[A] breathtaking documentary about that mad-genius coup achieved over three decades ago.
Lisa Schwarzbaum - Entertainment Weekly
Thorough, understated and altogether enthralling documentary.
A.O. Scott - New York Times
What Marsh shows us is Petit's childlike innocence and almost transcendental faith: faith in himself, faith in his leadership abilities, faith that the escapade would be a success, and faith that he would not fall.
Peter Bradshaw - Guardian [UK]
It all makes for an absorbing, mischievously amusing yarn, whose climax unfolds with unexpected emotional force.
Ann Hornaday - Washington Post
A documentary about a towering act of daring proves a spine-tingling memorial to recklessness as art.
Ty Burr - Boston Globe
Exhilarating... a crowd-pleaser in such witty, poetic ways that even an art-house curmudgeon couldn't deny its tidy vigor.
Aaron Hillis - Village Voice
Director James Marsh's hypnotic movie documents French wire walker Philippe Petit's unauthorized, 45-minute balancing act 110 stories above New York in August 1974.
Joe Neumaier - New York Daily News
Part of what makes Man on Wire so enthralling, and so entertaining, is the filmmaker's skill in laying out the illegal caper's logistics, mainly through interviews with Philippe and his support team.
Joe Morgenstern - Wall Street Journal
Though we know how it ends, it unfolds with suspense. And though it lacks any discussion of the towers' destruction, it succeeds as a tribute to their birth.
Amy Biancolli - Houston Chronicle
A gift of a documentary.
Lisa Kennedy - Denver Post
James Marsh's rollicking documentary Man on Wire asks not 'Why?' but 'How the hell?'
David Edelstein - New York Magazine
Constructed like a first-rate thriller.
Roger Ebert - Chicago Sun-Times
Robert Zemeckis is developing a feature film based on Petit's life and high crimes. Good luck to all concerned, but I can't see how a fictionalized treatment could exceed the achievement of director James Marsh's documentary, which unfolds like a dream.
Michael Phillips - Chicago Tribune
In archival photos Petit seems to float between the towers, a tiny black figure against a vivid blue sky; the images are all the more poignant for the unstated fact that Petit is still around when the buildings aren't.
J. R. Jones - Chicago Reader
[A] heart-stopping, knee-buckling and transcendent account.
Carrie Rickey - Philadelphia Inquirer
There's nothing on movie screens now that can compare with the footage of Petit's performance.
Colin Covert - Minneapolis Star Tribune
Astonishing. Daring. Mind-boggling. Visually stunning. A true heart-stopper. And, oh yeah, the movie's pretty good, too.
Tom Long - Detroit News
It is one of the most suspenseful, white-knuckled films of the year.
Richard Nilsen - Arizona Republic
As the film traces how he plotted his Word Trade Center walk, it starts to feel almost like a heist movie, as Mr. Petit and his cronies map out each minute detail over the course of month.
Sara Vilkomerson - New York Observer
James Marsh's Man on Wire erupts onscreen as one of the most wildly entertaining docs of recent years.
Robert Koehler - Variety
[An] engrossing and exhilarating documentary Man on Wire, which uses vintage footage, interviews and re-creations.
Lou Lumenick - New York Post
James Marsh tells Petit's story, the most inspiring 'heist' in modern history, a Frenchman's stroll between two 110 story buildings in lower Manhattan.
Roger Moore - Orlando Sentinel
This film is a celebration of human achievement; it soars with the promise that we are shackled to the ground only by lack of imagination and will.
Peter Howell - Toronto Star
In this exhilarating, palm-moistening documentary by British filmmaker James Marsh (Wisconsin Death Trip), the twin towers are back to celebrate one of their finest moments.
Jonathan F. Richards - Film.com
[Director] Marsh creates a transfixing documentary feature that doubles as a celebration of one man and an elegy to two buildings that are no more.
Kamal Al-Solaylee - Globe and Mail
Delightful and finally transcendent documentary.
Andrew O'Hehir - Salon.com
Without bombast or pathos -- as gracefully as a tightrope walker -- Man on Wire brings back a time when the towers were still symbols of aspiration and possibility.
Dana Stevens - Slate
A fascinating time capsule: a combination of talking-head interviews, actual footage, and re-creations that evokes a kinder, gentler world and provides insight into one of the most audacious stunts of the 20th century.
James Berardinelli - ReelViews
A surprisingly entertaining, poignant documentary about the most notorious high-wire walk ever.
Frank Scheck - Hollywood Reporter
The word 'documentary' doesn't begin to do justice to [director] Marsh's achievement.
