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Magic Trip

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Editorial Reviews

In 1964, Ken Kesey, the famed author of "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest," set off on a legendary cross-country road trip to the New York World's Fair. He was joined by The Merry Band of Pranksters, including Neal Cassady, the American icon immortalized in Kerouac's On the Road. Kesey and the Pranksters intended to make a documentary about their trip, but the film was never finished and the footage has remained virtually unseen. With MAGIC TRIP, Oscar®-winning director Alex Gibney and Alison Ellwood were given unprecedented access to this raw footage to create a documentary of this extraordinary piece of American history.

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Stanley Tucci, Ken Kesey, Timothy Leary
  • Directors: Alex Gibney, Alison Ellwood
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Magnolia Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: November 1, 2011
  • Run Time: 107 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (79 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B005HI4LLO
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #14,591 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Magic Trip" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

I have a much better sense of what the experience was really like.
David Fuller
The magic bus of the Who's song, the Beatles and psychedelic were all captured in some way by this merry prankster an his bunch of pranksters.
chris Davis
So despite these unavoidable necessities, the movie very accurately portrays the events it depicts.
B. Tweed DeLions

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

87 of 91 people found the following review helpful By Arcrftmek on July 10, 2011
Format: Amazon Instant Video Verified Purchase
As for the first review above, I won't take issue with the reviewer, that's his perspective. I have a different view. Maybe going in with certain expectations would make one wish for more and I can imagine this movie being different. But I certainly don't think "Keysey deserves better". Considering his wife and son were instrumental in the making of it, I don't see how someone could take this film as a disservice to him or the Pranksters.

If you're not familiar with Kesey, this review might not be for you. Go read up a little or talk to an old hippy friend. If you are and find that era interesting, take a peek.

In some ways, this movie mirrors Electric Koolaid Acid Test. There's a little before the trip. A little about the Acid Tests after, and a nice short post script about his life afterward in Oregon. It's not just about the bus trip, but that is the central focus of the movie. It's a documentary, but not in the sense that anyone familiar with the story will learn much new, rather, it's a long awaited peek into the actual event, told through the original footage and recordings taken on the trip along with some short recreations and narratives.
Most of the world has heard the story, many have read it, but most of this footage has rarely been seen. It puts a face on the characters, fills in some blanks not covered by the book, (while leaving much out) and is a truly nice, humble homage to one of the true psychedelic pioneers.
How many people toured the country on LSD, met with greats like Alpert, Leary, Ginsberg, while Dean Moriarty (actually Neal Cassidy in real life) is driving a LSD and drug fueled bus filled with proto-hippies across the US to see the Worlds Fair in NYC in 1964?
Only one man could have pulled it off, because only one did.
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Avid Political Junkie on August 7, 2011
Format: Amazon Instant Video Verified Purchase
I always wanted to put faces and personalities to the names in the Electric Koolaid Acid Test, and this film does it wonderfully. And hearing Cassady's patter live was priceless. But what really surprised me is how crew-cut all the Merry Pranksters were! Take away quote from Kesey: "I've always been a fairly reliable straight-up the middle road citizen who just happens to be an acid head." Loved it!
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful By B. Tweed DeLions on November 16, 2011
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I first read the Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test not long after it first came out. Later I became aware of the fact that it wasn't entirely accurate. But it was accurate enough for me to get a pretty good understanding of what the movement was all about. Besides, I had the lyrics of groups like The Grateful Dead, John Lennon, and Jimi Hendrix as resources too. I don't blame Kesey and Owsley and others for being a little angry with Wolfe for getting a lot of things wrong; but people who didn't live in the San Francisco Bay area learned quite a lot from the book anyway, and mostly good things, in my opinion.

The most common criticism of the book, which apparently is fairly accurate, is that most of the book is written from the point of view of one Prankster: Sandy Lehmann-Haupt, who was a little crazy, and who had an ongoing disagreement with Kesey during the bus trip and after. But there are also other, non-Prankster, voices in the book. One of my favorite parts came from an interview with a woman who later became a journalist, if I rightly recall. She was at an acid test an accidentally took too heavy a dose. Luckily she bumped into a male friend of hers, and the two of them held onto each other to weather the psychedelic storm they were standing in the middle of. They pulled each other through, and the experience left an indelible impression on both of them. They became instant friends for life.

Kesey and Oswley and others resented Wolfe's mischaracterizations, whether they were inadvertent or not. Wolfe just didn't get it. He had no concept of what these states of consciousness were like and he never found out. I think he lived his whole life without even trying marijuana, which is fine. But he didn't have a clue to what he was actually writing about.
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25 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Kevin J. Violette on November 6, 2011
Format: Amazon Instant Video
You're either on the bus or off the bus. If you read and enjoyed the book by Tom Wolfe,"The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test", you will want to see this. It's like reading "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" and then watching actual footage of Hunter Thompson partying with his Somoan attorney. This is the America I was born into, in living color, as it was about to change from Wally and the Beaver to Jimi Hendrix and Easy Rider. This is Ground Zero for the flower-power era. Kesey and his Merry Pranksters look surprisingly clean-cut for road-tripping acid heads. They weren't really Hippies; Hippies hadn't been invented yet. On one level, their adventures are ludicrous and anti-climactic...as the big trip is launched, the bus runs out of gas before they even make it off the property. They splash around in the water, they blow on instruments they can't really play, they try to make a movie with equipment they can barely operate.They decide to take acid while waiting for a tow-truck! Indeed,if you've never experienced psychedelic drugs, you'll wonder what all the fuss is about. If you HAVE tripped, you'll appreciate the wonder and evangelical zeal that Kesey felt, and witness America's mind being blown for the very first time. He looks wholesome and benign as he urges and encourages his friends to penetrate the farthest reaches of inner space. Sceptics will scoff, but Kesey was onto something...the possibility of living a self-defined life. Kesey actually did it. That is not a small achievement.There IS an element of half-assedness here. There is also the shining light of a holy fool.
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