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About as good as remakes get
byght18 October 2004
I recently subjected "The Magnificent Seven" to just about the toughest test imaginable--I watched it just a few days after "Seven Samurai." And while I'm not going to pretend it's on par with Kurosawa's astounding masterpiece, I have to tip my hat to Hollywood on this one: it's good, DAMN good, among the best American Westerns.

The focus of the screenplay is more on post-Bogart-pre-Eastwood cool banter than the gradual, taciturn character development of "Seven Samurai," but that doesn't mean that the film doesn't have a heart. Considering it clocks in at barely over two hours (compared to the marathonic three and a half of "Samurai"), it actually does a fantastic and very economical job of fleshing out its memorable cast of characters.

One particularly wonderful scene that stuck in my memory from the first time I saw the film ten years ago is the one where Lee (Robert Vaughn), drunk in the middle of the night, confesses his frailties and fear to two of the farmers. The scene (along with the general story of these down-and-out heroes) was groundbreaking in that it began the deconstruction and deromanticization of the Western hero which would be brought to fruition in Sergio Leone's unparalleled spaghetti Westerns.

The star-studded cast wouldn't hold up doing Shakespeare, but they're ideal in this gunslinging, cool-talking tough-guy adventure. As if a lineup of heroes that included Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, and James Coburn wasn't enough, Eli Wallach steals the show as the Mexican bandit chief, a worthy precursor to his classic role "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly." If the screenplay has a major flaw, it's that his character isn't featured more.

The score is, of course, one of the all-time classics. And while not as alive visually as the Japanese film that inspired it or the Italian Westerns it influenced, it's still mighty fine to look at, and the gunfights don't disappoint.

The pieces add up to one of the great entertaining films of all time, which still manages to be moving and morally aware despite its Hollywoodization of Kurosawa's vision.
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Yul Is Cool!
ccthemovieman-126 April 2006
This is considered one of the all-time great westerns: a real classic, and I can't argue. I've seen a number of faster-moving and better westerns but few with a cast this good that's still entertaining. I never get tired of seeing the stars in this movie. How often are actors like Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, James Coburn and Eli Wallach boring.....or all in the same movie? Not too often. Throw in Robert Vaughn and Horst Buchholz and you have a memorable cast.

As "cool" as McQueen was in his day, in this film Brynner was the "coolest" guy. Just the intense look on his face with those piercing eyes and deep voice command attention whenever he's on screen. Meanwhile, nobody but nobody played a Mexican villain better than Wallach.

The "good guys" in this classic movie are all professional killers and show their human side by admitting their weaknesses and the emptiness of their profession. No one says it better here than Bronson, who gives a couple of very powerful "sermons" to some young boys.

A solid western and a pretty famous theme song, too! It's also another good example of showing some real tough guys who can be convincing without profanity. Can you imagine the dialog if this film was re-made today?!
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A richly enjoyable Western with a terrific Oscar-Nominated Musical Score...
Nazi_Fighter_David3 October 1999
Warning: Spoilers
John Sturges acquires a reputation as a solid director of superior Westerns filled with tense action scenes such as: "Escape From Fort Bravo," "Bad Day at Black Rock," "Backlash," "Gunfight At The O.K. Corral," "The Law and Jack Wade," "The Last Train From Gun Hill," "Sergeant Three," "The Hallelujah Trail," and one of the best of all Wyatt Earp movies, "Hour of the Gun."

He succeeds in one of the most exhilarating opening sequences of all Western movies, when he had McQueen and Brynner riding a hearse up legendary Boot Hill creating a mood and peril that never allow the slightest degree of viewer confusion or ennui... For Sturges, the West is a man's world, and his cool, hard, detached style, emphasizing action, excitement and the rugged environment of the frontier, endorses the point...

"The Magnificent Seven" is derived from Kurosawa's superb "The Seven Samurai," a compelling tale of intimidated and impoverished medieval villagers hiring mercenary warriors to repel bandit ravages... The villagers in this case are Mexicans, plagued beyond all bearing by the activities of bandit Calavera, who always leaves them on tortillas and few beans... Three of them cross the border to offer meager pay and sustenance for any professionally skilled fighting men who will aid them...

Yul Brynner is the man, dressed in black, with the luminous dome and the hypnotic Mongolian eyes who portrays the distinctive Chris Adams leader of the seven hired gunmen hired to chase some 'flies from a little Mexican village.'

