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Magic (1978)

Anthony Hopkins , Ann-Margret , Richard Attenborough  |  R |  DVD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (119 customer reviews)

List Price: $19.98
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Product Details

  • Actors: Anthony Hopkins, Ann-Margret, Burgess Meredith, Ed Lauter, E.J. André
  • Directors: Richard Attenborough
  • Writers: William Goldman
  • Producers: C.O. Erickson, Joseph E. Levine, Richard P. Levine
  • Format: Subtitled, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Dark Sky Films
  • DVD Release Date: April 25, 2006
  • Run Time: 107 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (119 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000CR76U8
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #46,299 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Magic" on IMDb

Special Features

  • "Fats and Friends" featurette
  • Interview with Anthony Hopkins
  • Interview with cinematographer Victor J. Kemper, A.S.C.
  • Archival Anthony Hopkins radio interview
  • Ann-Margret make-up test
  • Still gallery
  • Theatrical trailers
  • TV spots
  • Radio spots

Editorial Reviews

Academy Award®-winner Anthony Hopkins (SILENCE OF THE LAMBS) is Corky, a painfully shy, failed magician who finds overnight success as a ventriloquist. His brash, foul-mouthed dummy, Fats, becomes a huge nightclub hit. With his star on the rise, talent agent Ben Greene (Burgess Meredith) arranges an important shot at national TV. But the pressure of failing the network’s required physical sends Corky into a panic. With Fats in tow, he flees the city to a nearly-deserted resort in the Catskills run by the love of his youth, Peggy Ann Snow (Ann-Margret).

Peg’s spent years trapped in a loveless marriage with her high-school sweetheart, Duke. In Corky, she sees the chance for a loving relationship and accepts an offer to run away with him. After they make love, Corky confides to Fats that he may leave show business altogether. Fats becomes furious and lashes out at him, playing on his guilt and insecurity. Now under Fats’ control, Corky is manipulated into a series of violent and unexpected confrontations.

Based on the best–selling novel by William Goldman and directed by Sir Richard Attenborough (A BRIDGE TOO FAR, GANDHI), MAGIC’s stellar performances and shocking conclusion make for gripping suspense from beginning to end.


Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
39 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars MAGIC Is Fun...! May 1, 2006
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Richard Attenborough's 1978 opus MAGIC is a minor masterpiece of cinematic horror that, while oft overlooked, arguably helped pave the way to the slasher craze of late '70s and early '80s (it was released within a mere month of John Carpenter's now better known HALLOWEEN). Though Attenborough and scripter William Goldman--who adapted from his own identically titled bestseller--play down the grislier slasher aspects of the novel, they do generate genuine psychological terror with the help of an outstanding performance from actor Anthony Hopkins (yes, THAT Anthony Hopkins, who would later leave a bigger mark on horror cinema portraying another fictional loon, the infamous Hannibal Lecter). Excellent supporting performances from Ann-Margaret, as Hopkins' love interest, and Burgess Meredeth add to the believability and, in turn, the scare factor of this delightful genre gem.

Hopkins portrays Corky Withers, a painfully shy but talented magician who overcomes his stage fright and ignites a meteoric rise to fame when he takes on a sidekick--an extroverted and bawdy ventriloquist's dummy he names Fats. As Corky's act becomes more and more popular and draws the attention of big-time agents and Hollywood brass, introverted and insecure Corky allows the artificial Fats personality to take control. And Fats will do anything--ANYTHING!--to help Corky keep his split personality a secret.

True, the plot of MAGIC is not totally original. Not only had a few cinema offerings already told the same basic story--1929's THE GREAT GABBO and a segment of the 1945 British anthology DEAD OF NIGHT, to name a few--but TV's ALFRED HITCHCOCK PRESENTS (in an episode entitled "The Glass Eye") and THE TWILIGHT ZONE (in a segment called "The Dummy") also featured startlingly similar subject matter.
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42 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Anthony Hopkins' Early Triumph August 30, 2003
Format:VHS Tape
Anthony Hopkins stars as Corky Withers, a ventriloquist/magician with a pathological fear of failure. When his life starts to become surreal, he looks up the girl he secretly loved in high school, Peggy Ann Snow (Ann-Margret), and, with the help of his wiseguy dummy, Fats, sparks fly between them. But Corky's agent (Burgess Merideth) worries that Corky thinks Fats is real, thus setting off a deadly chain of events.

Anthony Hopkins is utterly convincing as the fearful and hallucinating ventriloquist. His manic performance is dynamite; he will break your heart and send chills up your spine. Ann-Margret is good as the cheerleader turned haus frau, but doesn't look dowdy enough. Ed Lauter gives an excellent performance as her brutish husband. Burgess Meredith plays the sophisticated and worldly agent with regal aplomb and almost steals the show.

