Man on Wire

Movie Information

Classic Cinema From Around the World will present Man on Wire at 8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 10, at Courtyard Gallery, located in the Phil Mechanic Studios building at 109 Roberts St. in the River Arts District. Info: 273-3332.
Genre: Quirky Quasi-Documentary
Director: James Marsh
Starring: Philippe Petit, Paul McGill, Annie Allix, Ardis Campbell
Rated: PG-13

James Marsh’s Man on Wire (2008) is perhaps the most purely entertaining documentary I’ve ever seen—and one of the few documentaries I’ve ever watched of my own volition more than once. This is partly because it plays fast and loose with the documentary form. It’s actually almost a docu-drama, since it blends real footage and photographs with dramatic recreations. The film’s greatest accomplishment, though, lies in making the illegal tightwire walk between the World Trade Towers that Philippe Petit undertook on Aug. 7, 1974 suspenseful. We already know it happened, so that’s a trick of no little note. I reviewed the film at great length in 2008, so you might want to check out the original review at

About Ken Hanke
Head film critic for Mountain Xpress from December 2000 until his death in June 2016. Author of books "Ken Russell's Films," "Charlie Chan at the Movies," "A Critical Guide to Horror Film Series," "Tim Burton: An Unauthorized Biography of the Filmmaker."

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One thought on “Man on Wire

  1. TonyRo

    One of the best documentaries of the past decade (which has been ripe with some really good ones). Always gets a positive response from anyone I recommend it too. A must see.

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