Eli Wallach is memorable as Calvera, chief of the ruthless outlaws... He is greedy and merciless terrorizing without pity the poor peasants...

Steve McQueen gives a standout performance as the sardonic gunman ('We deal in lead, friend'), carrying appealing ease and sense of humor to his role as Vin, Brynner's first recruit and second-in-command...

Charles Bronson portrays Bernardo O'Reilly, who explains his curious name to Chris, with 'Mexican on one side, Irish on the other—and me in the middle!' Bronson, the strongest face in Western, and with a bit of Mexican in him—cunning face, steady eyes, revealing voice—the character of Bernardo O'Reilly suits him perfectly... This half-breed gunfighter becomes the conscience of the team... Because of his tender paternal instincts, he is adopted by three children who promise him, in case he falls, to bring him, every day, fresh flowers...

Robert Vaughn—who was to do nicely on TV in "The Man from Uncle" spy spoof— plays Lee, the 'good gun' with black gloves and nightmares, living in style with no enemies alive...

Brad Dexter plays Harry Luck, Brynner's happy friend who returns to join the team convinced of the existence of a large amount of hidden gold...

James Coburn makes a big impression as Britt, the expert gunman who can out-draw a gun with his knife-throwing... His looks and vague figure of violence are quite a response for his few talks...

Horst Bucholz represents youth, eagerness, and the urge to be proved and sorted out from the boys... He was caught on the road by Rosenda Monteros...

Robert J. Wilke is Britt's insisting challenger who swells the ranks of the villains in many Westerns like "High Noon," "The Far Country," and "Man of the West."

The Magnificent Seven's success spawned three sequels: "Return of the Seven" (again starring Yul Brynner), "Guns of the Magnificent Seven" and, last and least of all, "The Magnificent Seven Ride."

With a terrific Oscar-Nominated Musical Score by Elmer Bernstein, "The Magnificent Seven" remains a richly enjoyable Western, shot on location in Morelos state, Mexico...
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Interesting differences from the Japanese version
Sleepy-1714 February 2003
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.
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A good western thriller with superb star cast.
Fella_shibby2 June 2017
I saw this film umpteenth number of times in the late 80s n early 90s on a VHS. Revisited it recently on a DVD after watching the remake (Denzel Washington one). Well this movie itself is a western remake of Kurosawa's Seven Samurai. As a fan of western films n being a big fan of Mcqueen, i enjoyed it more than Seven Samurai. The film is an engaging n adventurous western, awesomely directed by John Sturges. The story is simple, poor farmers hire seven gunslingers to protect them from a small army of bandits.

Yul Brynner is full of attitude n terrific as the leader of the seven. Steve McQueen really shines as the right-hand man. Charlie Bronson in his leanest physique wearing a stylish full sleeves tshirt n denim shirt. James Coburn is cool but very deadly with his knife than guns. His body language speaking louder than any of his lines. Robert Vaughn as the man who loves to live life king size n who's fightin his inner demons. Brad Dexter is the big muscular guy with a good sense of humour. And then there is Eli Wallach as the bandit leader. Watch out for Wallach's statement on generosity. The film has a lot of great scenes involving the action and shootouts that is engaging to watch. The Magnificent Seven is not complete without mentioning Elmer Bernstein's legendary score.
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Top drawer production
Poseidon-325 April 2003
What could have been a fairly routine western is lifted into the realm of classic thanks to some smart casting, sturdy direction and a rousing music score. A reworking of Akira Kurosawa's "Seven Samurai", the story concerns a Mexican village which is constantly pillaged by bandit Wallach and his small army of followers. Three of the villagers hire a mix of gunslingers to come back to protect and defend the town and rid it of the oppressors. Brynner leads the group (seven in total, hence the title) as they teach the farmers how to use a gun and prepare the town for the eventual onslaught from Wallach. The already tough odds are lengthened when some of the villagers begin to lose faith in the power of the seven. Brynner is solid in the lead role (though, unfortunately, his later role in "Westworld" adds an odd shading to his character here.) He, McQueen and Coburn define the word cool as they go about their various exploits before and after they join forces. McQueen and Coburn are men of few words, but of fierce actions when necessary. Bronson (rather young and handsome, though still a little craggy looking) does his best with a pretty mushy storyline involving the youth of the village. Buchholz overacts feverishly as a determined, but inexperienced youth. Vaughn seems a tad out of place and has one major ham moment during a nightmare. Dexter (easily the most often forgotten member of the group) has a few moments, but his character is not particularly defined. Wallach excels in the showy role of the chief bandit. His brash performance is a great counterpoint to the more steely and solemn title gunmen. The villagers come off as hapless and pitiful, for the most part. Along the way, there are several memorable vignettes that showcase the charm of the actors involved. The casting director did an almost miraculous job of using known stars and picking supporting actors who would soon be just as big so that the film now has virtually an all-star cast. The biggest shot in the arm of all is the monumental score by Elmer Bernstein. The instantly recognizable title music is just one of the many great pieces he created for the film. The sometimes laconic story is carried a long way by his score. The concept of disparate characters being brought together for a common cause has been done many times, but rarely with this level of quality. It's sometimes hard to believe that the film was made in 1960 as its look, content and cast make it seem like a later film. It was definitely a touchstone in the development of the western film.
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A relic of a bygone era, and a good one at that...
mentalcritic2 October 2004
Based somewhat faithfully on the Akira Kurosawa classic Shichinin no samurai, The Magnificent Seven could be mistaken for just another of the many Westerns that were turned out in Hollywood during this era. But there is a certain something that keeps The Magnificent Seven unique. Part of it is the concept borrowed from the earlier Japanese film, but some of it lies in the attitude of the seven mercenaries referred to in the title.

