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Man on Wire (2008)

Philippe Petit , James Marsh  |  PG-13 |  DVD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (291 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Philippe Petit
  • Directors: James Marsh
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English, French
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Magnolia Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: December 9, 2008
  • Run Time: 94 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (291 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001E5FYS8
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #22,118 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Man on Wire" on IMDb

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

Native New Yorkers know to expect the unexpected, but who among them could've predicted that a man would stroll between the towers of the World Trade Center? French high-wire walker Philippe Petit did just that on August 7th, 1974. Petit’s success may come as a foregone conclusion, but British filmmaker James Marsh’s pulse-pounding documentary still plays more like a thriller than a non-fiction entry--in fact, it puts most thrillers to shame. Marsh (Wisconsin Death Trip, The King) starts by looking at Petit's previous stunts. First, he took on Paris's Notre Dame Cathedral, then Sydney's Harbour Bridge before honing in on the not-yet-completed WTC. The planning took years, and the prescient Petit filmed his meetings with accomplices in France and America. Marsh smoothly integrates this material with stylized re-enactments and new interviews in which participants emerge from the shadows as if to reveal deep, dark secrets which, in a way, they do, since Petit's plan was illegal, "but not wicked or mean." The director documents every step they took to circumvent security, protocol, and physics as if re-creating a classic Jules Dassin or Jean-Pierre Melville caper. Though still photographs capture the feat rather than video, the resulting images will surely blow as many minds now as they did in the 1970s when splashed all over the media. Not only did Petit walk, he danced and even lay down on the cable strung between the skyscrapers. Based on his 2002 memoir, Man on Wire defines the adjective "awe-inspiring." --Kathleen C. Fennessy

Product Description

On August 7th 1974, a young Frenchman named Philippe Petit stepped out on a wire and illegally rigged between the New York's twin towers. After nearly an hour dancing on the wire, he was arrested, taken for psychological evaluation, and brought to jail before he was finally released. This documentary complies Petit s footage to show the numerous extraordinary challenges he faced in completing the artistic crime of the century.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
52 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Extreme Zen December 9, 2008
Format:DVD
On the surface, Man on Wire may appear to be a straightforward documentary about an eccentric high wire artist who is either incredibly brave, or incredibly stupid. But if you look closer, you might discover one of the best suspense thrillers/heist movies of 2008, although no guns are drawn and nothing gets stolen. It is also one of the most romantic films I've seen this year, although it is not a traditional love story. Existential and even a tad surreal at times, it is ultimately a deeply profound treatise on following your bliss.

Late in the summer of 1974, a diminutive Frenchman named Philippe Petit made a splash (of the figurative kind, luckily) by treating unsuspecting NYC morning commuters to the sight of a lifetime: a man taking a casual morning stroll across a ¾" steel cable, stretched from rooftop to rooftop between the two towers of the then-unfinished World Trade Center, 1350 feet skyward. After traversing the 200 foot wide chasm with supernatural ease, he decided to turn around and have another go. And another. And another. All told, Petit made 8 round trips, with only one brief but memorable rest stop. He took a breather to lie on his back (mid-wire) and enjoy what had to have been the ultimate Moment of Zen ever experienced in the history of humankind, contemplating the sky and enjoying a little chit-chat with a seagull.

Now, a stunt like this doesn't just happen on a whim. There are a few logistical hurdles to consider beforehand. Like how do you transport 450 lbs of steel cable to the roof of one tower of the World Trade Center, and then safely tether it across to its twin? A clandestine operation of this magnitude requires meticulous planning, and at least a couple trustworthy co-conspirators. Sounds like the makings of a classic heist film, no?
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70 of 77 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best documentary of the year September 7, 2008
Format:DVD
Let me state upfront that I am a sucker for great non-fiction documentaries. I've always believed that life is stranger than fiction. And this is just the last (and perhaps best) example of it.

"Man on Wire" (98 min.) tells the improbable story of Phillipe Petit's dream (and eventual reality) of walking on a high wire between the two WTC buildings on August 7, 1974. The movie starts with his humble beginngins of being a street artist, eventually leading to his wanting to do high wire walks, starting with the Paris Notre Dame, then the Sidney Harbor, and then eventually the World Trade Center Towers. The movie does an excellent job building the excitement into what it took to eventually pull off that implossible event. All of the main players of the event are interviewed now more than 30 years after the event, and Philippe Petit turns out to be a master entertainer and story teller. When you are watching it all unvolve, you can't but help be in awe of it all. Just exilerating, period.

