
    9
    Surprisingly exciting. A great thriller.
  5. Mar 19, 2013
    9
    8.5/10 Despite a couple of flaws, relatively speaking a great film.

    Miss: While not a long movie, it could have been trimmed up a bit.
    It's an undeniably beautiful story, but I did find it a bit self-indulgent at times.

    Hit: Everything else about the film is very good, and I would recommend it to anyone. It's pretty amazing how much vintage footage is used in the film documenting everything from the construction of the twin towers to Phillipe practicing his tightrope skills and interacting with his friends. Everyone involved with the events being told gives are able to give some fascinating first-hand accounts. I enjoyed watching this film because it is an intimate look into the mind of someone who is very different than the average person. Phillipe had life-long goals and relentlessly pursued them, doing things that most of us could never imagine doing ourselves. This is a film I will remember for quite some time.
    Expand
  6. JimmySo
    Dec 21, 2008
    8
    Song of Innocence
  7. BadMovie
    May 1, 2009
    0
    Worst movie known to man. Dramatizations really ruin a documentary and this one is full of them. Main character is completely full of himself and makes you want to hate him despite his semi-cool caper. The recent doc on Joy Division was 100 times better. I am a democrat and I now use the term "freedom fries" instead of "French fries" after watching this. Dont be fooled by the reviews like I was, the emperor has no clothes. Expand

See all 34 User Reviews

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