Much is made here of the difference between fighting for money, fighting for justice, or fighting for a future. While this version of Kurosawa's epic contains all the philosophical leanings of the original, it isn't nearly as long-winded or languid. The downside to this is that it isn't nearly as moody or powerful. In fact, one can easily see the difference between American and foreign cinema simply by comparing Shichinin no samurai with The Magnificent Seven. One is incredibly dark and downbeat most of the time. The other mostly has a score that is so major it wouldn't sound out of place in Seven Brides For Seven Brothers.

Differences in feeling aside, the ultimate question is whether this version of the story manages to entertain. The hardest challenge any film faces is keeping the audience amused while all the exposition is laid out. Here, the exposition is kept to a minimum while carefully inserted between some fast-paced, albeit very mild action sequences.

Sometimes, the dialogue ("We deal in lead, friend.") gets incredibly stilted. Sometimes, it seems incredibly wise. Well, since we have examples of films where it's all stilted, all the time, we can forgive this one. The film also includes several textbook examples of how to include a sudden plot element without seeming contrived. When we learn why Calvera's men just won't go away, it needs no setup simply because it is consistent with their behaviour throughout the rest of the film.

In the end, The Magnificent Seven comes off as an excellent remake of a masterpiece. There are better Westerns out there, and there are better action films, but there aren't many. I gave it a nine out of ten. Go in expecting to be entertained, but little more, and you cannot go wrong.
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A brilliant classic, beautifully scored, shot and acted.
Rich B13 September 2002
A wonderful classic beautifully scored and shot.

There are so many moody looks between characters, and little movements or idiosyncrasies that just make each of the gunmen seem so real. Apparently, there were big egos behind the camera that caused these acts of showmanship, but unlike most films where the egos clash, here they just build the characters up without harming them.

Yul Brynner and Steve McQueen are just wonderful, and James Coburn and Charles Bronson both put in equal performances. There's just nothing about this film that you can fault, the script is kept light when required and the stunning score lifts up and the acting is huge but never too much. This is a must see…again and again.
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Mexican peasants hire an American gunslinger to organize the defense their village against brutal bandit Calvera
ma-cortes15 November 2013
This is the original from known series formed by four "Magnificent Seven" movies . This classic ¨Magnificent seven¨ is well played Yul Brynner as a tough gunslinger named Chris who along with Steve McQueen , and their group set off in rescue some Mexican villagers . One day a bandit called Calvera (Elli Wallach) comes and takes most of crops and foods from a Mexican village , then the oppressed Mexican peasant villagers assemble seven gunfighters to help defend their homes . They set out to look for Chris, the leader of The Seven for help . Chris is decided to take a group and strike a blow against the Mexican bandits . Chris also meets Vin (Steve McQueen) and both of whom reunite a motley group . They find four other men (Robert Vaughn , Brad Dexter , James Coburn , Charles Bronson) and along with the young unexperienced Chico (Horst Buchhold) set out to carry out their mission . As Chris and his buddies , each of whom comes for a different reason , must free a Mexican village attacked by nasty outlaws who are devastating the small location . All of them get a chance to redeem themselves . Later on , the group develops a plan to secure the villagers defend it against enemy attack .

