The Magician (1958) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Magician (1958)

The Magician (1958)

The Magician




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

The Magician Trailers & Photos

Movie Info

A magician of dubious talents, Vogler (Max Von Sydow) and his traveling show are called to entertain at the home of the local police commissioner. Set in Stockholm in the 1840's, Vogler's powers are put on display for the commissioner, a doctor, and a civil servant. Despite the magicians questionable abilities, many strange and mysterious events transpire to illustrate man's fascination with the murky world of the unexplainable answers to love, life and death.more
Rating: Unrated
Genre: Drama
Directed By:
Written By: Ingmar Bergman
In Theaters:
On DVD: Oct 12, 2010
Criterion Collection


Max von Sydow
as Albert Emanuel Vogle...
Ingrid Thulin
as Manda Vogler/Mr. Ama...
Bibi Andersson
as Sara Lindqvist
Gunnar Bjornstrand
as Dr. Vergerus
Toivo Pawlo
as Starbeck
Sif Ruud
as Sofia
Oscar Ljung
as Antonsson
Ulla Sj÷blom
as Henrietta
Naima Wifstrand
as Grandmother
Tor Borong
as Customs officer
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for The Magician

Critic Reviews for The Magician

All Critics (11) | Top Critics (3)

The movie has elements of Gothic horror and philosophy, along with lusty, low comedy rolls.

Full Review… | December 7, 2007
Detroit Free Press
Top Critic

It is one of Bergman's most tightly structured and frightening films.

Full Review… | July 30, 2007
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Full Review… | April 4, 2011
New York Times
Top Critic

Like the subject it portrays, it is a movie that genuinely seems to sense the guilty delight of life's unending irony.

Full Review… | November 15, 2015

Tremendously important Bergman, even it it doesn't have the instant cachet of his more famous and direct movies.

Full Review… | June 3, 2013
Antagony & Ecstasy

Both a rebuke to critics and a confession of charlatanism, The Magician puts forward a one-of-a-kind examination of the problem of truth in life and in art. [Blu-ray]

Full Review… | November 3, 2010
Groucho Reviews

Audience Reviews for The Magician

every time i watch a bergman film for the first time, the thing i'm most excited for is encountering new, interesting characters. i think the characters in this film are among his absolute best and most interesting. in fact, i loved everything about this film until the very end, when the last ten minutes sort of fell a part for me, but the entirety of the film is still quite good, and the tension of the overall concept of empirical reality vs. the supernatural is one that needs to be explored in film more often.

danny d

Super Reviewer

Sort've a similar set-up to The Seventh Seal. There's another great ensemble cast led by the towering Scandinavian known as Max Von Sydow. This isn't so much a historical commentary, but rather a specific look at the effects of science on professions like magicians. The doubt and suspense concerning the legitimacy of Vogler's act is really such a nice aspect. It?M)s been later used in movies like The Illusionist and The Prestige, but nothing since has quite the same authenticity of mysticism and rich storytelling.

Ingmar Bergman's vision is so unbelievably present in this and I feel that it's one of his more overlooked works. I think that it's not so filled with subjective imagery is probably what makes it so unique. This manages to have the same feeling, but at the same time a completely different way of achieving it. It's not really part of any genre, which is what is my favorite thing. Bergman kind've is a genre in itself and a great one at that.

Conner Rainwater

Super Reviewer


Max von Sydow, Gunner Bjornstrand and Ingrid Thulin are three of Bergman's most consistent quality performers and all three have major roles in this film. There are a fair number of stereotypical character parts, mostly performed by ensemble quality character actors. Bibi Andersson is capable of far more than her giggly girl part enables her to show in this film. Indeed, there is some comedic material in this film reminiscent of Smiles of a Summer Night, but don't mistake this movie for one of Bergman's less masterful light pieces, this has real depth and substance.

There are some amazing bits of cinematography, especially the early scenes. The pacing of the movie is masterful, as is the clever use of parallels in the story - the failed actor "dying" and then reviving is a prelude to the pivotal incident around Vogler's "demise".

Top notch scenes include Mrs Egerman opening up to Vogler - she seems so lost - also both scenes in which Bjornstrand's character (Vergerus) insists that he was not taken in by the "magic".

Cassandra Maples

Super Reviewer

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