6.1/10
2,736
86 user 24 critic

The Magic Christian (1969)

M | | Comedy | 12 December 1969 (UK)
Sir Guy Grand, the richest man in the world, adopts a homeless boy, Youngman. Together, they set out to prove that anyone--and anything--can be bought with money.

Director:

Joseph McGrath

Writers:

Terry Southern (screenplay), Joseph McGrath (screenplay) | 4 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Peter Sellers ... Sir Guy Grand
Ringo Starr ... Youngman Grand
Isabel Jeans ... Dame Agnes Grand
Caroline Blakiston ... Hon. Esther Grand
Wilfrid Hyde-White ... Captain Reginald K. Klaus (as Wilfrid Hyde White)
Richard Attenborough ... Oxford Coach
Leonard Frey ... Laurence Faggot
Laurence Harvey ... Hamlet
Christopher Lee ... Ship's Vampire
Spike Milligan ... Traffic Warden 27
Roman Polanski ... Solitary Drinker
Raquel Welch ... Priestess of the Whip
Tom Boyle Tom Boyle ... My Man Jeff
Victor Maddern ... Hot Dog Vendor
Terence Alexander ... Mad Major
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Storyline

Sir Guy Grand adopts homeless bum Youngman to be heir to his obscene wealth, and immediately begins bringing him into the intricacies of the family business, which is to prey upon people's greed by use of the vast holdings of the Grand empire. They leave no stone unturned as sporting events, restaurants, art galleries, and traditional pheasant hunts turn into lurid displays of bad manners and profiteering. Things climax at the social event of the season, the inaugural voyage of the new pleasure cruiser The Magic Christian. Written by Ed Sutton <esutton@mindspring.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The world's richest man and the world's poorest boy are getting it ready now...and everybody, everywhere, will be a little worse off for it. See more »

Genres:

Comedy

Certificate:

M | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

12 December 1969 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Magic Christian See more »

Filming Locations:

Barnes, London, England, UK See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono | Mono (RCA Sound Recording)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The movie's theme song "Come And Get It" was written and produced by Paul McCartney. See more »

Goofs

In the "free money scene", Guy Grand accepts a delivery of "100 gallons of blood, 200 gallons of urine, 500 cubic feet of animal manure", but the tanker truck and the vat it fills hold many thousands of gallons. See more »

Quotes

Sir Guy Grand KG, KC, CBE: [a police car drives up to Grand's car] Could be routine, or... mere damnable harassment.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Fifth Element (1997) See more »

Soundtracks

Something In The Air
Recorded by Thunderclap Newman
Written by John Keen
Produced by Pete Townshend (as Peter Townshend)
Released by Track Records
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Still entertaining after all these years
23 October 2001 | by mfisher452See all my reviews

After more than 40 years, The Magic Christian still entertains. Its style is very much of the Sixties, but its profoundly cynical message---that anything can be bought, that everyone has his price---is, if anything, more relevant now than in 1969 when the film was released. The star, of course, is Peter Sellers as the obscenely wealthy Sir Guy Grand, who manages to seem almost childlike as he spreads his bounty of cynicism throughout London.

This is not a great film, or even necessarily a good one, but even second- or third-rate Peter Sellers may be preferable to a lot of first-rate work by others. The childless Sir Guy decides one morning to acquire an heir, so he goes to the park and picks up a homeless man played by Ringo Starr, and adopts him as his son, Youngman Grand. (Ringo actually doesn't have much to do in this film except react to Sellers.) Sir Guy then enlists Youngman in escapades that, in his hands, skewer the stuffed shirts of upper-class London society and turn the most solemn occasions into a carnival of absurdist nihilism. The most extreme comes at the end of the film, where he scatters money into a huge vat of blood, urine and excrement, and then watches as bowler-hatted City of London types wade into it for the money. This scene doesn't quite work. There is an extended sequence aboard a bogus cruise ship called The Magic Christian that tends to try one's patience because it degenerates into a very Sixties psychedelic montage. One moment from this sequence, however, is worth the whole thing: Raquel Welch as the Priestess of the Whip. Dressed as a dominatrix, she never looked more luscious or voluptuous. Film aficionados will appreciate the many old-line British actors who contributed supporting or cameo roles (Spike Milligan, Lawrence Harvey, Richard Attenborough, John Le Mesurier, Wilfrid Hyde-White, Christopher Lee, and others less well known outside the UK) as well as glimpses of younger now-famous faces, especially John Cleese in a hysterically funny scene at Sotheby's. Cleese plays the terminally smarmy, unctuous, patronizing curator Mr. Dougdale, whose supercilious mien is punctured beyond repair by Sir Guy in a scene involving the defacing of a priceless painting. There is a Monty Python skit that looks like it was directly inspired by this scene. This film was shot at about the time of the first season of Monty Python's Flying Circus, and what with the appearance in the film of at least two Pythons that I could identify, there are definitely echoes of Python in it. The other Python was (an uncredited) Graham Chapman as the leader of the Oxford team during the famous Oxford-Cambridge boat race. Watch also for an uncredited Yul Brynner playing a female impersonator who does a sexy torch song. Alert listeners---especially lovers of the classic 1950s BBC radio comedy program the Goon Show---will also notice that Sellers does almost all of the off-screen voices and several voices of characters seen only in long shot, reminiscent of the films of Orson Welles; so if you suddenly think you hear Henry Crun or Major Bloodnok off-screen, it's not your imagination.

All in all, a solid five or six stars out of ten.


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