Chris character was compellingly played by Yul Brynner in two occasions and one performed by Lee Van Cleef and George Kennedy . Brynner as a two-fisted pistolero is very good ; in fact , it was Yul Brynner who approached producer Walter Mirisch with the idea of doing a Western adaptation of Akira Kurosawa's classic, The seven Samurais. However , in the sequel ¨The Return of the Magnificent Seven¨ Yul insisted he would only make this film if Steve McQueen was not involved , McQueen felt the plot was too absurd and for this, and other reasons, was not interested anyway . The story is classic and traditional , following its interesting premise in subsequent sequels , including customary misfit band formed by an eclectic gang with diverse characters as well as speciality . The film gets action Western , exciting riding, shootouts , it's fun and entertaining , although nothing new , being a remake from a famous Japanese picture , but displays a slight style . The movie contains some moment of violence and even touching on the relationships between the villagers and the Magnificent . Walter Bernstein did the original adaptation of Akira Kurosawa's film , The seven Samurais , but it wasn't used ; Walter Newman wrote the screenplay that is substantially what you see on screen. Very good support cast, including notorious actors playing The Magnificent , as Robert Vaughn recommended his old schoolmate and friend James Coburn for the role. Although George Peppard was first considered for the role of Vin and Gene Wilder also auditioned. Sterling Hayden and John Ireland were originally supposed to play the knife expert, Britt. There appears several Mexican actors such as Rosenda Monteros , Enrique Lucero , Jorge Martinez Hoyos , Alex Montoya and usual Western players , such as Robert J. Wilke , Val Avery and Whit Bissell . Breathtaking and memorable musical score by Elmer Berstein ; Elmer , whose score for this movie is one of the best-known ever composed, also wrote the soundtrack for the parody of this film, 'Three amigos'. Even the great composer John Williams was a member of the orchestra that recorded Elmer Bernstein's score; he played the piano . Appropriate as well as glowing cinematography by expert cameraman Charles Lang . Being filmed on location in Cuernavaca, Morelos, Tepoztlan , Durango, Churubusco , Mexico . However , the sequel was shot in Almeria , Spain ; is among the many reasons were the difficulties that occurred between the American filmmakers and the Mexican crew and government censors during the shooting of the first film ; even Mexican censors required the peasants to always be wearing clean clothes.

This is a superior and enduringly popular film , this ¨The magnificent seven¨( John Sturges,1960) is equally remake of ¨The seven samurais¨ (Akira Kurosawa) . After that , followed ¨The return of the seven¨(Burt Kennedy,1966), again with Yul Brynner with other surviving members of The Seven as Jordan Christopher , Claude Akins , Robert Fuller , Julian Mateos , Emilio Fernandez , Rodolfo Acosta . It was followed by ¨Guns of the magnificent seven¨ (Paul Wendkos,1969) with George Kennedy as Chris , James Whitmore , Monte Markham , Reni Santoni , Bernie Casey and Joe Don Baker and finally ¨The Magnificent seven ride¨ by George McCowan with Lee Van Cleef as Chris , James B. Sikking , Ralph Waite , William Lucking , and continued with a TV series and a Television movie realized in 1998 , being also produced by Walter Mirish , as usual . The motion picture was stunningly directed directed by John Sturges . This good Western is a Yul Brynner vehicle , if you like his particular performance ,you'll enjoy this one .
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A Great Western!!
AbeStreet11 April 2003
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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A classic all right
Philby-311 July 2004
Re-make are seldom as good as the original, but here Hollywood or rather John Sturges managed to capture some of the spirit of Kurosawa's 'Seven Samurai' which itself owes something to the 'Three Musketeers' and which Sturges duly acknowledged in the credits. Partly this is due to some inspired casting. With the exception of Yul Brynner, none of the actors was particularly well known at the time. Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, James Coburn, Robert Vaughn, Eli Wallach and Horst Buchholz (an unlikely Mexican) all went on to successful acting careers. The format of this film was replicated in many later films.

