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The Illusionist (2006)

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In turn-of-the-century Vienna, a magician uses his abilities to secure the love of a woman far above his social standing.



(screenplay), (short story "Eisenheim the Illusionist")
1,012 ( 124)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 10 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Josef Fischer (as Edward Marsan)
Tom Fisher ...
Young Eisenheim (as Aaron Johnson)
Doctor / Old Man
Herr Doebler
Philip McGough ...
Dr. Hofzinser
Count Rainer
Von Thurnburg


In late nineteenth century Vienna, renowned illusionist Eisenheim is reunited with the Duchess von Teschen when she is volunteered from the audience to participate in an illusion during one of his performances. Despite having not seen each other in fifteen years when they were teenagers, they almost immediately recognize each other as Eduard Abramovich and Sophie von Teschen, they who had a doomed romance at that time due to their class differences. The Duchess is soon to be wed to the Crown Prince Leopold in what would be for him a marriage solely in pursuit of power: overthrowing his father, the Emperor Leopold, as well as overtaking the Hungarian side of the empire. The Crown Prince is known to use violence against women if it suits his needs or purposes. As such, the Duchess, who realizes that she still loves Eisenheim and he her, can never leave the Crown Prince without it jeopardizing her life. After Eisenheim humiliates the Crown Prince at a private show which results in an ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Nothing is what it seems

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some sexuality and violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:




Release Date:

1 September 2006 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El ilusionista  »

Box Office


$16,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$927,956 (USA) (18 August 2006)


$39,825,798 (USA) (12 January 2007)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


The character Prince Leopold says during a performance of Eisenheim at the palace: "He tries to trick you ... I try to enlighten you. Which is the more noble pursuit?" This reference is to a famous slogan the RJ Reynolds tobacco company used in the 1930's that said "It's fun to be fooled ... it's more fun to know." The slogan was combined with adverts showing the secrets behind famous mysteries. The impetus for this was a tribute to the popularity of the American magician Horace Goldin. See more »


The blood from Sophie was on the right side of the horse yet her wound is on the left side. But, as she rides the horse out of the stables, she is slumped over the right side, her left side pressing against the right side of the horse. See more »


[first lines]
woman in audience: It's her. I know it's her! She wants to tell us something.
See more »


Featured in The Making of 'The Illusionist' (2007) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

If this were a beer it'd be called Prestige Light.
25 January 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

THE ILLUSIONIST 2006 (EDWARD NORTON, JESSICA BIEL, PAUL GIAMIATTI) DIRECTED BY: NEIL BURGER ~ THE RUNDOWN: A well acted, nicely polished piece of entertainment, but made with little passion and little drama. ~ It's hard to say exactly what this movie's missing; the performances are fun to watch, especially that freaky Rufus Sewell guy, and, as always, Edward Norton is amazing as well as Giamatti; it is entertaining in an old-fashioned, mystery type of way; and it's beautifully shot, but I think that's part of the problem - it's too beautiful...too old-fashioned...too much like a movie that tries too hard to impress us with its image and not engage us enough with its story. To compare it with 2006's The Prestige, a film about the same subject, the Prestige simply crushes the Illusionist when it comes to "movie magic", relying very little on CGI and reaching our hearts through an amazing script about humanity...the strive for success, the need to be loved and at the same time showing us how magic really exists in our modern world. The Illusionist, on the other hand, is simply more superficial in nature and would work better as like a thirty-minute TV show. The big twist at the end would be very satisfying for avid TV watchers just after a commercial break, but, seriously, when your making a movie around it you shouldn't just have the viewer sit and wait with little to no hints just to fill up time and then hit them with it and expect a big hooray. ~ Overall, this actually is worth watching because it is indeed entertaining, well acted and interesting, but don't feel bad either if you decide to skip it.

40 of 66 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
7.7 - WTF! rogermccarthy
Destruction of irreplaceable antiques for this movie morganseer
Who else solved the movie's twist, Before the film ended?? steph_vp88
Illusions performed in this film are historically accurate! kjs-2
Did anybody else was impressed by Rufus Sewell's performance? Reachthesilence
The 'twist' could be anticipated mid-way katochnr
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