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Magic Trip (2011)

R  |   |  Documentary  |  5 August 2011 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.7/10 from 1,045 users   Metascore: 59/100
Reviews: 6 user | 54 critic | 20 from

A freewheeling portrait of Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters' fabled road trip across America.


(screenplay), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Credited cast:
Zonker (voice)
Veronica Taylor ...
Jane Burton (voice)
Himself (archive footage)
Himself (archive footage)
Himself (archive footage)
Timothy Leary ...
Himself (archive footage)
Himself (archive footage)
Himself (archive footage)
Neal Cassady ...
Himself (archive footage)
Themselves (archive footage) (as The Grateful Dead)
Himself (archive footage)
Andrea Cirie ...
Gretchen Fetchen (voice)
Terry Gross ...
Herself - Interviewer (voice)
Phil Lesh ...
Himself (archive footage)


A freewheeling portrait of Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters' fabled road trip across America.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Ken Kesey's Search for a Kool Place



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for drug content, language and some nudity


Official Sites:




Release Date:

5 August 2011 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Magic Bus  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$14,367 (USA) (5 August 2011)


$153,943 (USA) (28 October 2011)

Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


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Did You Know?


Ken Kesey is credited for coining the phrase "Do your own thing," and in this film, the Pranksters are shown to be 'inventing' the process of tie-dyeing. See more »


Ken Kesey: What it meant, was that everybody had to consider a new way for things to be. Don't you know that we're all one? The deeper I got into it, the more I realized it was a different force working. The only big mistake we made, as a force, was thinking for a while that we were going to win. We developed vested interests in the victory to come. We begin to parcel off into little groups, whether it's feminism or politics. For money, religion, whatever it is; everybody is jumping up and down in front ...
See more »


Featured in The Roth Show: The New York City Way (2014) See more »


Killing Floor
Written by Chester Burnett
Published by Arc Music Corp.
Performed by Chester Burnett
Courtesy by Geffen Records under license from Universal Music Enterprises
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User Reviews

Disappointing documentary about the sixties and some unconventional people
17 October 2011 | by (Amersfoort, The Netherlands) – See all my reviews

This could have been a movie reminiscent of those often celebrated sixties. However, the people portrayed in this home movie avant la lettre, were far from average. Their ways of living and what we saw thereof was on a safe distance from our own memories of that time.

I can understand the attraction of the 100 hour film footage that was left behind. But condensing it into a feature film length, does not work. For starters, we got a super fast intro of characters, leaving unclear who was who, and what tied them together. Secondly, the purpose of the journey was left equally unclear (maybe there wasn't any). Thirdly, it kept us wondering about the vast number of practical aspects for such a journey, like money, groceries, repairs, petrol, and so on. Of course, all this only proves that I wouldn't have blended in with this company, being much too serious and too organized for such a journey to even think about.

Anyway, it offered a nice excuse to show TV and movie fragments of that time, and pictures of every-days lives and streets. Also, we saw repeated police checks for no reason, demonstrating that their overall appearance (painted bus, haircut, clothes, etc) was "different". A nice side effect was that we saw and heard VSOP music fragments of that time, working well to refresh our memories. Similarly, it showed us how progressive people dressed in the sixties. Could that be all there is to fill 107 minutes of film, and keep our attention span??

All in all, what we saw was kaleidoscopic, to say the least. On one hand, it was interesting for some­one who grew up in that time (like me) but nearly forgot all about it (I did). On the other hand, it did not go beyond the family album level with pictures from the past. Leaves us wondering how more than 100 hours of film footage and sound fragments could have survived the continuous chaos these people used to live in. Again, this question proves that it was not my kind of company. Maybe good for us that they existed, important as they may have been as a catalyst for cultural changes, if only to practically demonstrate how to detach yourself from the daily grind and drop all common conventions.

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