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


Chuck Workman
2 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Orson Welles ... Self (archive footage)
Simon Callow ... Self
Christopher Welles Christopher Welles ... Self (as Christopher Welles Feder)
Joanne Hill Styles Joanne Hill Styles ... Self
Norman Lloyd ... Self
Micheál MacLiammóir ... Self (archive footage)
Ruth Ford ... Self (archive footage)
Julie Taymor ... Self
Paolo Cherchi Usai Paolo Cherchi Usai ... Self
Norman Corwin ... Self (archive footage)
Peter Bogdanovich ... Self
James Naremore James Naremore ... Self
William Alland William Alland ... Self (archive footage)
Reggie Armour Reggie Armour ... Self (archive footage)
Steven Spielberg ... Self


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

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Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

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 Don Quixote (1992) See more »

User Reviews

Highly Entertaining and Worth Watching
11 May 2017 | by Michael_ElliottSee all my reviews

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

*** 1/2 (out of 4)

This is certainly a highly entertaining documentary that takes a look at the career of Orson Welles. It features archival interviews with the director as well as archival and new interviews with a wide range of filmmakers including Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, Richard Linklater as well as actors like Charlton Heston and Welles' two surviving daughters.

I've read a lot of negative reviews aimed at this film and while I understand where they're coming from, at the same time I think they're being a bit harsh. Yes, this film could have gone more into the mind of Welles and it could have focused more on his personal life. It could have done a number of things but I think it's best to judge what's actually here and not judge what isn't here or whatever we might have wanted the documentary to be about.

I really thought the film did a good job at giving a quick look at the work of Welles going back to his childhood to his radio work to his movies and of course the projects he was doing at the end of his life. I thought the archival interviews with Welles were great and I really liked how they pretty much helped the legend tell his own story. The film clips are wonderful and it was just a great way to get introduced to the man and his films.

If you're already familiar with Welles then you might not learn anything "new" here but this is still a highly entertaining documentary and one that's certainly worth watching.

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Release Date:

3 July 2015 (Ireland) See more »

Also Known As:

Magician: The Astonishing Life and Work of Orson Welles See more »


Box Office


$813,505 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$7,130, 14 December 2014

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Technical Specs


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