Christy Lemire - Associated Press
They say that seeing is believing, but Man on Wire will make you doubt what your eyes are telling you -- it really will -- as you shake your head in amazement and awe.
Kenneth Turan - Los Angeles Times
- Sight and Sound
Brent Simon - Shared Darkness
Nell Minow - Movie Mom at Yahoo! Movies
Ben Kenigsberg - Time Out
The pains of the public eye are acknowledged just as much as the joy this artistic endeavour brought people.
Mike Edwards - Obsessed With Film
Mike Edwards - What Culture
Despite a known outcome, James Marsh's documentary offers sublime thrills - grafting the tense suspense of a heist film onto an existential dissection of artistic accomplishment and true friendship.
Nick Rogers - Suite101.com
The tension builds incrementally, reaching almost unbearable heights at its dizzying climax.
Catherine Wheatley - Sight and Sound
click to read full review
Joseph Proimakis - Movies for the Masses
Interviewed today, Petit is a whale of a storyteller, and he recalls with relish the chilling details of that amazing day.
Gerald Peary - Boston Phoenix
Man On Wire's cinematic tension that in the wire Philippe Petit balanced on as he walked between the Twin Towers in the history-making high wire stunt shown in this compelling documentary. The film's also a poignant memorial to the hallowed Twin To
Jennifer Merin - About.com
Not only a fun heist movie but also a moving tale of spiritual uplift and beauty.
Devin Faraci - CHUD
The details of how the event was planned and staged are fascinating, but a crucial element missing from the film is good cinematography of the actual event.
Robert Roten - Laramie Movie Scope
A feat like the one Philippe Petit pulled off deserves to be documented.
Jeffrey Chen - Window to the Movies
I would have found it easier to get emotionally invested in Le Coup (rather than abstractly awed) if I had a better sense of his coup de foudre.
Karina Montgomery - Cinerina
Petit transforms his stories into mini-masterpieces of performance.
David Cornelius - eFilmCritic.com
Man on Wire is absolutely breathtaking, a documentary as life-affirming as it is artistically intoxicating.
Brandon Fibbs - BrandonFibbs.com
Present-day interviews and modern re-enactments provide the piece with its structure, but it's the awe-inspiring archival footage that makes this a giddy watch.
Matt Brunson - Creative Loafing
It's a great deal of fun, playing not unlike a crafty caper film with loads of spine-tingling suspense.
Jeffrey M. Anderson - Combustible Celluloid
Une oeuvre d'une puissance dramatique inouie
Jean-Francois Vandeuren - Panorama
James Marsh's documentary is the story of the dreaming and scheming that went into the walk, which I hesitate to call a stunt. It seems too glib a word for a feat that inspired the poignant complex of emotions uncovered by Marsh's narrative.
Sandra Hall - Sydney Morning Herald
This is a fascinating account of a moment from history that will never be repeated.
Tony Medley - tonymedley.com
The erasure of the towers adds poignance and irony to a documented event that is inherently thrilling and beautiful.
Joe Williams - St. Louis Post-Dispatch
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.
Noel Murray - AV Club
This is the story of a group of conspirators bent on shocking humanity with an outrageous plot regarding the World Trade Center, a plot involving an act so mind-boggling it staggers the imagination.
James Verniere - Boston Herald
- National Post
- Irish Times
By any rational gauge, Petit's WTC obsession was flat-out crazy, but Marsh takes a limpid, nonjudgmental view of it all.
Peter Rainer - Christian Science Monitor
Director James Marsh assembles this material into an offbeat but often unbearably exciting heist movie -- a white-knuckle ride of a thriller that can stand up against such classics of the genre as Rififi, Topkapi and Robbery.
William Arnold - Seattle Post-Intelligencer
A highly entertaining and extremely accessible film.
Allan Hunter - Screen International
Marsh uses a combination of interviews, film of Petit as a young man, authentic newsreels and enacted reconstructions to produce an unforgettable experience.
Evan Williams - The Australian
Marsh stitches his story together with a seamless melding of interviews, stills, re-enactments and archival footage augmented by a wonderful score by Michael Nyman and the New York composer J. Ralph.
Sandra Hall - The Age (Australia)
The simplicity of Philippe's vision is intoxicating, as is his self-assurance.
- FILMINK (Australia)
This film is a treasure.
Julie Rigg - MovieTime, ABC Radio National
Sufferers from vertigo be warned: Man on Wire contains some of the most amazing scenes of hire-wire brilliance ever filmed.
David Stratton - At the Movies (Australia)
It's a hell of a story, and Petit is a mesmerising storyteller, with an extravagantly poetic turn of phrase and the glittering eye of the Ancient Mariner.
