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The Walk’s Portrayal of a Famed High Wire Stunt

Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Philippe Petit in The Walk (via TriStar Pictures) Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Philippe Petit in The Walk (via TriStar Pictures)

On August 7, 1974, Philippe Petit used a hire-wire to cross the gap between the North and South Twin Towers in New York City. This historical feat is the subject of the new film directed by Robert Zemeckis entitled The Walk. 

Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Petit, as well as Charlotte Le Bon as his girlfriend, Ann, the film chronicles the time leading up to the walk. In his home country of France, Philippe has many shortcomings and faces many challenges in trying to reach his ultimate goal.

After the initial media whirlwind following the walk in 1974, the story of Petit and the high wire has reemerged multiple times. During the aftermath of the attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001, many people reminisced with amazement at Petit’s stunt.

In 2002, Petit wrote his first book about the event entitled To Reach the Clouds, in which he talks about his preparations and his feelings when he heard about the 9/11 attacks.

A documentary film directed by James Marsh was released in 2008, showing a lot of behind the scenes footage of Petit practicing in France, as well as his walk atop of Notre Dame in Paris, and the immediate aftermath of his stunt in New York. The documentary was a large success, and is available on Netflix for Instant Watch.

A full-length feature film was the logical next step for the story of Philippe Petit and the twin towers, and by all accounts the movie is a rather accurate representation of real events, with one of the only major modifications being the condensing of Petit’s six-year preparation period.

The Walk was released in 3D only on September 30, and in 2D on October 9. The movie is playing in 2D tonight, October 14, at the Alamo Drafthouse at 3:00 PM and 6:20 PM.

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The Walk’s Portrayal of a Famed High Wire Stunt