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The Magic Christian (1969)

Peter Sellers , Ringo Starr , Joseph McGrath  |  PG |  DVD
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (98 customer reviews)


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Product Details

  • Actors: Peter Sellers, Ringo Starr, Isabel Jeans, Caroline Blakiston, Wilfrid Hyde-White
  • Directors: Joseph McGrath
  • Format: Color, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Republic Pictures
  • DVD Release Date: January 21, 2003
  • Run Time: 92 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (98 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00007GZQI
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #209,079 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Magic Christian" on IMDb

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

Peter Sellers, Ringo Starr. The richest man in the world and his sidekick devise a series of outrageous schemes to prove that people will do anything when money is involved. 1969/color/93 min/PG/fullscreen.

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
(98)
3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
57 of 58 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious Comedy Disguising Brutal Satire February 27, 2001
Format:VHS Tape
The first time I saw the hunting scene in which Ringo Starr opens up on game birds with a tommy gun, followed by a Peter Sellers-thrown hand grenade, British Army anti-aircraft artillery barrage, and a final flame-thrower toasting, I just about wet myself laughing. It is one of the most unpredictable, insane, fully-developed lambasting of British pomposity I've ever encountered, on film or in print. And this bit takes place early on in this wonderful movie.

The film is a series of excellently written and staged sketches, connected by Terry Southern's original concept of an aging billioinaire, bored with the world and his corporate life who turns his wealth and energies to proving that all things are corruptible. The individuals and groups then corrupted, and the settings for their betrayals are hilarious, including a strip-tease to Hamlet's "To be or not to be" at Stratford-on-Avon, a jaguar disguised as a dog at Cruft's dog show, two heavyweight boxers opting to neck in the ring rather than beat each other senseless, a sham of a Sotheby's rare art auction, and a riverine melee at the annual Cambridge v. Oxford rowing race.

Concealed in the comedy are some serious observations on the nature of modern society, growing more pronounced and direct as the movie continues. By the end, the shots at class systems, sexual repression, greed, religion, vanity and pretension, government, and the Vietnam War are plainly obvioius, and brutal.

This mix of serious satire and slapstick comedy come almost naturally from the cast. International comedy legend Peter Sellers is the lead, but he is not given the freedom to truly cut loose as Kubrick gave in Dr. Strangelove.
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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
Format:VHS Tape
Peter Sellers is one of my favorite actors of all time. He is British, after all, and starred in the Pink Panther series as Inspector Clouseau.
The Magic Christian, in which he plays billionaire Guy Grand, is one of his best vehicles, and what a bonus it is to have Ringo Starr as his adopted son, Youngman Grand.
I liken the smattering of cameo appearances as an extension of the guest stars in that other movie based on a Terry Southern novel, Candy. As another note of interest, Candy also featured in a small role as a Mexican gardner, yes, Ringo Starr! But those of us in the know already knew that. Right? Right and double right, as Guy Grand would say.
I recognized Joan Benham, who intermittently played Lady Prudence Fairfax in the Upstairs Downstairs series, as a socialite discussing the maiden voyage of The Magic Christian to her friends.
Dennis Price, who starred in some Ealing comedies in the 1950's and who was the ill-fated Hector Snipe in Theatre of Blood, plays one of Grand's company executives.
There's David Hutcheson, one of the hunters, who gets frozen to death by a hail machine in The Abominable Dr. Phibes.
Among the most notable is John Cleese's role as Mr. Dugdale, a museum attendant with a supercilious attitude and voice to match, who is understandably shocked when Grand snips out the nose of a Rembrandt he has purchased. Ringo finishes the scene off with a sensory organ joke: "Keep your eye out for a good ear." Precious!
Raquel Welch is the whip-wielding queen of the Magic Christian galley. And finally there is Yul Brynner, who in drag, sings Noel Coward's "Mad About The Boy" before whipping off his wig to reveal his familiar bald pate.
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56 of 62 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Come and Get It! February 13, 2003
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Sir Guy Grand is a pompous billionaire who, while strolling through St. James' Park, adopts a homeless young man as his own new son. With his protegee in tow, Sir Guy proceeds to tour the town; confirming his belief that everyone in London(and the world) is beholden only to the all-mighty British quid. Things really go bonkers when the pair joins the maiden voyage of a new luxury liner. The party becomes a riot. 1969's "The Magic Christian" is a zany, riotous romp released at the end of the turbulent, psychedelic 60's. Dated it is. Starring Peter Sellers and Ringo Starr(as his son), "The Magic Christian" is a pre-Monty Python extravaganza featuring some funny skits, cameo bits by celebrities, and a series of long, boring episodes with Sir Guy(Sellers) lost in total self-absorption. Among the guest stars are Laurence Harvey(in a strip-tease), John Lennon, Yoko Ono, Raquel Welch, Christopher Lee as Dracula, Roman Polanski, John Cleese and Yul Brynner in drag. The real glistening gem of "The Magic Christian" is the vibrant music by Badfinger and Thunderclap Newman. With songs written by Paul McCartney(and sung by his brother), Badfinger was once considered heir to the Beatles. Their meteoric success capitalized on British hard-rock and lilting gentle lyrics. But after 2 band members committed suicide, they quickly disappeared. As chronicled so expertly by Roger Lewis' "Life and Death of Peter Sellers" in 1994, the British actor/superstar was an amazing whirl of selfish, vain psychosis. Hidden behind wigs and make-up, Sellers had no real personality of his own, his psyche melting into his many odd roles with unsettling ease. Peter Sellers' temper tantrums destroyed marriages, wives, children, and fellow actors. Read more ›
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
really bad movie
Published 1 month ago by Jay R
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun in it's absurdity.
Bought this on a lark. Had not seen it in years.
It's still a crazy movie...kind of leaves a whiff of cannibus in the air after watching... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Daniel Fraga
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
great
Published 2 months ago by Steve Pouliot
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic Peter Sellers
I've watched this movie a good half-a-dozen times, and still chuckle at some of the send-ups (the John Cleese bit is particularly good, as is the pheasant hunt on the heath). Read more
Published 2 months ago by G.Shepard
3.0 out of 5 stars Everyone Has Their Price
Joseph McGrath's 1969 black comedy The Magic Christian is definitely a product of its times. Never a big hit due largely to its episodic structure and mean spirited feel the film... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Bryan A. Pfleeger
5.0 out of 5 stars Too funny
Though dated the premise of the film remains valid and the milleu of the Grand family recognizable today. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Robert Duff
4.0 out of 5 stars The Magic Christian
A somewhat obscure but classic film featuring the band BADFINGER for the soundtrack.
Should become a cult classic in the same league as BLAZING SADDLES.
Published 5 months ago by Bruce Rathbone
1.0 out of 5 stars waste of time
I have seen a lot of silly movies , and I like them , but this one must be the worst silly movie ever made . What a waste of talent , money , etc. Read more
Published 5 months ago by bill vallianos
5.0 out of 5 stars "If you want it, here it is! Come and get it!" ~Sir Paul McCartney
This cult classic from the Sixties has been a favorite of mine since I first saw it in London shortly after its release. Read more
Published 6 months ago by D. R. Fried, Tucson, AZ
4.0 out of 5 stars Funny Sixties Movie
I remember seeing this movie when it came out. Portions are quite hilarious others so so. Overall a good madcap type movie. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Gary Wertz
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