A bandit terrorizes a small Mexican farming village each year. Several of the village elders send three of the farmers into the United States to search for gunmen to defend them. They end up with seven, each of whom comes for a different reason. They must prepare the town to repulse an army of forty bandits who will arrive wanting food. Written by
John Vogel <email@example.com>
The name of Charles Bronson's character, Bernardo O'Reilly, is a reference to Chilean independence leader Bernardo O'Higgins, who freed Chile from Spanish rule in the Chilean War of Independence (1810-1826). See more »
When Chris and Vin begin driving the hearse up to Boot Hill, they pass the Belmar Hotel sign twice - once silently at the very start, and then again as they briefly discuss the towns they've come from a few moments later. See more »
There's no need to apologize. We weren't expecting flowers and speeches.
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I first saw this film about 20 years ago as a teenager and I still find it as enjoyable now as I did then. It is the tale of seven gunfighters who are hired by a poor Mexican farming community to help drive off the bandits who periodically show up and steal the communities food and goods. Of the Magnificent Seven most of the screen time is given to Chris (Brynner), Vin (McQueen) and Chico (Bucholz). While no details are given about the individual pasts of the Magnificent Seven it is fairly clear what there pasts may have been.
1. Chris: A leader, perhaps a former soldier, who has encountered danger before and gained a degree of mastery over his emotions in dangerous situation.
2. Vin: A capable man with a gun, perhaps a one time cowboy. He seems to be comfortable working as a loner but clearly would like to one day settle down.
3. Chico: The youngest of the Seven and most inexperienced. He wants to shed his farming past and attempts through acts of bravado to persuade others and himself that he is a gunfighter at heart.
4. Bernardo (Bronson): A strong solitary man that in many ways resembles Chris although not displaying the desire to lead. In many ways he is the most interesting character. He has made quite a bit of money in the past even though he is now broke. The attention he gives to the local village children and the gift he gives a village girl hint at the idea that while he is good at gunfighting he knows that it is a good family life that is important.
5. Lee (Vaughn): The most difficult character to relate to. He appears to be a gunman who in the past was cocky, arrogant and self assured but now after experiencing life on the run now doubts himself. He wants to do the right thing but finds it difficult to step up to the plate when it's his turn.
6. Britt (Coburn): A loner who is unequaled in a gun or knife fight. A man whose motives remain his own.
7. Harry (Dexter): A good man to have in a fight but one who lets greed cloud his every decision. It would seem that Harry is one of those individuals who is always one step away from gaining riches but somehow never gains them.
The leader of the bandits is Calvera (Walsh) who is not an unlikeable fellow. He appears to believe that it is his job to steal so that he can support himself and his men. For him it is only a job, not unlike the farmers who work the land to provide for their families. He has what can almost be describes as a code of ethics for those who make their living with guns. This code of ethics is evident in the way he treats the Magnificent Seven towards the end of the film. However, given the films ending, this code does not seem to be shared by the Magnificent Seven
Lastly, while many people may view this film as a western action film I think there is quite a bit of underlying humanity and character depth woven into the story. It is these underlying characteristics that distinguish it from the average western action flick and have helped to make this film as popular as it is.
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