The world's wealthiest man, Sir Guy Grand, whimsically adopts a young man he chances to meet in the park. Together they comically attack the snobbery and hypocrisy of modern society as they go from one hilarious misadventure to another.
In this adaptation of Terry Southern's offbeat novel, an eccentric millionaire adopts a down-and-out vagrant he stumbles upon in the park as his son. The pair embark on a series of practical jokes and elaborate stunts designed to expose the wanton greed that exists in everybody -- and prove that everyone has his price.
Shot in Technicolor, and filmed at Twickenham Studios, Middlesex, England.
Some prints of the film are only 88 minutes long, while original theatrical releases ran approximately 95 minutes. The video and laserdisc versions of "The Magic Christian," however, appear to be 101 minutes.
Additional cast: Tom Boyle (My Man Jeff); Peter Bayliss (Pompous Toff), Clive Dunn (Sommelier), Freddie Earle (Sol), Kenneth Fortescue (Irate Snob), David Hutcheson (Lord Barry), Jeremy Lloyd (Lord Hampton), Peter Myers (Lord Kilgallon), Robert Raglan (Maltravers), and Leon Thau (Engine Room Toff). Appearing as themselves: TV commentators Michael Aspel, Michael Barratt, Harry Carpenter, W. Barrington Dalby, John Snagge, and Alan Whicker.
There is a parody of Shakespeare's tragic play "Hamlet" within the film, with Laurence Harvey as the melancholy Dane doing a striptease during the "To be or not to be" soliloquy.
Director McGrath also incorporated some b&w and color archival footage of riots and Vietnam into the film.
Released theatrically in the USA February 12, 1970.