13 user 33 critic

Magician: The Astonishing Life and Work of Orson Welles (2014)

2:04 | Trailer

Watch Now

From $3.99 (HD) on Amazon Video

A look at the life and work of the great theatre, radio and film artist.


2 nominations. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Documentary | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

Amidst a constant stream of hundreds of film clips, dozens of filmmakers voice their opinions on the titular question while primarily looking beyond the Hollywood mainstream to independent, experimental, documentary and avant-garde films.

Director: Chuck Workman
Stars: Chantal Akerman, Robert Altman, Peter Bogdanovich
RKO 281 (TV Movie 1999)
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Orson Welles produces his greatest film, Citizen Kane (1941), despite the opposition of the film's de facto subject, William Randolph Hearst.

Director: Benjamin Ross
Stars: Liev Schreiber, James Cromwell, Melanie Griffith
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Filmmakers discuss how Francois Truffaut's 1966 book "Cinema According to Hitchcock" influenced their work.

Director: Kent Jones
Stars: Mathieu Amalric, Wes Anderson, Peter Bogdanovich
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Orson Welles' archives of unfinished/never released movies and the last years of his life from the perspective of Oja Kodar (life and artistic partner Of Orson Welles in his last years). ... See full summary »

Directors: Vassili Silovic, Oja Kodar
Stars: Oja Kodar, Ingrid Bergman, Tim Brooke-Taylor
F for Fake (1973)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A documentary about fraud and fakery.

Directors: Orson Welles, Gary Graver, and 2 more credits »
Stars: Orson Welles, Oja Kodar, François Reichenbach


Cast overview, first billed only:
Himself (archive footage)
Christopher Welles ...
Herself (as Christopher Welles Feder)
Joanne Hill Styles ...
Himself (archive footage)
Ruth Ford ...
Herself (archive footage)
Paolo Cherchi Usai ...
Himself (archive footage)
James Naremore ...
William Alland ...
Himself (archive footage)
Reggie Armour ...
Himself (archive footage)


Magician: The Astonishing Life and Work of Orson Welles looks at the remarkable genius of Orson Welles on the eve of his centenary - the enigma of his career as a Hollywood star, a Hollywood director (for some a Hollywood failure), and a crucially important independent filmmaker. Orson Welles's life was magical: a musical prodigy at age 10, a director of Shakespeare at 14, a painter at 16, a star of stage and radio at 20, romances with some of the most beautiful women in the world, including Rita Hayworth. His work was similarly extraordinary, most notably Citizen Kane, (considered by many to be the most important movie ever made), created by Welles when he was only 25. In the years following Citizen Kane, Welles's career continued to change as he made film after film (some never finished, many dismissed) and acted in other projects often to earn money in order to keep making his own films. Magician features scenes from almost every existing Welles film, from Hearts of Age, (which he ... Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for brief language, some suggestive images/nudity and smoking | See all certifications »




Release Date:

30 November 2015 (Italy)  »

Also Known As:

Il mago - L'incredibile vita di Orson Welles  »

Box Office


$813,505 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$7,130 (USA) (12 December 2014)


$15,528 (USA) (19 December 2014)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (theatrical)


(Black & White and Color)
See  »

Did You Know?


When the paternity of Welles's alleged son is mentioned, one of the photographs which is shown and purported to be of Welles is actually a photograph of Vincent D'Onofrio, who played Welles in Ed Wood. See more »


Features The Billy Crystal Comedy Hour (1982) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Citizen Orson
18 April 2016 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Magician: The Astonishing Life and Work of Orson Welles celebrates the centenary of the birth of the legendary Actor, Director, Raconteur and Foodie. The documentary has no narration, it just uses clips from Welles movies, footage from interviews and Welles himself ends up narrating his life through anecdotes and stories he told throughout his career.

The problem is if you want to know about the man just watch the Arena documentary from the BBC that was made a few years before he died where you get Orson Welles, his life and career from the big man himself, many clips of which are used here.

Magician feels like a tepid rundown of his career. There are some major contributors such as Steven Spielberg but the only interesting aspect I took from this is a man who became a low budget independent film-maker, forever looking to raise money so he could complete the many films he had in production at any one time, some of them going on for years, many never completed.

Orson Welles was an important figure in cinematic history, this documentary is a starter not the main course.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page