The Magnificent Seven Deadly Sins

The Magnificent Seven Deadly Sins is a 1971 British comedy film directed and produced by Graham Stark. Its title is a conflation of The Magnificent Seven and the seven deadly sins. It comprises a sequence of seven sketches, each representing a sin and written by an array of British comedy-writing talent, including Graham Chapman, Spike Milligan, Barry Cryer and Galton and Simpson. The sketches are linked by animation sequences. The music score is by British jazz musician Roy Budd, cinematography by Harvey Harrison and editing by Rod Nelson-Keys and Roy Piper. It was produced by Tigon Pictures and distributed in the U.K. by Tigon Film Distributors Ltd..

The Magnificent Seven Deadly Sins
Directed byGraham Stark
Produced byGraham Stark
Written byGraham Chapman, Barry Cryer, Ray Galton, Alan Simpson, Spike Milligan, John Esmonde, Bob Larbey, Graham Stark, Dave Freeman
StarringBruce Forsyth, Harry Secombe, Leslie Phillips, Harry H. Corbett, Ian Carmichael, Alfie Bass
Music byRoy Budd
CinematographyHarvey Harrison
Edited byRod Nelson-Keys
Roy Piper
Distributed byTigon Film Distributors Ltd.
Release date
  • November 1971 (1971-11)
Running time
107 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom


The first segment, "Avarice", is written by John Esmonde and Bob Larbey. In this segment, a 50p coin falls down a drain and a rich man (Whitsun-Jones) orders his chauffeur (Forsyth) to retrieve it. A fisherman (Hudd) attempts to fish it out. The chauffeur's efforts result only in the coin dropping farther down into the sewer. Other people become involved in the search, including a policewoman (Sims) and one of the workers in the sewer. In the end the rich man, seeing the sewage on the chauffeur, fires him but then falls straight into the open sewer. The chauffeur drops the coin in after him and after replacing the manhole cover, walks away with a purposeful stride.



The second segment, "Envy", is written by Dave Freeman. Stanley (Secombe) and his wife Vera (Cryan) are winners of the football pools and are looking to buy a huge house. His wife spots one and decides she must have it.

The owners (Bayldon and Whitfield) enjoy a quiet life there and do not wish to sell. So Secombe's character decides to employ a series of schemes to force the owners of the house to sell their home so that they can buy it; one of these schemes involves creating a mock edition of the local newspaper that purports to tell the story of a new motorway that will go straight through their garden.

The owners sell to Secombe and wife. As they move in a mechanical digger is seen coming towards the house as it turns out the 'story' is actually true.



The third segment, "Gluttony", is written by Graham Chapman and Barry Cryer. In this sketch Phillips is a compulsive eater who has food hidden all around his office.



The fourth segment, "Lust", is written by Graham Stark from a story by Marty Feldman. Ambrose Twombly (Corbett) is determined to find a partner and chats up a woman in an adjoining telephone box by looking through the glass, dialling the number of her telephone and convincing her that he is someone from her past who just happens to be on a "crossed line" by some extraordinary coincidence, cleverly prompting her with some personal details he has managed to spot. She seems quite excited about the prospect of meeting up with him, but before he gets the chance to arrange a meeting she tells him over the phone that there is a man looking at her with a face that looks like "a monkey" in the adjoining phone box (which is, of course, Corbett). The segment ends with a shot of a dangling handset.



The fifth segment, "Pride", is written by Alan Simpson and Ray Galton. In it, two motorists (Carmichael and Bass) meet facing each other on a narrow country road, and neither is willing to pull aside to let the other pass. In the end, neither wins.

This was a reworking of the writers' Impasse episode in the second (1963) series of Comedy Playhouse. It was remade again in 1996 as an episode of Paul Merton in Galton & Simpson's...



The sixth segment, "Sloth", is written by Spike Milligan. It features a series of silent black and white film clips, with dialogue captions, showing people not being active. The captions incorporate a running gag on the word "walnut".



The seventh and last segment, "Wrath", is written by Graham Chapman and Barry Cryer. Two men in the park (Fraser and Howard) are annoyed by the park keeper (Lewis, playing his character Inspector Blake from On the Buses in all but name) telling them off for littering, so they try to kill him. Most of their schemes fail, but in the end they succeed, by planting a bomb in a washroom. However, this is only accomplished at the cost that they themselves die too. They think that they are in heaven, and plan to litter it too, but instead they find themselves in hell, and the man they tried to kill is actually the devil.


Cast notes

The cast features three James Bond actresses: Anouska Hempel and Julie Ege, who appeared in On Her Majesty's Secret Service, and Madeline Smith, who would later appear in Live and Let Die. All three had minor roles in those films.


  1. John Hamilton, Beasts in the Cellar: The Exploitation Film Career of Tony Tenser, Fab Press, 2005 p 206
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