The plot couldn't be simpler. Desperate Mexican villagers, bled white by local bandits, retain a group of almost equally desperate gunslingers from the other side of the Rio Grand to deal with the bandits. A lot of the fun arises early on as leader Cajun Chris seeks out half a dozen suitably deranged but deadly types for the job. Ostensibly they are doing it for the money but it becomes apparent early on that they are really on the team just for the hell of it. Once they are together things don't quite go to plan, but the camaraderie holds up, and their mission is accomplished, though at considerable cost.

Despite all the action it is a character-driven piece in some ways. Eli Wallach's Calvera the bandit leader is more than a cardboard cut-out villain and Yul Brynner's enigmatic Chris keeps us guessing. The villagers, despite their matching white smocks, are not all lily-white and each of the Seven has at least one interesting weakness.

A strong feature of the film is the music, penned by the ubiquitous Elmer Bernstein, and entirely appropriate, with a main theme which seems to be permanently welded into my brain.

'The Magnificent Seven' was made at a time when the appetite for westerns was going into decline. Whereas westerns were staple film and TV fare in the 50's, the sixties saw a sharp decline, as spy dramas and sex farces burgeoned. One interesting theory I've heard about this is that it's not so much that the audience tired of westerns, but that TV executives discovered that they were being watched by the people too poor to buy their sponsor's fine products. Anyway this film holds up very well after 45 years, a true classic and satisfying to watch.
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So Beloved, Starting With The Title
worldsofdarkblue30 June 2007
The Magnificent Seven. So descriptive of what we are about to see; so much honor, dignity and anticipation in those three words. I remember the first time vividly, though some forty-five years ago. I'd come in at the end of it, and the final battle was underway. There was Brynner, trapped against doors that would not give way for his retreat, and here comes a shouting, hard-riding comrade to his rescue - doomed to be the first who would fall. Astonishing intensity of gunfire and a limping Steve McQueen thrusts himself into the fray. Next, a vested, gloved gunman rounds a corner, stops, spies movement inside a house, coolly holsters his gun, kicks open the door and engages three men in a swift, deadly gunfight. Ten minutes later it was all over but my passion had been stoked. It would be a long, long time before I would again miss an airing of The Mag 7 from it's beginning.

Chris, the leader: Of course it's easy to see now that the King and Chris were the two roles Yul Brynner was born to play. They belong to him alone (so far no actor has been able to improve them). As the first of the seven he brought the aura of absolute authority needed for the role of a man who would be universally respected and obeyed by other men who were his martial equal. Though at times he is typically stiff and larger than life in this performance, he does come across at other moments as relaxed and dry-humoured.

Calvera, the adversary: Eli Wallach gives a wonderful performance as the menacing, yet wise-cracking bandit boss with a delightfully cynical view of life. Though he is appropriately menacing, you just can't keep from smiling as he expounds his experience of robbing "one little bank" in Texas.

Vin, the cowboy-come-gunfighter: Steve McQueen gives the most natural performance of them all. He truly never seems to be acting; rather, he seems to actually be the character. His every movement, gesture and facial expression look uncannily genuine. A very, very cool screen persona.

O'Reilly, the professional: Though the odds are stacked against, this is nothing new for him. He has faced and won against even more intimidating odds. Several times. Charles Bronson plays the part as ... well, as Charles Bronson. Plain and simply, you don't fool with this guy. To say O'Reilly is a loner is a massive understatement. Who better to play him than the "friendless" Bronson?

Lee, the hider: Revealed as having 'lost his nerve' I related to Lee in a truthful way as I could not really relate to the other heroes (except in my fantasies). On the commentary track of the DVD James Coburn advises that when actors invariably discuss who would play what part in a remake, most choose the role of Lee for themselves. Reviewers have noted that the brooding and darkness evident in Seven Samurai is largely absent from this adaptation but it is Lee who brings a little of it to this film. In his introductory scene the music takes an ominous tone. It signals clearly that there is something a little "off" about this character. South-eastern accented - Georgia or the Carolinas, he is educated, stylish and a very fast gun, probably arrogantly so in his past. The character is perhaps stylistically modeled on the real-life Doc Holiday. Fascinatingly different, he remains ever in the background, has little contact with the rest. There are two small instances that reveal the depth of his desperation late in the film: A villager says 'only the dead are without fear'. At that moment there comes into his eyes a look of profound realization as the answer in those words dawns on him. Later, as he quietly prepares to leave the village, he rifles his pocket to find nothing there. You can see in him that he knows too well the emptiness of his chosen life. Robert Vaughn was an adroit casting choice.

