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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 (88 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 (88 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00007GZQI
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #64,411 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Magic Christian" on IMDb

Special Features


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
3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
55 of 56 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
5.0 out of 5 stars Raquel Welch Camps It Up
1969 saw the release of The Magic Christian, and luckily I got to see it in the theatre. It is very funny. Raquel is tops running a slave galley of rowers. Read more
Published 21 days ago by K. Nolting
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Flick
Rent it first, not everyone can appreciate the humor of this movie. I saw it when it was first released and had a great time. Ha to own it. Read more
Published 1 month ago by LauraD
4.0 out of 5 stars Seems OK
I received it eh DVD a little later than I thought, but it seems OK. I was surprised by the packaging
Published 1 month ago by William Willoughby
3.0 out of 5 stars Style of Monte Python
The film can be more appreciated if you can relate to the time in history it was issued. Peter Sellers and Ringo Starr make this film with their inherit ability to entertain. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Gerald Myking
5.0 out of 5 stars The Magic Christian is one of the all time classic Petter Sellers...
The Magic Christian is one of the all time classic Petter Sellers movies. Right up there with the Pink Panther. Terrific cast and funny story line.
Published 4 months ago by L. Lynch
4.0 out of 5 stars BAD IS GOOD
Very funny premise that falls flatly into the Thames River.

Great performances built around wobbly scenes leaves you wondering about who put up the cash. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Sloppy Eater
4.0 out of 5 stars " . . . I JUST LIKE FANTASY!!!!"
Published 6 months ago by F. K. WILLDERS
4.0 out of 5 stars A definite upgrade
This is the first time this insanely surrealistic comedy from the mind of Terry Southern has been released in wide screen. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Dan Ade
1.0 out of 5 stars What a Turkey!
I think this is my very first one-star review for Amazon.

I saw this movie in the theater when it came out in 1969. Read more
Published 9 months ago by R. Prokop
5.0 out of 5 stars magic christian
needed a copy of this saw one in Amazon decided to buy it very happy with purchase just what I wanted
Published 9 months ago by Steven M. Rothe
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