Jake Wilson - The Age (Australia)
Man on Wire is a film with everything: truth, drama, suspense, tension, sex, heartbreak, humour, crime and triumph
Louise Keller - Urban Cinefile
Part re-enactment, part archival home movie, part historical and part social document, the subject is ideal as a story more fantastic than fiction
Andrew L. Urban - Urban Cinefile
As cops waited to arrest him, he laughed, kneeled, laid down on the wire and spoke with a seagull. Wonder if its name was Jonathan Livingston?
Phil Villarreal - Arizona Daily Star
A film that's suspenseful, fun, inspiring and finally, even moving. In other words, see this movie.
Ken Hanke - Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
A model of documentary storytelling, 'Man on Wire' is as gripping and suspenseful as a good heist film...
John Beifuss - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
As the subject of James Marsh's brilliant documentary Man on Wire, Petit proves that there can be joy in doing what others would consider to be insane.
Bill Gibron - PopMatters
Petit is such an ebullient guy it's hard not to get sucked into his high-wire antics.
Meg Jones - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Are these people inspiring, talented stars, pursuing a difficult and dangerous athletic feat, or are there they disturbed nuts with a death wish? The film doesn't judge and doesn't take sides.
Stephen Silver - The Trend
Marsh finds Petit is as puckish today as he was 34 years ago.
Sean Means - Salt Lake Tribune
The film really puts you in the shoes of those New Yorkers who looked up from their daily lives one day and saw something utterly unimaginable.
Rob Thomas - Capital Times (Madison, WI)
Art and deviltry combine and permeate this ode to a man's dream.
Jules Brenner - Cinema Signals
It mines recent history in a way that makes it seem new and invigorating, reminding us of how wonderfully, blissfully deranged human behavior can be
James Kendrick - Q Network Film Desk
Surprisingly thrilling and enthralling, and it does give you an appreciation for the sort of enthusiasm and craziness that it took for them to have done this in the first place.
Jeff Vice - Deseret News, Salt Lake City
James Marsh's remarkable documentary is a reminder that in a rigid world filled with rules and regulations, true beauty can come from the most indefinable of acts.
Eric Melin - Scene-Stealers.com
Director James Marsh approaches this subject with a childlike sense of wonder in his documentary, delighting in the skulduggery behind the event.
Lawrence Toppman - Charlotte Observer
Man On Wire is an engrossing film that captures the imagination and never ceases to entertain.
Kevin Craft - Miami Herald
If Man on Wire were fiction it would be hailed as a terrific suspense film, a fascinating character study and an awesome spectacle. But it's true, which makes it all the more remarkable.
Robert W. Butler - Kansas City Star
We know it didn't end with Petit falling to his death, but darned if it isn't still compelling to see the caper laid out.
Eric D. Snider - EricDSnider.com
The story that looks back at the incident plays like a great caper film. The operation to get into the tower and string the wire was a combination of ingenuity, planning and exquisite timing since the top of the building was still a construction site.
Adam Fendelman - HollywoodChicago.com
Maintains a sense of excitement and poetry.
Dennis Schwartz - Ozus' World Movie Reviews
A talking-heads documentary has no business working as a nerve-wracking thriller, but here we have Man on Wire....one of the most exciting movies to come out all year.
Tim Brayton - Antagony & Ecstasy
Petit himself is a bundle of energy, passion, and enthusiasm as he describes his dreams and the nuts and bolts details of achieving it. Marsh lets the story play out like a heist film.
Beth Accomando - KPBS.org
grasps just what it means to be human and to express it fully
John A. Nesbit - Old School Reviews
Fascinating documentary with an added white knuckle component.
Boo Allen - Denton Record Chronicle (TX)
The man is clearly a nut, but he's also a great storyteller with a heck of a story, and Man on Wire gives him a chance to tell it.
Robert Davis - Paste Magazine
It's a rare tale of dangerous obsession rapturously fulfilled, a reminder that even the most quixotic of undertakings can knock over a windmill now and then.
Christopher Orr - New Republic
A definite candidate for documentary of the year.
Glenn Whipp - Los Angeles Daily News
Man On Wire is surprising and entertaining, an unexpected adventure story for the modern world.
Liz Braun - Jam! Movies
Christopher Orr - The New Republic
Spellbinding, and a model of the documentary form.
Marc Savlov - Austin Chronicle
Man on Wire, the delightful documentary about French tightrope walker Philippe Petit's incroyable early-morning trip between the World Trade Center towers in 1974, is an interesting film to watch from the front row.
Reyhan Harmanci - San Francisco Chronicle
A documentary every bit as entertaining and rebellious as the real life figure at its center.
