20 films about magicians and illusionists

Magic, illusion, skill or fraud? Whatever it is, miracles make the eyes burn and the heart beat faster. Stories about an unusual craft are never boring, because the profession of the main characters is to surprise the audience. Today we are sharing with you a selection of the best films about magicians and illusionists that can take the viewer into an unpredictable, but such an alluring magical world.

Deadly Illusions (2020)

Among the Russian novelties of cinema in 2020, an atypical detective film stands out – the action of the thriller will take place on stage. The illusionist brothers are no longer friends, and this is their last joint performance. However, the Romanovs must let go of old grudges when the intervention of a mysterious organizer turns the show into a fight with the death. Now the stage props pose a danger to life, and one of the assistants is held captive by the villain. The death game has begun. Everyone is at risk – the audience, the brothers themselves and the beloved girl of one of them.

What do you think, is it worth filming a sequel, and what should be in it?

Genre:
Thriller

Actors:
Andrey Burkovsky, Pavel Chinarev, Danila Yakushev, Aglaya Tarasova …

Country:
Russia

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 6.3

Age restrictions:
12+


Illusion (TV series 2018)

The list continues with an American series about a magician in the detective genre. Cameron Black loses everything overnight. The illusionist’s career collapses after his main secret becomes known to the public – he has a twin brother, Jonathan, who was a key figure in many tricks. To get out of a difficult situation, Cameron gets a job as a consultant to the FBI. Using his skills – sleight of hand and mastery of deceit – he helps the feds solve unusual crimes in exchange for help in freeing his brother.

Original title:
Deception

Genre:
Thriller, drama, crime, detective

Actors:
Jack Cutmore-Scott, Ilfenesh Hadera, Lenora Crichlow …

Country:
USA

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.1, IMDb – 7.5

Age restrictions:
16+


Houdini & Doyle (mini-series 2016)

The great illusionist Houdini, despite his craft, is a skeptic and a realist. To believe in something, he certainly needs to see it. Writer Arthur Conan Doyle wants to prove that the supernatural exists. Both become involved in the investigation of several mysterious deaths. Two geniuses will come together in a battle of mind and fantasy to join forces to uncover secrets.

Original title:
Houdini and Doyle

Genre:
Fantasy, drama, crime, detective

Actors:
Michael Weston, Stephen Mangan, Rebecca Lydyard …

Country:
Canada, UK

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 6.8, IMDb – 7.3


Agility (2016)

The film about tricks was the first feature film by foreign director Justin Dillard. Street magician Bo lives with his little sister and works for drug dealer Angelo. During the day he shows tricks, and in the evenings he sells drugs. Bo dreams of getting out of the illegal business , but this is not easy to do. Due to an oversight, he gets on the counter to Angelo and now he has a few days to get out of the situation.

Original title:
Sleight

Genre:
Fantasy, drama, crime

Actors:
Jacob Latimore, Seychelle Gabriel, Storm Reid …

Country:
USA

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 5.8, IMDb – 5.9

Age restrictions:
18+


Moonlight Magic (2014)

The film is set in the 1920s in France. A famous illusionist, at the request of a friend, comes to the Cote d’Azur to expose a swindler. A certain girl operates in the district and breeds wealthy old women for money, pretending to be a medium. Charming Sophie turns out to be a mysterious fraudster. The extraordinary talent and charm of a young beauty turn an inveterate cynic into a shy boy.

Original title:
Magic in the Moonlight

Genre:
Drama, Romance, Comedy

Actors:
Colin Firth, Emma Stone, Eileen Atkins…

Country:
USA, France

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.0, IMDb – 6.5

Age Limits :
12+


Houdini (2014)

Top films about tricks can not ignore the movie about the rise of the greatest magician Harry Houdini. In the two-episode drama, viewers will be introduced to an interesting story based on real events. Houdini was born into the family of a rabbi, and at the age of 13 the boy moved to New York with his family. The big city opened up many prospects for him, but he preferred tricks. The artist became famous for exposing charlatans and the most difficult tricks with liberation and escape.

Original title:
Houdini

Genre:
Drama, biography

Actors:
Adrien Brody, Kristen Connolly, Evan Jones…

Country:
USA, Canada

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.6, IMDb – 7.4

Age restrictions:
16+


Illusion of deception (dilogue, 2013 and 2016)

The Four Horsemen is a team of the best illusionists in the world. Jack Wilder masterfully owns a card game and knows how to open any lock. Hypnotist Merritt McKinney has excellent skills in creating illusions. Charming Henley Reeves masterfully shows her death on stage, remaining unscathed. Daniel Atlas is a talented swindler with incredible charisma and the ability to fool anyone. Who are they? Artful swindlers, noble robbers or real magicians?

