Man on wire

man-on-wire-posterBritish documentary from 2008.
Starring: Philippe Petit, Jean François Heckel, Jean-Louis Blondeau
Director: James Marsh
Writer: Philippe Petit
Bechdel test: Not applicable


Philippe Petit tight rope walked between the two towers of the World Trade Center in New York in 1974.


“Man on wire” builds up to one single event, the walk between the two towers, but in parallel story lines we are told the story of how the team prepared for the break in and preparations for that day, and their previous tight rope stunts. Each of the story lines contains interviews, reenactments and footage from the time. This all could easily have been a mess, but it comes together very well as a story. It even manages to build some tension, even though the highlight or climax of the story is clear from the beginning; Philippe walks between the two buildings.

It seems strange to do the Bechdel test on a documentary, so I have excluded them from my statistics and the test. If you want to read a little more about the Bechdel test and women in movies, check out my post on regulation of female behavior in movies.


The audio and visuals were quite typical of the genre, but the reenactments were nice in how if showed people with 70’s clothing, equipment and surroundings.

The interviews were quite honest and didn’t hide peoples negative sides. Nothing much was glossed over. (Or maybe there was more and what we saw was the tip of the iceberg.) Most of the people interviewed use quite flowery language to describe the events, which is refreshing and fun. They have also reflected a bit on what happened back then and can give some insights. They might be conflicting interpretations of behavior, but we all see and remember events slightly differently.

The story it self is that of a driven man who inspires the people around him to follow his dream.  He has a desire to walk between the two towers and works hard to achieve that. It shows that unique events are often the result of unique peoples hard work. The most remarkable about this group of people, is having this strange dream at all.

The tension in the story comes from the little details, and how everything had to go right. I still get a little chill from Philippe Petit’s description of how he at some point had to go from having his weight on the foot on the roof, to having his weight on the foot on the cable.


I liked “Man on wire”. It was entertaining and inspirational. As one interviewee said about Philippe Petit “To him every day is a work of art”. Not a bad thought to have at times.


I would recommend “Man on wire” to anyone with a few hours to kill. It’s not bad and could be a little inspirational.

Over to you

If you’ve recently seen “Man on wire” or you’re watching along with my year of movies, please leave a comment below with your thoughts on the movie or note down your opinion somewhere else.

49 movies down. 316 to go.

If you want to get “Man on wire” from Amazon, here is a link for that. They probably have the movie many other places too. Maybe it’s on a streaming service you subscribe to already?

Tomorrow’s movie is “Song of the little road” (“Pather Panchali”). Get some more information about this movie and the other movies on my watch list this week on the upcoming movies page. If you’re new to this site and are wondering why I’m watching a movie every day for a year, read more about my experiment.

Until next time; live long and prosper.

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