7 Best movie magic tricks (and can you do them irl?) | Virgin Media
7 Best movie magic tricks (and can you do them irl?)

7 Best movie magic tricks (and can you do them irl?)



Now You See Me 2 magically appears on Virgin Movies this week which means more preposterous plot twists, more magic group #bantz, and more of Woody Harrelson being Woody Harrelson (and now, with added magical Daniel Radcliffe!)

It also brings with it a whole host of completely OTT, ludicrously nonsensical and undeniably entertaining big-budget illusions for our gaggle of heist magicians to plan/escape from. To celebrate, we decided to rifle our way through cinema’s most impressive magic tricks - and, more importantly, decipher whether they’re doable in real life.


Find Now You See Me 2 in Movies > On Demand > Virgin Movies

1. Super Shuffle-o!

Movie: The Brothers Bloom (2008)

The Magic: Rachel Weisz shuffles a pack of cards, cuts out four decks and flips over an Ace from the top every time. Then she throws the cards back together and shuffles them, before pulling four Aces from the top. And THEN she shuffles again, and proceeds to pull out four Queens in a row. Madness.

Can You Do It IRL? Yep. Just takes a LOT of planning and a lot of practice. While Weisz made it look super-simple in the scene, it was a trick she practiced every day for a month, and then had to film 11 takes to get right. 

2. Guillotine Decapitation-o!

Guillotine Decapitation-o!

Don’t ask how they do it, ask why

Movie: Magicians (2007)

The Magic: Mitchell & Webb team up to play disgruntled magicians who were former partners. One of their key tricks involves a guillotine, a severed head and a whole lot of screaming. That is, until the decapitated magician appears again, alive as anything.

Can You Do It IRL? Yep. Guillotine tricks are fairly common in the magician trade, with the real secret being that there are actually TWO blades in play. One is used for the pre-trick demonstration (i.e., when they place a fruit in the head’s place and it’s sliced in half) and then another is a fake one. Throw in a fake head and a bunch of pretend blood, and voila. 

Movie Magic Tricks

Find Peep Show series 1-9 in On Demand > By Channel > All 4.

3. Eggs Vomit-o!

Movie: Airplane! (1980)

The Magic: When the first of many passengers falls ill on Airplane!’s hilariously calamitous aircraft, it’s up to Leslie Nielsen’s Dr. Rumack to investigate. One by one (by one by one), Rumack pulls a new egg out of the passenger’s mouth, followed by about 5 others. WUT.

Can You Do It IRL? Easily. It’s all sleight of hand, with Nielsen palming a new egg out of his sleeve every time. Meanwhile, the passenger/glamorous assistant simply keeps the same egg in her mouth throughout.

4. Chainsaw Inhalf-o!

Movie Magic Tricks

“Is that Mr Darcy in the lake again?”

Movie: Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005)

The Magic: A young Harry Lockhart (Robert Downey Jnr) performs as Harold the Great to a garden full of attentive fans, as he attempts the infamous ‘Jaws of Death’ trick, and proceeds to saw a glamorous young assistant in half. The only snafu? Her terrifying screams…. which dissipate when we realise she’s just a weapons grade prankster, and she’s perfect fine.

Can You Do It IRL? Yep. There have been countless variations throughout the years (jigsaws, transparent boxes, Criss Angel literally pulling a woman in half) but let’s stick to the basics as young Harold the Great did here. It was likely a combination of a false compartment, a bunch of contortioning and even some mirror trickery. Uncomfortable for the assistant, but impressive for the audience.

5. The Sword In The Stone-io!

Movie: The Illusionist (2006)

The Magic: Edward Norton’s  supremely snarky, enjoyably patronising illusionist Eisenheim proves a pertinent point against the douchey Crown Prince (Rufus Sewell), when said regent sneers at Norton’s powers. Eisenheim balances the sword entirely upright and then asks all and sundry to try to pick it up, a la The Sword in the Stone. Things don’t go as planned, as burly men aplenty fail to wield the blade.

Can You Do It IRL? Yep - with a little help from some magnetic jiggery pokery. Turns out Eisenheim had control of an electromagnet that keep the sword in place, and simply switched it off when he wants it to be picked up again. Magic = physics.

6. Disappear-o Fish-o!

Movie Magic Tricks

Are you watching closely?

Movie: The Prestige (2006)

The Magic: We could’ve picked any number of louder, brashier, more jaw-dropping tricks from Christopher Nolan’s superlative magic mystery thriller, but when the whole point of the movie is illustrating the reality behind the trick, it feels fairly redundant. Instead, we’ve opted for this solid classic, as magician Chung Ling Soo makes an enormous goldfish bowl - full with water and fish - disappear from view. 

Can You Do It IRL? Yep. As illustrated in the movie, Soo gets away with the disappearance because of a lifelong dedication to defrauding one and all. The trick is to learn how to balance an entire bowl between your legs - and then walk off with it. Bonkers, but totally doable.

Movie Magic Tricks

Apparently this new dance called the Hokey Cokey was what it’s all about

7. Pencil Murder-Vanish-o! 

Movie Magic Tricks

Movie: The Dark Knight (2008)

The Magic: You’d think The Joker would be a man renowned for his card tricks, but his piece de resistance in a movie filled with macabre moments of wonder is undoubtedly the pencil trick that he performs with the aid of a gaggle of clueless mob goons. First, he stands a pencil up on a table. Next, he makes it disappear with the help of an unwitting assistant by grabbing said goon’s head and then…OH GOD WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?!

Can You Do It IRL? Yes, quite easily, but please do not try it at home. It also helps if you’re a murderous psychopath.

The Dark Knight is available now in On Demand > Movies > Virgin Movies