Original title:
Now You See Me

Genre:
Thriller, crime, detective

Actors:
Melanie Laurent, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Woody Harrelson, Isla Fisher, Dave Franco…

Country:
USA, France

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.7 , IMDb – 7.2

Age limit:
16+


Oz the Great and Powerful (2013)

The list continues with a colorful fantasy – a film about the adventures of a circus magician. One day, Oscar Diggs finds himself in the magical land of Oz. The locals take the card sharper for a real wizard, able to save them from the yoke of the evil witch. Oscar goes on a journey through a fairy-tale world, where he will meet witches, winged monkeys, a porcelain girl and other famous characters. He will take part in the real struggle between good and evil. And most importantly, the circus performer will have to overcome his demons and become the best version of himself.

Original title:
Oz the Great and Powerful

Genre:
Fantasy, adventure

Actors:
James Franco, Michelle Williams, Mila Kunis…

Country:
USA

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 6.3, IMDb – 6.3

Age restrictions:
12+


The Incredible Burt Wonderstone (2013)

A comedy with a strong cast will tell the story of the confrontation between two magicians. Burt Wonderstone is a traditionalist. In his performances, he uses old-school techniques that have already become boring to the public. Steve Gray uses new dangerous tricks and gathers huge halls of enthusiastic spectators. Wonderstone decides to challenge the new catchy style and prove that traditional magic can still surprise.

Original title:
The Incredible Burt Wonderstone

Genre:
Comedy

Actors:
Steve Carell, Steve Buscemi, Olivia Wilde, Jim Carrey …

Country:
USA

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 6.1, IMDb – 5.9

Age Limits :
12+


Great magician (2011)

Among the best films about illusionists, this dramatic story stands out for its lack of pathos and stage effects. The film tells about a simple general of the Chinese army, who will have to resort to magic in order to win the heart of his beloved. This is a touching story about a magical world of illusions and love in a country torn apart by civil strife after the overthrow of the emperor.

Original title:
Dai moh seut si

Genre:
Drama, melodrama, comedy, detective

Actors:
Tony Leung Chu Wai, Sean Lau, Zhou Xun …

Country:
Hong Kong, China

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 6.6, IMDb – 5.9


Red Lights (2011)

The thriller is worth watching for fans of twisted plots and unexpected endings. Margaret Matheson devoted her life to exposing fraudsters: esotericists, magicians, mediums and illusionists. Her assistant Tom Buckley actively helped the woman in this difficult task. The only one who could fool the skeptics is a blind magician who claims that he actually has superpowers . Getting in the way of a rich and powerful illusionist is risking your life, but Margaret and Tom are willing to take that risk.

Original title:
Red Lights

Genre:
Horror, fantasy, thriller, drama, detective

Actors:
Cillian Murphy, Robert De Niro, Sigourney Weaver …

Country:
Spain, Canada

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 6.9, IMDb – 6.2

Age restrictions:
12+


Magician (dilogue, 2010)

A movie about a forty-year-old magician did not receive a lot of positive feedback from viewers, but it may be of interest to fans of Russian crime films . For many years Anton Gorelov has been working as a magician. One day he receives an order to perform at the country house of a businessman. There, Anton falls in love with the owner’s wife, and the woman reciprocates. However, it is difficult to hide such a connection from the crime boss, and soon Anton will have to fight for his love and life.

Genre:
Drama, crime

Actors:
Andrey Fedortsov, Karina Razumovskaya, Andrey Rudensky …

Country:
Russia

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 5.9

Age restrictions:
16+


The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (2009)

Comedy fantasy film about Dr. Parnassus and his unusual circus show. The thousand-year old Parnassus made a deal with the devil – now he is immortal and has a magic mirror in his arsenal. With the help of magical props, anyone can move into the world of their fantasies. However, the price of such acquisitions is too high, and soon Parnassus will have to give his daughter to the devil if the mysterious stranger Tony does not change the situation.

Original title:
The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus

Genre:
Fantasy, adventure, comedy, detective

Actors:
Heath Ledger, Christopher Plummer, Lily Cole …

Country:
UK, France, Canada

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.0, IMDb – 6.8

Age restrictions:
16+


Is there anyone there? (2009)

The dramatic story of the boy Edward has been on the list of the best British films about magicians for more than a decade. Edward’s everyday life is not like the life of an ordinary child. He lives in a nursing home owned by his parents. Constantly being in the company of older people, seeing fading and death, the boy is fond of the theme of the other world. One day, a new guest appears in the house – this is the former magician Clarence, unable to cope with his depression. The communication of the boy and the old man helps both to find harmony with themselves and true friendship.

