Simon Magus (1999)

UK, Germany, Italy, France,
35mm film, colour, 2.35:1
Dolby Digital, English

A British/German/Italian/French fantasy film directed by Ben Hopkins. Benjamin Moss was originally announced as writer and director.

Plot Summary

Simon Magus is cast out of his deeply religious Jewish community when he claims to be able to talk to the Devil. But when Dovid tris to persuade the local squire to sell him some land, a ruthless businessman from a neighbouring community finds a use for Simon's supposed abilities.


Directed by: Ben Hopkins
© 1999 Film Four Limited (the world, excluding Germany, France and Italy)
© 1999 Hollywood Partners (for Germany)
© 1999 Silesia Film Ltd (for France and Italy)
FilmFour, Lucky Red, ARP and Hollywood Partners in association with the Arts Council of England present a Jonescompany production. Developed with the support of the MEDIA programme of the European Union. Supported by the National Lottery through the Arts Council of England. Developed with the support of British Screen Finance Limited and Miramax Films.
Produced by: Robert Jones
Line Producer: Anita Overland
Written by: Ben Hopkins
Story and Screenplay Developed with: Robert Cheek
Director of Photography: Nic Knowland
Editor: Alan Levy
Original Music: Deborah Mollison
Sound Recordist: George Richards
Costume Designer: Michele Clapton
Hair and Make-up Designer: Roseann Samuel
Special Effects: Stuart Murdoch
Visual Effects by: Digital Film, London
Production Designer: Angela Davies
Casting Director: Susie Figgis
Filmed on location in Brecon, Wales and at Shepperton Film Studios

Noah Taylor (Simon)
Embeth Davidtz (Leah)
Stuart Townsend (Dovid)
Séan McGinley (Hase)
Terence Rigby (Bratislav)
Amanda Ryan (Sarah)
Ian Holm (Sirius/Boris/Head)
Rutger Hauer (squire)
David De Keyser (rabbi)
Toby Jones (Buchholz)
Jim Dunk (Saul)
Ursula Jones (Rebecca)
Cyril Shaps (Chaim)
Ken Drury (priest)
Tom Fisher (Thomas)
Walter Sparrow (Benjamin)
Jean Anderson (Roise)
Katherine Schlesinger (Aksha)
Valerie Edmond (Eva)
Kathryn Hunter (grandmother)

Alternative Titles

A sátán mágusa – Hungary
Simon le magicien – France
Simon Magus: A Tale from a Vanished World – end credits title
Szymon Mag – Poland
Саймон Магус – Russia
可怜的西蒙 – China (Mandarin)



  • Cineinforme no.738 (October 2001) p.72-73 – illustrated article (‘Simon Magus', de Ben Hopkins, clara ganadora de la II Semana de Cine Fantástico y de Terror de Estepona)
  • Empire no.133 (July 2000) p.62 – illustrated review (New films by Angie Errigo)
  • Eyepiece vol.19 no.3 (June/July 1998) p.27 – credits
  • Film Review no.595 (July 2000) p.37 – illustrated credits, synopsis, review (Simon Magus by James Cameron-Wilson)
  • Film Review Special no.34 Year book 2001 p.106 – illustrated review (Simon Magus by James Cameron-Wilson)
  • Film Tutti i Film della Stagione no.46 (July/August 2000) p.17-19 – credits, synopsis, review
  • Film-Echo/Filmwoche no.14 (10 April 1999) p.45 – review (Simon Magus by Steffen Heinke)
  • The Hollywood Reporter vol.353 no.7 (23 June 1998) p.43 – credits (In production by Brian Fuson)
  • Screen International no.29 (May 1998) p.19 – credits (International production)
  • Screen International no.1161 (5 June 1998) p.6 – illustrated note
  • Segnocinema vol.20 no.105 (September/Octoctober 2000) p.48 – credits, review (Tuttofilm 1999-2000)
  • Sight and Sound vol.10 no.7 (July 2000) p.53-54 – credits, synopsis, review (Reviews by Ken Hollings)
  • Sight and Sound vol.16 no.10 (October 2006) p.91 – DVD review (Simon Magus/Nine Lives of Thomas Katz by Geoffrey Macnab)
  • Sight and Sound vol.9 no.3 (March 1999) p.5 – article (Rushes: the two Magi)
  • Variety 1 March 1999 p.84 – credits, synopsis, review (Film Reviews by Derek Elley)