I've seen both the American and Japanese versions many times, and while everyone agrees about which one is better, the American version has some virtues: 1) Our heroes are selected by the farmers when they defend a dead Indian's right to be buried in the same place as white people; therefore they are seen as champions of social and racial equality by the farmers. 2) A magnificent villain played by Eli Wallach. 3) Charlie Bronson's relationship with the village boys. And some tremendous faults: 1) Combining the Young Student and Crazy Fool characters; some of the most poignant scenes in the Japanese version involved the interaction between these two. 2) Not filming the final battle in the rain. And of course many more of each. It's an interesting discussion. Both are great movies that shouldn't be missed. Remember that Kurosawa gave John Sturges a sword in appreciation after seeing his film.