Man on Wire (2008)
This BBC documentary tells the story of how on August 4, 1974 Philippe Petit (b. 1949) danced, sat, knelt and lay down on a tight rope that was strung between the two towers of the World Trade Center. The stunt lasted 45 minutes, during which time he traversed the cable eight times. Since we know when the film begins where it will end and what it's about, the plot consists of retelling the secret logistics, dumb luck, and extraordinary skill of the team that Petit assembled. The directors incorporate archival footage, still photos, re-enactments, and lengthy interviews with the team members. As is fitting, Petit himself narrates most of his own story. Why did he do it? That, he says, is a quintessentially American question. Bravery and skill, yes, but also joy and beauty. And how did they secure the 450-pound cable 200 feet between the two towers? Watch this fascinating film, which is based on Petit's book To Reach the Clouds (2002).