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The Magic Christian (1969)

PG | | Comedy | 12 December 1969 (UK)
Sir Guy Grand (Peter Sellers), the richest man in the world, adopts a homeless boy, Youngman (Sir Ringo Starr). 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 (Peter Sellers) adopts homeless bum Youngman (Sir Ringo Starr) 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:

PG | 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:

The Magic Christian See more »

Filming Locations:

Barnes, London, England, UK See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

Many of the Central London exterior and building shots were filmed in and around Westminster School, London. 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

Hamlet: [Laurence Harvey, onstage] "To be..."
Youngman Grand, Esq.: [loud enough to be heard, turning to Sir Guy] I've seen it.
Hamlet: "Or not to be... that is the question."
Youngman Grand, Esq.: Shakespeare, right?
Sir Guy Grand KG, KC, CBE: [whispers, eyes toward the stage] Right, and double right.
See more »

Alternate Versions

The shorter version - largely altered for U.S. television - omits the scene where Guy & Youngman Grand fill a vat with manure, urine, blood, and then cash, to see who will jump in to collect it. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Unknown Peter Sellers (2000) See more »

Soundtracks

Rock of All Ages
Written by Tom Evans (as Tom) Pete Ham (as Pete) & Mike Gibbins (as Mike)
Recorded by Badfinger (as Bad Finger)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

Appealing even if chaotic
6 October 1999 | by JasonS-5See all my reviews

Terry Southern's novel, "The Magic Christian" is very different from the film. However the film, which was written by Southern, among other, still maintains the spirit of the novel.

The film is simply a series of vigniettes centering around Sir Guy Grand (Peter Sellers), and his adopted son, Youngman (Ringo Starr), who goes about "making things hot for people," by using his vast wealth to perpetrate elaborate practical jokes largely aimed at seeing how many of their principles people will give up for money.

The movie is very silly, fragmented, and horribly dated. > Now that you have heard the case against, I have to say that this is one of my favorite movies of all time. The movie destroys or humiliates all social icons, from the police, to "the old school," to the snobbish upper class, to the art world. Its great to see, and once you make up your mind that the movie is just a series of sketches, its funny, and immensely satisfying, albeit somewhat vicious.

Look for cameos by Yul Brynner (in drag), Spike Milligan (Sellers' partner in "The Goon Show"), John Lennon and Yoko Ono, among many others.

Other notes: The novel, "The Magic Christian" was banned for a time, because it was viewed as obscene. Peter Sellers loved this book, and after he read it, he sent copies of it to all of his friends. It might say something about his tragic and depressed personality, that he found this book, with its many vicious stabs against society, so appealing.


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