Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Philippe Petite & the Sydney Harbour Bridge

In 1974 Phillipe Petite and some of his friends performed a circus heist, as they illegally mounted a highwire between the two twin towers. The story of this is expertly told in the 2008 Oscar winning documentary Man on Wire.

This clip is an original 1974 news report about the extraordinary incident.
For disorderly conduct and criminal trespassing he was sentenced to doing a free show for children in Central park. How come we don't live in a world where this is the norm? I love the feat, the irreverent act of illegal circus and I love the justice systems response.

"Why did you do this?
there is no why, Just because when I see a beautiful place to put my wire, I can not resist."

The year before he stretched his wire between the twin towers he did a similar walk but in Sydney Australia where he stretched his wire out between the north pylons of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. I found this documentary made by the Australian film makers James and Jesse Ricketson.

Part One:

Part Two:

And finally here is the funambulist talking about himself at TED 2012.


  1. Great find Frodo! I loved the Man on Wire doco, and just finished reading his story of it, 'To Reach the Clouds' which was even more flamboyantly French... hi5s from Melbourne!

  2. Thank's man. I first discovered Phillip Petite from reading his book. And yeah, he is very french and idiosyncratic but hey, its the circus so it's to be expected.