To get you ready for the upcoming release of Now You See Me 2 we decided to highlight some of our favorite movies that deal with magic (think deception/magic tricks, not sorcery) and/or magicians for our latest entry in our ongoing weekly film series, where we typically recommend movies to watch “if you liked” a particular new release.
The events of Now You See Me 2 take place three years after those of the first film. The Four Horsemen, a group of magicians best known for their Robin Hood-style magic acts, make a triumphant return to the stage to expose a tech magnate’s unscrupulous tactics. It’s Walter Mabry, a tech genius, who is threatening the Horsemen with their most improbable robbery yet, who is behind their vanishing act.
While there are many excellent thrillers out there, Now You See Me 2 hits theaters on June 10th. A sampling of the best:
1. Death Defying Acts (2007)
On his first day in Edinburgh, Harry Houdini offered an outstanding financial reward to any claimed psychic who could precisely tell him his late mother’s last words, which he had uttered before she died. Houdini’s skepticism will be put to the test as Mary McGarvie takes up the challenge of a risky infatuation with him that will blur the line between reality and paranoia.
2. Deceptive Practice: The Mysteries and Mentors of Ricky Jay (2012)
At age four, Ricky Jay began working with his grandfather as an apprentice under Al Flosso and then studied under Slydini and Cardini as well as Dai Vernon and Charlie Miller, two magicians who have since passed away.
3. The Escape Artist (1982)
Danny Masters, the bereaved son of famed escape artist Harry Masters, moves live with distant relatives after Harry’s death. A gifted magician in his own right, Danny dreams of breaking free from his father’s legacy, but he encounters obstacles in the form of the delinquent son of the town’s unscrupulous mayor. To make matters worse, Danny challenges the local police force by threatening them with an escape that will rival his father’s.
4. The Geisha Boy (1958)
USO tour in the Far East brings fumbling magicians into disastrous situations one after the other.
5. The Great Buck Howard (2008)
The aspirant writer Troy Gable decides to defy his father’s wishes and drop out of law school in order to obtain some valuable life experience. When Troy takes a job with Buck Howard, a conceited mentalist hoping to revive his dwindling career with a huge comeback, he gets all of that and more.
6. The Great Magician (2011)
Early in the decade of the twenties, the best performers in China gathered in Beijing to display their most impressive abilities. The Eight Immortals’ Treat magic trick is the prize for anyone who can replicate it.
7. Guzaarish (2010)
Ethan Mascarenhas, a paraplegic magician and radio host, decided to file an appeal to the court for euthanasia (mercy killing) with the support of his best friend and lawyer, 14 years after a crippling spinal-cord injury.
8. An Honest Liar (2014)
James “the Amazing” Randi, a world-renowned magician and escape artist, devotes his life to exposing fraudulent psychics and those who claim paranormal abilities.
9. Houdini (1953)
Harry Houdini falls in love with Bess while performing as a Coney Island entertainer. The magician swiftly marries her, and with her by his side, he rises to renown as the world’s finest escape artist and magician. The more hazardous Harry’s escapes become, the more Bess worries that Harry may be going too far with his act.
10. The Illusionist (2006)
Crown Prince Leopold of Vienna and Eisenheim, a great magician, are vying for Sophie’s affections. As the prince is ready to be named the royal fiancee, he uses all of his great influence to bring her down. An inspector from the police department named Uhl, on the other hand, is trying to tell Eisenheim that what he is doing is extremely risky.
11. The Illusionist (2010)
An illusionist from France finds himself performing in dirty bars and run-down restaurants in Scotland in the 1950s because magic tricks couldn’t compete with the popularity of rock & roll. When he meets Alice, a girl who believes his skills are real, things begin to look up for him. For a performance in Edinburgh, they go together, but he doesn’t have the heart to tell that his feats are really trickery and risks financial disaster by giving her gifts supplied by his “magic,” despite the risk.
12. The Mad Magician (1954)
An ex-magician has turned into an insane killer, employing the same tactics he used to conjure illusions to murder his victims.
13. Magic (1978)
An ex-magician, Corky takes up ventriloquism with an abrasive puppet named Fats, and finds himself on the verge of landing a television gig for the first time ever. Corky, who is unbalanced, runs away with Fats to his hometown, where he reunites with Peggy, a high school sweetheart he hasn’t seen in years. But Fats, who seems to be taking on a mind of his own, does not approve of Peggy and Corky’s connection.
14. The Magician (1958)
When it comes to “magical skills,” Dr. Vogler’s Magnetic Health Theater has a reputation for hypnotism, magic, and other “supernatural” acts. Skeptics organize a commission to disprove the magical skills of the company when Vogler’s show visits Stockholm. As a result, the villagers, led by a merciless medical authority, are unable to reasonably explain Vogler’s exploits.
15. Presto (2008)
WALL-E was exhibited in theaters as a prequel to Pixar’s short film, Presto. The short is a spoof on old-school cartoons like Tom and Jerry and Looney Tunes about a magician and his obstinate rabbit.
16. The Prestige (2006)
Both Alfred Borden and Rupert Angier, renowned 19th-century magicians, are pitted against each other when an illusion goes badly wrong. It’s only a matter of time before the feud between the two men escalates into something far worse.
17. Oz the Great and Powerful (2013)
In the land of Oz, Oscar Diggs, a sleazy circus magician, thinks that fame and money are his to the taking. However, three witches remain sceptical that Oscar is the great magician that the people of Oz deserve and need. Despite his reluctance, Oscar is sucked into Oz’s mammoth troubles and must figure out who is good and who is bad in time.