Original Title :
Is Anybody There?

Genre:
Drama

Actors:
Michael Caine, Bill Milner, David Morrissey …

Country:
United Kingdom

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 6.9, IMDb – 6.7

Age restrictions:
18+


The Great Buck Howard (2008)

Troy decides to drop out of law school to become a writer. This act shocks his family and friends. However, the young man does not listen to his father’s advice and leaves in search of his own destiny. The guy gets a job with the touring magician Baku Howard and travels around the country with him. The illusionist has long lost popularity, but for his new manager Troy, he becomes a real idol.

Original title:
The Great Buck Howard

Genre:
Drama, comedy, adventure

Actors:
John Malkovich, Colin Hanks, Emily Blunt, Tom Hanks…

Country:
USA

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 6.5, IMDb – 6.4

Age restrictions:
12+


Death Number (2007)

The British feature film about the illusionist was based on the story of the legendary man Harry Houdini. The film covers a short period of the magician’s life, when in 1926 he met the charming Mary, a female medium. Enamored Houdini, believing in her magical abilities, decides on a seance to establish contact with her dead mother. However, Mary’s profession is just a farce, and the swindler has her own plans for a celebrity.

Original title:
Death Defying Acts

Genre:
Thriller, drama, romance, history

Actors:
Guy Pearce, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Timothy Spall, Saoirse Ronan …

Country:
UK, Australia

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 6.5, IMDb – 5.8

Age restrictions:
16+


Prestige (2006)

A highly rated, stylish, atmospheric film starring the real magician Ricky Jay as an actor and mentor to other artists. It is the end of the 19th century in the yard – it is more and more difficult for artists to surprise an inquisitive spectator. Two rival magicians-illusionists waged war with each other, trying to entertain the public and earn popularity. They are ready for anything for the sake of glory – deceit, dangerous tricks and even human sacrifices.

Original title:
The Prestige

Genre:
Fantasy, thriller, drama, detective

Actors:
Hugh Jackman, Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Scarlett Johansson …

Country:
USA, UK

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 8.5, IMDb – 8.5

Age restrictions:
12+


Sensation (2006)

A comedy film about a strange magician and an ambitious student Sondra, who have a fascinating investigation. After his death , journalist Joe Strombel finally found a hot sensation – this is news about a killer operating in London. He cannot miss such an information bomb. Contacted from purgatory through a medium with a journalism student, Joe directs her in the footsteps of the criminal. Sondra, with the support of the old magician, immediately gets down to business.

Original title:
Scoop

Genre:
Fantasy, comedy, crime, detective

Actors:
Scarlett Johansson, Hugh Jackman, Romola Garay …

Country:
UK, USA

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.1, IMDb – 6.6

Age restrictions:
16+


Illusionist (2005)

The events of the film take place in Vienna at the beginning of the 20th century. The protagonist of the fantasy thriller is a young illusionist Eduard Eisenheim. In his youth, Edward meets a girl from a noble family, falls in love with Sophie, and together they plan to escape from their hometown. However, the duke cannot allow the relationship of his beloved daughter with the son of a simple cabinetmaker, and takes Sophie away. Eduard soon goes to study in Asia and returns 15 years later as the famous illusionist-sorcerer Eisenheim.

Original title:
The Illusionist

Genre:
Fantasy, thriller, drama, melodrama, detective

Actors:
Edward Norton, Paul Giamatti, Jessica Biel …

Country:
USA, Czech Republic

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 8.0, IMDb – 7.6

Age restrictions:
12+


Inveterate Wizards (2000)

The plot of the comedy movie about illusionists revolves around several interesting characters. Hugo the hustler, Max the failed magician, Milo the more experienced illusionist, and Lydia the waitress set off to conquer Las Vegas. Ahead of a motley company are waiting for unsuccessful performances, public discontent and even problems with the police . But nothing will stop the heroes, because they are already halfway to a better life.

Original title:
Magicians

Genre:
Comedy

Actors:
Til Schweiger, Claire Forlani, Fabrizio Bentivoglio, Alan Arkin…

Country:
USA, Germany

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 6.1, IMDb – 5.4

Age Limits :
12+


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Jared Lambert/ author of the article

I’ve been writing about movies, TV shows and anime for over 3 years, and you may have seen my reviews on Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic.

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