Man on Wire

Frenchman Philippe Petit walks across a wire between the twin towers.

James Marsh

In 1974, a young Frenchman named Philippe Petit did something no one had dared do before when he rigged up a wire between New York’s twin towers.

After spending almost an hour dancing on the wire, Petit was arrested and taken to a nearby hospital for a psychological evaluation, and finally released. Performing on a tightrope between the twin towers was something he had been dreaming of for over six years, in the end, Petit spent eight months in New York City planning the execution of the coup.

With help from a team of friends, Petit was facing some major hurdles: he had to first find a way to get passed WTC security; smuggle the heavy steel cable and rigging equipment into the towers, then anchor the cable and tension it to withstand the winds and the swaying of the towers.

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.

Man on Wire gives us an extraordinary insight into life Philippe himself, we hear from the man 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.

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