The Man Who Walked Between the Towers 2005

June 14, 2023

One of the most remarkable stories in modern history—the daring 1974 high-wire walk between the twin towers of the World Trade Center. Narrated by Oscar nominee Jake Gyllenhaal, this animated adaptation of the lyrical Caldecott Award-winning book is a riveting account of Philippe Petit's dream coup.

Throughout the story, the text and illustrations work together to capture the drama of the moment and the larger-than-life persona of Philippe. With impeccable pacing and a vertiginous perspective, the story comes to life and children can't help but be inspired by this extraordinary feat of engineering and courage.

The tale begins when street performer and tightrope walker Philippe Petit first becomes obsessed with the idea of walking between the World Trade Center buildings, then spends years planning his epic feat. He has practiced his art in a circus, and on the Notre Dame towers and the pylons of Sydney's Harbour Bridge, but his preparation for the World Trade Center walk was far more intense. He gathered a team to assist him in his mission, and they spent months casing the building's roofs, hiding out inside as construction workers and even identifying a confederate who worked on the top floor of the south tower.

On the morning of August 7, 1974, they strung a cable wire between the towers at over a quarter mile above the sidewalk, and Philippe set out to walk—and dance, lean, and lie down—on it for an hour. A crowd gathered below to watch, and when he finished he alighted and surrendered to the police.


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