Britt, the perfectionist: Terrific part for James Coburn and he acknowledges that he wanted this one badly. He also relates in the commentary that the part was given to him in a last-minute decision. How significant was Britt of the seven? As Coburn says "everyone remembers the guy with the knife". He was so right for the part - lanky, stern faced and growl-voiced. There's nothing very mysterious about Britt. He simply loves the challenge of the fight and revels in his own prowess

Harry Luck, the scoundrel: The least interesting of the seven and I also sense that he would lose in a gunfight against any of the others. Brad Dexter does his best with the part, and he's good, but the depth of character just wasn't there to elevate him to the stardom the others came to enjoy.

Chico, the rookie: Despising his origins he dresses like a quintessential gringo gunfighter. He is determined to live what he believes to be the romantic life of the fast gun. Horst Bucholtz, new to American audiences, really runs with the part. He does an outstanding job at bringing a frenetic energy to the role of the youngest of the seven who wants badly to prove himself to them. In the final battle he is tireless - racing, leaping, killing with abandon. Bucholtz never really topped this role in his career.

The movie has a lot going for it, not the least of which is Elmer Bernstein's scoring of every scene, some superb cinematography (the crossing of the stream by the seven, the ride of the bandits through the village - really beautiful stuff), and the adept staging of some key scenes - for example, the first face off between Chris and Calvera. Absolutely gripping.

As a film it's far from perfect but I'm giving it a 10 anyway. How can I not? I watched it twenty seven times and that was before I got the DVD.
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The Price Of Corn
slokes11 August 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Growing up in the 1970s, "The Magnificent Seven" was the kind of movie you respected even without seeing it. "I'll be Vin!" "I'll be Chris!" "I'll be the guy Charles Bronson plays!" You weren't quick, and you'd be stuck with Harry Luck.

So speaking as the Harry Luck guy, I can't see what the fuss was about.

The film introduces us to a Mexican village being robbed of its corn by the cruel bandito Calvera (Eli Wallach). A trio of villagers reach out out to gunslinger Chris Adams (Yul Brynner) for help. He assembles six like-minded killers for hire, and the seven put themselves on the line to protect the village.

"I promise you we'll all teach him something about the price of corn," Chris vows.

Because "The Magnificent Seven" joins Brynner with such 1960s luminaries as Steve McQueen (Vin), Charles Bronson (Bernardo), James Coburn (Britt), and Robert Vaughn (Lee), I think "The Magnificent Seven" is given more credit than it deserves. For one thing, director John Sturges ignores all of them in favor of Horst Buchholz as an impetuous Mexican who overplays every scene he's in. For another, the film never realistically offers reasons for why its characters lay their lives on the line.

The idea of these gunmen joining forces to protect a village is a good set-up. I never saw "The Seven Samurai" and can't complain about a rip-off like other user reviews here. "Star Wars" and "A Fistful Of Dollars" are great movies that took their plots from the same Japanese director, so the idea isn't wrong on its own. I just wish "The Magnificent Seven" did more with the material.

Spatial reality goes by the boards every time there's a gunfight, people shooting and being killed completely independent of one another. Sturges in combat scenes played to what his audience wanted (stars shooting guns and bad guys falling, until the end when it's the other way around) regardless of what made sense.

McQueen sticks out for his laconic dialogue and his willingness to wear a pink shirt. He and Coburn are big film heroes of mine, and both are well presented. "You lose", Coburn says at one point, his lean frame all the authority he needs to sell the idea that it really does make sense bringing a knife to a gunfight. Bronson likewise shines in a more challenging role, having to nursemaid three badly-dubbed Mexican boys.

Sturges needed more time than he used to develop Vaughn's less steady character, as well as Brad Dexter's role of Harry Luck, a golddigger who never fits into the narrative. Like Glenn Erickson, a.k.a. "DVD Savant", said in his otherwise admiring review of the film, it's like he plays a 1940s character in a 1960 film. Most fatally, too much time is spent on Buchholz's Chico character, annoying not because of Buchholz's weakness as an actor but because of the way the character is written. When he confronts Chris and the gang in a bar, you just know he's going to knock over a row of whiskey jiggers before he does, because of the obvious way the scene is set up.