William Goldman's script is thrilling without resorting to gore, and the soundtrack, which is often simply a discordant harmonica solo, adds to the spookiness. I thoroughly recommend "Magic" to fans of Anthony Hopkins and psychological thrillers; you will not be disappointed.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I still wear the scars from this one! July 9, 2006
Format:DVD
I've never been so bone-chillingly afraid of ANYTHING in my life. When I was six, the TV spots, known to me & my sisters as "The Dummy Commercial" aired during our nighttime television viewing time. The first exposure left me petrified. Each succesive airing made me run as far from the TV as possible. In recent years I collected the nerve to rent the film on VHS, hoping for some kind of reckoning with 'Fats'... but the mood of the film was bland compared to my intensely frightened memories. Now, at last, the film with all the press material, including that startling TV spot is available on DVD. My heart thumped in my chest as I brought home this DVD and explained to my roommates the significance of what they would soon watch with me. I made them leave the room as I cued up the spot, turned off the lights and asked them to be seated. I started the commercial and watched both of my 30+ roommates freeze. I confronted that harshly lit face and did not look away. I studied every detail. As a 33 year old man, I'm still afraid of the 'Dummy Commerical'.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Psychological Horror at its finest July 22, 2000
Format:VHS Tape
For 1978, this movie had its scary moments. Sir Anthony Hopkins and Ann-Margret did a wonderful job in Richard attenborough's adaptation of William Goldman's classic. Lucky for me, I still have the un-edited version on cassette. What I remember most about this film was Corky, the ventriloquist going slowly insane, due to schizophrenia, and romancing his childhood sweetheart, Peggy Ann Snow. The love scene between Anthony Hopkins and Ann-Margret was passionate and beautiful, if not a bit steamy. Nevertheless, the scene was executed well and came out right. Some of the more frightening moments in the film were also executed well. Corky using Fats to kill his agent and Peggy's husband are fine examples. As was Corky going completely insane in the end. I, too, remember the commercial for the film, and it did not bother me as much. Magic was a very good film. The soundtrack by Jerry Goldsmith was really ominous and haunting. It would be great to see Anthony Hopkins and Ann-Margret work in another film together.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars REAL HORROR NEVER DIES!!! April 23, 2002
Format:VHS Tape
This review has nothing to do with the above pictured videotape edition of this film. If the other reviews are to be believed (and I see no reason why they shouldn't) this tape contains a cut version of "Magic" which I must nay-say on general principle. And now back to Matt's life:
I first saw this movie at about the age of six or seven when it premiered on network television. Of course I'd already been intrigued and frightened near to death by the super-creepy t.v. spot that ran in 1978 (kudos to other reviewers here for reminding me of that little gem after twenty-some years). While the film in no way dissuaged my intent on becoming a professional magician and ventriloquist, it did spook me pretty good. Now, after over a decade, I finally decided to revisit the past.
While the film certainly isn't great, it is nowhere near as bad as some people would have you believe. It also does not approach the level of banality to which Mr. Hopkins has, in recent years, apparently resigned himself. While I have never been old Tony's biggest booster, I think a case can be made for his performance here. If nothing else, the role is the perfect showcase for his acting style and those who go into the film loving him will only love him more. Ann-Margret does a good turn as Peggy-Ann Snow and Burgess Meredith trots out his usually excellent curmudgeon bit. While the whole dummy/ventriloquist personality swap is nothing new to the genre ("Dead of Night" as well as a Twilight Zone episode starring Cliff Robertson come to mind as but two forerunners), this film is nonetheless dark, bleak, menacing, creepy, powerful and very scary. It's not perfect. The love scene between Ann and Tony is even yuckier today than it was when I was five.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars MAGIC DVD
AN OLD TIME FAVORITE....AT A GREAT PRICE....I LOVE IT !!....IF YOU LIKE ANTHONY HOPKINS, THIS DVD IS FOR YOU...HIGHLY RECOMMENDED....
Published 10 days ago by John M. Stack
5.0 out of 5 stars Horror Film You Won't Forget
1978 saw the release of the thriller Magic. Luckily I saw it in the theatre. Ann-Margret looking lovely plays the love interest of a ventriloquist, who's dummy takes over. Read more
Published 24 days ago by K. Nolting
4.0 out of 5 stars This Was A Gift
I barely remember this movie, but a friend of mine considers it to be one of his favorites. I remember it being pretty creepy and one of the first times I ever saw Anthony Hopkins... Read more
Published 1 month ago by John H. Kauss
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Creepy story Good acting on Hopkins part !!!
One of my favorite films from Hopkins early years. co stars Ann margaret, Burgess Merideth,and David Ogden Steirs. A must see for horror fans !!!
Published 2 months ago by Eric W.
5.0 out of 5 stars "They call me the postman..."
I've been debating whether or not to buy this movie for weeks. I finally gave in and bought it, not to be regretted. This is a really cool and creepy flick from 1978. Read more
Published 2 months ago by gorehoundj93
5.0 out of 5 stars Early Anthony Hopkins.
I like this movie.
It has its flaws but it is Early Anthony Hopkins and has some surprisingly
fear provoking moments. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Matty
5.0 out of 5 stars Magic
I love this movie. I would recommend it everyone. It was my first film of this kind. Thank you very much!
Published 3 months ago by Chris
5.0 out of 5 stars bigcat
A good creepy horror movie. I guess Anthony Hopkins and Ann Margaret had never been in a horror movie in their entire career but this is a great one!
Published 4 months ago by bigcat
5.0 out of 5 stars Good forgotten thriller.
Early appearance of Anthony Hopkins.
He gained fame in USA years later.
Had to order copy because have never seen on tv.
Published 5 months ago by Michael Linkous
5.0 out of 5 stars I can't express how much I love LOVE this movie.
Ventriloquist dolls scare the F out of me, but sadly there aren't many movies, well there aren't good movies about them. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Daniel
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Ending of Magic
Ann Margret was just imitating Fats as she walks toward the cabin. Her decision to leave with Corky has been made, and she is just feeling happy and playful, not knowing Corky's ultimate fate.
Dec 10, 2009 by Emiliano Feliberti |  See all 4 posts
This Was A Big Movie For Me
i think so too. bravo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! william goldman is so brilliant a writer. no one breaks the heart quite as deftly.
barry
Jan 7, 2011 by Joel, Holden |  See all 2 posts
This DVD is the real thing, NOT the edited version Be the first to reply
Magic anthony hopkins Be the first to reply
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