Geoff Berkshire - Metromix.com
Beautifully put together, it is every bit as suspenseful as even the best Hollywood heist films, which is even more remarkable when you consider that we know, from the first frame, that Petit will survive.
Andy Klein - Los Angeles CityBeat
[Petit is] such an impassioned and energetic interview subject that it's remarkable that someone didn't make Man on Wire earlier.
Brian Tallerico - The Deadbolt
This movie about Petit's achievement is a gust of fresh air, offering the inner workings of a lark that put a man's life at risk -- and also made him immortal.
Michael Sragow - Baltimore Sun
Engrossing...rich and visually well-documented telling of a fascinating story.
Peter Canavese - Groucho Reviews
Mesmerizing, heart-stopping and overpoweringly beautiful.
Chris Hewitt (St. Paul) - St. Paul Pioneer Press
The recollections of Petit and his crew, as well as cleverly staged re-creations of the illicit preparations for the walk, form the backbone of Marsh's compelling and at times awe-inspiring film.
Marc Mohan - Oregonian
The film's soaring climax becomes surprisingly emotional thanks to testimony from those lucky enough to have witnessed it.
Rafer Guzman - Newsday
Man on Wire should be watched on the biggest screen possible; it's an utterly thrilling exploration of one man's mad dream.
Moira MacDonald - Seattle Times
Man on Wire is another refreshing film from 2008 that proves that even if Hollywood is running out of ideas, we can still count on documentaries.
Kevin McCarthy - WJFK-FM (CBS Radio)
Exhilarating and engrossing
Susan Granger - SSG Syndicate
Outrageously entertaining and perfectly profound.
Jeanne Aufmuth - Palo Alto Weekly
...a must see movie, period.
Robin Clifford - Reeling Reviews
Cleverly assembled like a heist thriller, this film documents the 1974 wire-walking stunt between the twin towers of the World Trade Center. Not only does it have a remarkable resonance seven years after 9/11, but it's a cracking good story.
Rich Cline - Shadows on the Wall
Marsh presents Petit as a kind of acrobatic Werner Herzog, talented, eccentric and perhaps slightly crazy.
Derek Malcolm - This is London
Gripping stuff, for sure, but you may fall asleep waiting for that big walk, while the juicy stuff - a fall-out between Petit and his co-conspirators - is glossed over at the end.
- Daily Mirror [UK]
It's an incredible story, and in Man on Wire, Marsh has made a documentary that's worthy of his walk.
Chris Tilly - IGN Movies UK
The astonishing tale, told like a well-paced heist movie, is illustrated by film footage and breathtaking photographs taken by the group.
- Sun Online
Marsh's film is an achievement in itself, beautifully constructed and carried off; and that's only fitting when his subject epitomises the soul-lifting power of that perpetual human hunger to do the impossible.
Matt Mueller - Total Film
James Marsh's film is brilliantly achieved and assembled.
- Financial Times
I've watched this film four times and I still can't believe what he did or what I'm seeing. Each viewing intensifies the galvanising joy and the heartbreakingly unrepeatable nature of his walk.
Sukhdev Sandhu - Daily Telegraph
The attacks of 9/11 are never mentioned, and rightly so - this is a film about the life of the towers, not the death. But their inevitable destruction gives the movie a poignant weight, and reminds us of a time when they weren't morbid geopolitical symbol
Kevin Maher - Times [UK]
Marsh ably captures the irresistible story of a visionary and a dreamer, a man who was defined by this one act. If there's one gripe, it's a shame there's no film footage of Petit conquering the towers.
Tim Evans - Sky Movies
A quietly inspirational true-life tale of a larger-than-life oddball told with measure and restraint.
Hannah Forbes Black - Film4
Much of Marsh's focus is on the practical details and build up of the caper, but the last third stretches out for poetic resonance.
Amy Nicholson - I.E. Weekly
Recounting the simple story of a complicated character, this scales giddy emotional heights, revealing a portrait of a man teetering on the brink, in more ways than one...
Will Lawrence - Empire Magazine
Mike Martin - Man On Wire is an amazingly emotional journey to the heart of one man's constant battle with his mortality.
Victor Olliver - Teletext
A generous, visionary gesture supplanting the communal memory of the site's unspeakable horrors with an image of human achievement that's head-spinning, heart-leaping in its absurd purity.
Trevor Johnston - Time Out
This is a documentary that speaks for itself, so mind-blowing is Petit's feat that words do not do it justice.
Laura Clifford - Reeling Reviews
Admirable in not pandering to World Trade Center gut sentiment, the James Marsh 'Man on Wire' details Philippe Petit's 1974 wirewalk between the 110-storey structures.
