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Magic (1978)


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Average Rating: N/A
Critic Reviews: 3
Fresh: 1 | Rotten: 2



liked it
Average Rating: 3.3/5
User Ratings: 6,472

My Rating

Movie Info

Anthony Hopkins is a ventriloquist psychologically tormented by his dummy in the Richard Attenborough thriller Magic (a film with a story that may seem familiar to those who have seen the Michael Redgrave segment of Dead of Night, or the Cliff Robertson episode "The Dummy" from The Twilight Zone television series). William Goldman based his screenplay on his best-selling novel. Hopkins plays Corky, a seedy magician who is hooted off the stage in the low-rent clubs that will stoop to hire him.


Drama, Horror, Romance, Mystery & Suspense

William Goldman

Jan 5, 1990

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All Critics (19) | Top Critics (4) | Fresh (15) | Rotten (3) | DVD (9)

In adapting his own best-seller, William Goldman has opted for an atmospheric thriller, a mood director Richard Attenborough fleshes out to its fullest.

March 26, 2009 Full Review Source: Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A hammed-up version of the old chestnut about the ventriloquist who is 'taken over' by his dummy, clumsily adapted by William Goldman from his own novel.

June 24, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Magic is neither eerie nor effective. It is, however, very heavy of hand.

May 9, 2005 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Magic has few scary moments and is really a rather maudlin examination of a nervous breakdown.

January 8, 2007 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

It makes you feel uncomfortable in your own skin.

July 9, 2006 Full Review Source: Film Freak Central
Film Freak Central

Because of Hopkins, because of Ann-Margret (who hardly looks like that Ann-Margret, adeptly proving herself as an occasional dramatic actress), and because of Burgess Meredith as well as Fats the dummy, "Magic" is one of the top-notch films of the 1970s.

June 21, 2006 Full Review Source: Film Threat
Film Threat

Odd combo, but it's creepy and generally works.

May 9, 2006 Full Review Source:

A very well-crafted suspense-thriller that unfolds with one dramatically tense scene after another. Hopkins is superb.

March 15, 2006 Full Review Source:

Very likely to produce nightmares.

October 7, 2005

Still creepy story of Hopkins and his psychotic dummy.

June 12, 2005

Good cast can't keep this thriller afloat.

November 20, 2003
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

It's no dummy!

November 5, 2003
Sun Newspapers of Cleveland

Although it's well-handled by Attenborough and features decent supporting turns from Ann-Margret and Ed Lauter, the key source of Magic's terror is the fact that ventriloquists' dummies are and always will be disturbing.

May 24, 2003 Full Review Source: Film4

Audience Reviews for Magic

Though Magic scores no points for originality - old hat even then, the theme of a ventriloquist's personality being taken over by that of his dummy had been perfected over 30 years earlier in a segment of the Ealing portmanteau Dead of Night, starring Michael Redgrave, and had been recycled not once but twice since in different episodes of The Twilight Zone - it's still a well-crafted and solidly entertaining minor horror movie. If I'm honest, Anthony Hopkins has a tendency to overplay at times but Ann-Margret and Burgess Meredith offer excellent support.
March 22, 2014

Super Reviewer

Richard Attenborough crafts a disturbing psychological horror yarn with a good cast. The film stars Anthony Hopkins as a ventriloquist who can't separate himself from his dummy, and slowly loses his mind. At times there film could have been improved upon, and considering it's idea, should have been a far better film, but as it is it's a tense, atmospheric picture that manages to be entertaining due to the casts performances. Where the film lacks however is that it feels like it tries too hard with its interesting idea, therefore it loses sight of what's really going on. Luckily Hopkins is chilling in his performance and he makes the film watchable and good. However, at times the film does leave a lot to be desired in terms of sheer terror and memorable chills. The idea is disturbing, but the terror is never quite there. At least the film has some tense atmosphere to make up for the lack effective scares. Anthony Hopkins is very good here, but he would later deliver afar superior performance in his legendary role of Hannibal Lecter in the horror masterpiece Silence of the Lambs. Magic is a good film, but it does fall short of its potential. Worth seeing if you enjoy Hopkins' work, and Dummy/doll movies. However there are far better films in the genre to be watching than this one. Don't go into this one expecting a memorable horror film, because you won't find it. Like I said, the film is good, but doesn't hold up in the long run in terms of terror. It's atmospheric yes, and disturbing, but it never goes deeper in terms of trying to find what's really terrifying. Magic is a good little film, but don't expect to be terrified when you watch this.
January 9, 2014
Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski

Super Reviewer

William Goldman is a brilliant writer. Combine that with the directing talent of Richard Attenborough and the acting talent of Anthony Hopkins and the wonderful and still sorely missed Burgess Meredith and you have the recipe for a near perfect film. By far my favourite horror based on Schizophrenia (there seems to be many these days). Corky/Fats is far frightening than Hannibal and Chucky put together in my opinion. A great film from an era that I particularly enjoy, the late 70's produced some ace films!
February 15, 2011

Super Reviewer

Not too bad actually. Anthony Hopkins was good at being creepy before Silence of the Lambs. Not really a "horror" film more just creepy.
February 2, 2011

Super Reviewer

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