If this movie doesn't get serious consideration of being nominated for best documentary of 2008 at the Oscars, there is something terribly wrong with the entire system. This is one of the most enthralling movies I've seen this year, and I've seen a lot of movies.
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197 of 227 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beneath the Thrill, a Lot of Sadness November 11, 2008
Format:DVD
I was lured into seeing this film by my teenage son, who is a circus acrobat by genetic conviction as surely as Philippe Petit was a high-wire walker and as I am a musician. I would never have entered the theater if I'd known what I'd be seeing. I have a pathologically empathetic response to films. When I was a little kid, I used to shout out warnings to Tweetie Bird when the cat got near. During fight scenes, my whole body twitches and my wife gets nervous for the safety of the unsuspecting head in front of me. I'm a climber in real life. I've been to the summit of Annapurna. But my blood pressure rises and I tremble with acrophobia at Hollywood simulations of climbing. This film Man on Wire took two years off my life, I'm sure. It's that intense, with its coy intersplicing of still photos and super-eight footage of Petit in mid-air and lovely slow talking-head interviews of Petit and his accomplices, years later, clearly establishing that they all survived to tell the tale.

Those interviews of middle-aged daredevils, reminiscing about their greatest caper, were as intense for me as the dodgy accomplishment of the adventure. It was literally the end of a love affair with life for all of them, something "too hot not to cool down," an overture too overwhelming to be followed by a mere opera. When Petit's boyhood friend broke down in tears at the waning of their friendship, when Petit's wife-the-love-of-his-life felt the reality that his life no longer needed hers, the whole social cost of Petit's obsession moved me also almost to tears. Hey, I might have cried if my heart had slowed down to twice normal. I felt an urge to grab my son and hug or shake him, saying "don't let your art be more to you than your life."

There's more to this film than a mere victimless heist thriller.
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34 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Life on the edge August 19, 2008
By big fan
Format:DVD
Don't think a documentary about a high-wire walker could be worth 5 stars? Think again! This riveting and inspirational movie combines still photographs, reenactments, actual video, and interviews with the people involved in Phillipe Petit's high wire adventures. Phillipe shows us what it means to overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles, follow your dreams, and squeeze every last drop out of life. If he could walk between the Twin Towers, just imagine what you can do...
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Impressive.
Extremely inspiring, one of the best documentaries I have ever seen. For me, it was a "How to" manifest your goals into reality. It dove a little into human nature for me. Read more
Published 4 days ago by Chase Gielda
5.0 out of 5 stars Spellbinding
I can remember reading about this feat and seeing it on the news when it happened, but never really thought about it much. Read more
Published 11 days ago by clippership
4.0 out of 5 stars No English subtitles!
It's a good movie except for one unnecessary bedroom scene. It would have helped to have had the availability of English subtitles.
Published 17 days ago by LarLyn
4.0 out of 5 stars compelling
This film had it all: recent history, vey good story line, suspense, and character development. It was believable, truly exciting "reality" viewing. Thanks
Published 19 days ago by Valerie
5.0 out of 5 stars "It's impossible...it must be done," and so he did it - danced on a...
An absolutely edge of your seat, can't stand the suspense, don't look over the edge, completely real life tale of a man fulfilling a passionate dream with the aid of a small clan... Read more
Published 20 days ago by Julie Thomas
5.0 out of 5 stars Man On Wire
This is a terrific documentary. I loved his passion.
I would urge my friends to watch it. I've watched it three times.
Published 1 month ago by ALAN MANDELL
4.0 out of 5 stars Very interesting story and some great photography
As a young man growing up in the suburbs of New York, I slighly remembered this event. The movie provided a lot of facinating information on the event . Read more
Published 1 month ago by W. F. Sweetnam
5.0 out of 5 stars Man on a Wire is way up there!
This true story is just like a "mission impossible" that just happens to be true! It is amazing and unthinkable yet it has actually taken place. Great film.
Published 1 month ago by Eliezer B.
5.0 out of 5 stars This is documentary to look up with praise
Man on Wire has won many awards, not least of which is a golden tomato. It is on of the highest rated movies by rotten tomato.
The feat of crossing the twin towers is amazing. Read more
Published 1 month ago by John Cain
5.0 out of 5 stars Good one
It has a strong story. It is great to see such documentaries. They are so much worth watching. I spend quality 90 mins watching this.
Published 1 month ago by Hari Shankar
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man on wire
Absolutely. You are not alone. It almost seemed as though they used recent footage. I was taken aback--taken out of the film, really, back to coverage about 9/11.

The director did an outstanding job, and he may have tried for this effect, since he made no explicit reference to the terrorist... Read more
Jan 7, 2011 by Mothra |  See all 2 posts
"Man on Wire" on Blu-Ray -- USA Release Date?
I contacted Magnolia pictures a few months ago, and this was the response that I received:

-----

>Dear Rich,
>
> Thank you for your interest in Man on Wire. The film is not currently
> scheduled for Blu-ray release, but please check our website,
> http://magpictures.com, for... Read more
Feb 23, 2009 by Ricardus Vincencius |  See all 4 posts
This movie is not playing/loading for some odd reason. Be the first to reply
Was that Tim Russert? Be the first to reply
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