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

User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 94 Ratings

Your Score
0 out of 10
Rate this:
  • 10
  • 9
  • 8
  • 7
  • 6
  • 5
  • 4
  • 3
  • 2
  • 1
  • 0
  • 0
  • 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
    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
    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
    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. Collapse
  2. Oct 27, 2011
    'Man On Wire' is and interesting story about an interesting man who is doing interesting stuff. I watched the documentry on the television and was pulled in to the film and actually couldn't turn the television off, I kind of couldn't walk over to the remote, I was just so concentrated, I was just staring at the television. A epic in documentry history. Expand
  3. Apr 14, 2014
    This documentary about the amazing process in how a very compelling man managed to tight rope walk from one World Trade Center building to the other decades after the event is my favorite documentary of the entire decade from 2000 to 2009. The whole sequence of events is fascinating, and every character, not just the main one, is interesting to watch. A must see. Expand
  4. Aug 1, 2012
    I look at the movie's poster and instantly notice a man whose life is dependent upon that thin, almost invisible wire. That man is Philippe Petit, and on August 7, 1974, he was arrested for trespassing. More specifically, he walked, knelt, and danced on a wire he and his friends connected between the Twin Towers. I have a curiosity for extraordinary human feats and a phobia for heights, and the sight of Mr. Petit on that wire was one of the most beautiful and freighting things I have ever seen.
    I think that it's obvious that he succeeded since you cannot arrest a dead man. We all know that what he did was truly remarkable but what confounds many is his reason in doing it. Before I saw "Man on Wire", I stared at the poster, wondering what type of individual would do this, to risk a life so much that a wrong step could end it. Crazy was the word I thought of that would describe it the best, and then I watched the movie.

    Read more here:
  5. Jwv
    Feb 3, 2014
    Great documentary with a delicious directness

    A great documentary that left me thinking about my own life and dreams. Not only the content
    and larger-than-life feat performed in the movie are its strong points, but also the directness and authenticity of the interviews with the people involved in the stunt. The strength in this is that it doesn't make the documentary something far-off, distant and unrealistic idealistic, but rather something very close.

    In my opinion, the scenes should have been rearranged. It would have been better to work chronologically toward one climax instead of flashing back and forward in time. This killed the tension. The whole should more closely reflect the natural accumulation of tension Philippe and his companions experienced when coming closer to their performance, not only making it a climax for Philippe, but for the viewer too.
  6. Mar 19, 2013
    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.
  7. Aug 15, 2012
    From UK director James Marsh, this Academy award BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE winner is a distinguishing of its own kind, it marvellously mends the interview with a re-enactment of the electrifying tightrope routine performed in World Trade Centre Expand

See all 34 User Reviews


Related Articles

  1. Ten Years of Metacritic: The Best (and Worst) Movies of the Decade

    Ten Years of Metacritic: The Best (and Worst) Movies of the Decade Image
    Published: December 17, 2009
    Our best of the decade coverage continues with a look at the past ten years in cinema. While the decade's best-reviewed movie may not have been a commercial blockbuster (or even in English), our lists turn up plenty of recognizable names in addition to obscure gems you may have missed.