6.1/10
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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
Edit

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 Magic Christian is: antiestablishmentarian, antibellum, antitrust, antiseptic, antibiotic, antisocial & antipasto. 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

After watching rushes from the first day of filming, Peter Sellers leapt to his feet and said "Thank God we caught it in time!" He felt his performance was so bad that the movie should be cancelled. He was eventually persuaded to continue. 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

Traffic warden #27: What's your game, Mister?
Sir Guy Grand KG, KC, CBE: [riffling a wad of bills under the warden's nose, to persuade him to eat a parking ticket] Grand is the name, and, uh - money is the game. Would you care to play?
See more »

Alternate Versions

Also released in shortened (75 min. and 88 min.) versions. See more »

Connections

References Horror of Dracula (1958) See more »

Soundtracks

Mad About The Boy
By Noël Coward
Performed by Peter Sellers (uncredited)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
"Just Wanted to See if You Had Your Price...Most of Us Do..."
3 July 2006 | by tom-darwinSee all my reviews

No one slices comedy with an obsidian knife the way Terry Southern does. Guy Grand changes from the American zillionaire in the novel to an English gentleman tycoon (Sellers) & gains a soulmate when he adopts scruffy vagrant Youngman (Starr), but Southern's unique low-key, vicious zaniness remains. The pair's purpose in life is to skewer institutions in particular & society in general by bribing, with their unlimited wealth, professionals, experts & officials to humiliate themselves and/or their employers. Some of the novel's funniest scenes make it to the screen, including: free cash given away to those willing to wade into vats of hideous filth to get it; Big Fang, the "Congo Black Dog," wreaking havoc at Crufts; Guy's dining experience at Chez Edouard; a traffic officer (Milligan) paid to eat Guy's parking ticket; and, of course, the "Magic Christian," the cruise ship from Hell. Worthy additions include Laurence Harvey turning Hamlet's soliloquy into a striptease ("with a bare, bare bodkin!"), Attenborough helping to turn the Oxford & Cambridge crew race into a "punch-up," and Guy collecting "French noses" at Sotheby's art auction. Sellers is perfectly deadpan & dignified as the tycoon whose determination to find everyone's price is even more believable today, the age of "Fear Factor" & "Big Brother," than in the 1970s. Starr, at the height of his creativity before his solo career spun into jaded dissolution, is just right as Guy's sounding board (as in their ambition to rewrite great books, including the Bible, with the nouns left blank for the readers to fill in). Graham Chapman & John Cleese demonstrate their trademark Python casual nonsequiturs ("the crowd seems sickened by the sight of no blood!") as well as playing small parts: Chapman as the (nearly) incorruptible Oxford crew captain & Cleese a pompous art expert. But it's the "Magic Christian"--Guy's ultimate prank--with her all-star, wacky crew that puts the film over the top. Hyde-White is the clueless captain (or is he?), Welch the chief engineer, AKA "Priestess of the Whip," Frey the cloying shrink, Lee the bloodthirsty steward & Polanski the silent drinker. And don't miss that lounge singer! Like most Southern & Python films (and Marx Bros. films before that), "The Magic Christian" doesn't so much wrap up as end simply when it runs out of gags. It's best appreciated for the sum of its parts, but in that it never misses a beat. No collection of satirical films--or Python or Sellers movies--is complete without it.


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