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The Magic Christian - Guy Grand and Youngman Grand pay people to sell out

Updated on April 17, 2008

Guy and Youngman with an art dealer

Who is Guy Grand?

The Magic Christian is a 1969 film adaptation of a comic 1959 novel by Terry Southern. The movie follows Guy Grand (Peter Sellers) as he tries to prove that almost everybody, no matter how important or how much they posture, has a price. He is astronomically rich so he can throw money at people to make them renounce their proposed values.

To prove that a pompous art dealer has no true love of the art he spends so much of his life on, Guy Grand buys the painting with the stated intent to cut it to pieces. Grand pays an officer of the law to eat a parking ticket and the dutiful bobby is so eager to get paid that he swallows the plastic sheet around the ticket as well.

Ringo Starr and Raquel Welch on the set
Ringo Starr and Raquel Welch on the set

Does everybody have a price?

In the first scene of the movie, Guy approaches a young man named Youngman (Ringo Starr) who is occupying himself by feeding some ducks in a park. Guy whispers some sort of lurid offer into Youngman's ear. He's probably proposing that Youngman kill and eat the ducks or something revolting. And, for what is perhaps the first time in Guy's life, he meets a person who refuses his riches.

Youngman thinks it's wrong to hurt innocent little ducks in a park, and no amount of money makes it the right thing to do in his mind. Guy is so impressed that he offers to adopt Youngman on the spot and they go on a long series of shenanigans designed to push the bourgeois out of their comfort zone and into uncharted territories.

Lessons Learned in the Magic Christian

Guy Grand has a lot to teach to Youngman Grand as seen in this photo of the unforgetable Peter Sellers and Ringo Starr.
Guy Grand has a lot to teach to Youngman Grand as seen in this photo of the unforgetable Peter Sellers and Ringo Starr.

No such thing as free money

What is your price?

What would you do for the right amount of money? Is there anything you'd absolutely refuse for all the money in the world? A lot of people have really healthy relationships with their close family and would do nothing to hurt their own child or parent. But every day we see some people selling out their own relatives and you have to wonder what they're getting that makes such an act worthwhile.

When Guy Grand leaves the Magic Christian, having humiliated all of the world's upper class with a hoax of Titanic proportions, he dumps money into a vat of blood, feces and urine. While the Beatles play in the background, anonymous business men dive into the vat to pull out their rewards. Is there such a thing as free money? Any act that gets you money must have a cost in and of itself and I urge you to make sure its worth doing independently of the money!

Funny and cool cameos

One of the coolest parts of The Magic Christian is all the awesome cameos. As if leading actors like Peter Sellers and Ringo Starr weren't enough, this movie is loaded with little appearances that will have you rolling on the floor with laughter.

Raquel Welch is a slave mistress cracking the whip in the engine room of an enormous ship which turns out to be human-powered.

John Cleese is a petrified art dealer.

Yul Brynner plays a transvestite who cozies up next to Roman Polanski sin ging Noel Coward's "Mad About the Boy".

The Magic Christian is captained by a drunken Wilfrid Hyde-White (Col. Pickering from My Fair Lady) until he is attacked by a vampire played by none other than Christopher Lee!


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    • Bozyslawa profile image

      Bozyslawa 9 years ago

      Great, that's really very good! it made me think of the film i just recently caught up with: THE SEA WOLF, where the Captain (played by Edward G. Robinson) portrays a real evil character who hates pepole and holds them in total contempt. there is an alcoholic doctor on the ship, who has to be woken up from drunken stupor to operate (blood transfusion) on an unconscious woman to save her life. After he accomplishes the impossible and she lives, he stops drinking, cleans up and puts on one of his old high class busines suits in which he conducted his private practice and worked in an expensive hospital. He asks the Captian to request from the crew that they should not laugh at him, and would not call him "Loui" but "Mr Prescott", or "DR Prescott". the Captain appears to grant him the wish and speaks to the crew with the doctor at his side, but when finished, trips the doctor who falls down the stairs and is set upon by the crew, jeering, tearing off his clothes, beating him up.

      He manages to tear himself away and climbs the main mast - and delivers a speach about what a man's dignity is. Then, when the angry Captain demands him to descend immediately - he does so, head down. A writer, the narrator, comments - "THERE IS A PRICE NO MAN WILL PAY FOR LIVING"

      thanks for helping me to bring this one up to my memory!