Donald J. Levit - ReelTalk Movie Reviews
A celebration of athleticism, architecture, random beauty and crazy ambition.
Bryant Frazer - Bryant Frazer's Deep Focus
Properly promoted -- this festival fave will have crossover crowds on the edges of their seats, as well.
Chad Greene - Boxoffice Magazine
Warning: this film will produce vertigo.
Kent Turner - Film-Forward.com
Sits alongside "The Thin Blue Line" and "Hoop Dreams" as a non-fictional narrative which changes the rules of its genre.
Edward Havens - FilmJerk.com
The film runs 95 minutes, and you'll be holding your breath for most of them.
Ken Fox - TV Guide's Movie Guide
A compelling and subtle documentary about Philippe Petit's sensational walk on a wire between the World Trade Center Twin Towers in 1974 and the missteps he made on earth afterwards.
Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat - Spirituality and Practice
What ultimately reverberates is [the film's] potent central association between Petit's endeavor and the Twin Towers' erection.
Nick Schager - Cinematical
One of the best things about Man on Wire is how little it tries to decipher Petit's actions, even with the copious amount of time it spends interviewing him and his accomplices
Chris Barsanti - Filmcritic.com
Armed with the standard operating tools of documentary filmmaking, James Marsh leads audiences through Petit & Co.'s preparation and execution of this incredible feat of performance art.
David Fear - Time Out New York
The resolution may not surprise, but the journey surely will, resulting in a magnificent, often breathtaking document of a man who desired a moment to touch the heavens. Literally.
Brian Orndorf - BrianOrndorf.com
Marsh's film may not probe very deeply into Petit's character, or try to conjecture what his accomplishment means in a post-9/11 environment, but it does make for a wonderful caper, which is exactly how Petit envisioned it.
Simon Abrams - New York Press
Builds a remarkable degree of suspense...and along the way it manages a good deal of humor and charm as well.
Frank Swietek - One Guy's Opinion
Part caper movie, part real-life superhero saga, and entirely engrossing.
Jim Ridley - City Pages, Minneapolis/St. Paul
An exhilarating film for the ages not to be missed, either for its enlightening peek inside the elite mind of an extraordinary individual or for its ethereal tribute to the Twin Towers.
Kam Williams - NewsBlaze
Man on Wire becomes a thrilling study in contrast, succeeding not only at extolling Philippe's superhuman performance but attesting to the achievements of those who similarly defied death to give the man the stage he walked on.
Ed Gonzalez - Slant Magazine
Brilliantly directed, hugely entertaining documentary that tells a genuinely stunning story and paints a fascinating portrait of an extraordinary man.
Matthew Turner - ViewLondon
A riveting portrait of the unusually obsessed, gifted, charismatic and downright gutsy Petit.
Doris Toumarkine - Film Journal International
Acrophobics beware: just watching Philippe Petit walk across Twin Towers will make you dizzy.
Harvey S. Karten - Compuserve
A giddy dream, a suspenser, a harrowing surreal comedy of the possible--like Dog Day Afternoon told by Amelie.
Kyle Smith - KyleSmithOnline.com
Even if what the very idea of such a stunt gives you is a knot in your stomach rather than a lump in your throat, Man on Wire is pure delight.
Tricia Olszewski - Let's Not Listen
Context is crucial for this stranger than fiction docu: It's impossiblle to watch Marsh's exciting chronicle of a unique adventure in the summer of 1974 without thinking of 9/11 and its aftermath.
Emanuel Levy - EmanuelLevy.Com
No amount of description can transmit the passion and joy in this wonderful picture, assisted by a lyrical musical score by composer Michael Myman. See this movie.
Cole Smithey - ColeSmithey.com
In a city synonymous with hustle and bustle, the image of a stony-faced Frenchman gracefully dancing across a wire suspended between the Twin Towers, with no safety net or harness, is an overwhelmingly beauteous juxtaposition.
Marlow Stern - Manhattan Movie Magazine
A great example of truth being better than fiction---a combination of "Mission Impossible", Billy Wilder's "Spirit of St. Louis" and Charlie Chaplin's "Modern Times."
Ron Wilkinson - Monsters and Critics
Man on Wire is thrilling in a way few documentaries about such a light subject ever get to be.
Joshua Tyler - CinemaBlend.com
It's magical stuff.
Paul Gallagher - Future Movies UK
Petit showed us that a dream, no matter how risky or dangerous, is often its own reward. It's an important lesson, but one that's obviously easy to forget, and Man on Wire is a stunning reminder.
Jeff Giles - Bullz-Eye.com