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The Magic Christian

124 customer reviews

Additional DVD options Edition Discs
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(May 28, 2013)
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Editorial Reviews

Comedy legend Peter Sellers (A Shot in the Dark) portrays Sir Guy Grand, the richest man in the world. One day he whimsically adopts a young homeless man (Ringo Starr) who he happens to meet by chance during a stroll in the park. Together they set off on a series of madcap escapades and comically attack the snobbery and hypocrisy of modern society as they go from one hilarious misadventure to another. Highlighting the film is Paul McCartney's hit song "Come and Get It" and the Monty Python regulars who polish it off with their own quirky brand of hilarity. The incredible cast includes Richard Attenborough, Laurence Harvey, Raquel Welch, Christopher Lee, Spike Milligan, Roman Polanksi, Leonard Frey, Wilfrid Hyde-White and an unforgettable and un-credited cameo by Yul Brynner. Joseph McGrath directed a screenplay by Terry Southern and McGrath with additional material by Peter Sellers, John Cleese and Graham Chapman - based on a novel by Southern (Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb).

Product Details

  • Actors: Peter Sellers, Ringo Starr, Raquel Welch, Laurence Harvey, Christopher Lee
  • Directors: Joseph McGrath
  • Writers: Terry Southern
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Widescreen, Anamorphic
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Olive Films
  • DVD Release Date: May 28, 2013
  • Run Time: 92 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (124 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #28,340 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

66 of 67 people found the following review helpful By Sir Charles Panther VINE VOICE on 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
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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Daniel J. Hamlow HALL OF FAME on August 2, 2001
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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62 of 68 people found the following review helpful By Brad Baker VINE VOICE on 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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