SPOILERS - Why Calvera lets the Magnificent Seven ride off with their guns is one of those questions that makes clear this is a film focused on star-making over common sense. Also, as Damarates noted in his March 2007 review, why do Chris and the rest of the Seven put themselves out for a village that obviously betrayed them? When you think of it, Calvera is the only halfway decent character in the movie, giving his opponents the (unmerited) benefit of the doubt - SPOILERS END

Not a good movie, except for those with memories of how it was when you were kids, this movie was fresh in your hearts, and you weren't stuck playing Harry Luck.
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shes_dead12 February 2006
Warning: Spoilers
For such a well-respected classic I was quite miffed by the last twenty minutes or so. Firstly, Calvera had the Seven exactly where he wanted them but didn't even harm them, even after they had killed 10 of his men. What did he think they we're going to do after he gave them back their guns? The Seven then abuse Calvera's good will and sneakily wage another attack - a rather cowardly approach!

There are the terrible death scenes throughout this film. I never knew what a terrible actor Robert Vaughn was until I watched this and his death is so cheesy I cringed. Bronson's death is equally ridiculous as he actually poses before he gets shot. Yul Brynners God-like ability to dodge bullets without even moving is unexplainable, particularly when Brad Dexter storms in for a pointless heroic 'rescue' and is shot immediately.

Other blunders are blood stains on the backs of characters who were actually shot in the chest and axes and knives that were not only obviously stuck to the actors already and kept out of shot, but also wobbled like rubber when the actors fell down dead!

When the final battle ends the original two - Brynner and McQueen - ride away, in a worse position than what they started in. It's quite a depressing ending, despite the contradictory upbeat music.

I greatly enjoyed the early scenes where Brynner and McQueen ride the hearse through town, and the recruitment process. Unfortunately after that my interest dwindled. I guess I can see why people like this, but its reputation is far greater than the film itself.
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Two faced in the best possible way
Tealspark17 August 2005
"The Magnificent Seven" does indeed show its age in its classic score and stunt choreography. What stands the test of time, and beats out most other films of its genre, is the inherent wit and skill in the script, and the charisma of the cast, and the direction each were given. Said cast, though large, manages to develop each character with gravity. Even characters with generally few lines, like Bronson's Bernardo and Vaughn's Lee, are given purpose and emotional clout within the film as a whole. To top that sentiment off, each character fills a larger than life "Dude, you are awesome" cowboy ideal that has made this a testosterone legacy, but not one character is impervious to the dangers of plot, morals, and life in general; A common failing in action films.

Being a fan of the Japanese original, I can say that the contrast between the two is not merely a cultural one. One difference from the start is the Seven Samurai's setting allowed for an exploration of guns vs. swords as a metaphor for the changing times in Japan. Magnificent Seven's setting had the trick of guns being common in the time period of America, and so the focus is shifted on why those guns are used, and by whom. My father told me seeing this as a kid was the first time he ever saw his gunfighter idols discuss, with varying degrees of levity, why they are who they are, and what kind of life it really would be. That's another example of this movie having just that little bit extra: It simultaneously tears down the cowboy ideal, while still providing the western with some of the best characters to ever ride out on it.

When I want to listen to great dialogue, in softer speeches or sharper spitfire banter, I can watch Magnificent Seven. When I want good old fashioned good guys vs. bad action? Magnificent Seven. When I want to laugh at a goober like Chico? Yeah, you guessed it. It's good for careful consideration of implications, as well as simply basking in old school macho cool. Take it for what you will, but it can be taken as quite a lot.
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"Fought Like Seven Hundred" - Fought On Set
panavision-112 April 2006
This Film Is Great, What a Cast, the last of the great American westerns,Before Clint Eastwood Reprised them in the spaghetti Westerns.

The Magnificent Seven, taken off the Japanese Film "The Seven Samurai" However There was a lot more fighting off Camera than On.

Yul Brynner who arranged to Purchase the Japanese Film Rights to remake the film in partnership with Anthony Quinn, had a fall out with Quinn who sued in A Los Angeles Court over the producer credits, amongst scriptwriter Walter Newman,

During the time of filming this motion Picture there was an Actors Strike threatening to close Hollywood, over blacklisting communist witch-hunters, However due to the Actors already Signing a deal before the strike deadline, the film was commissioned and filmed in Mexico away from USA Strikers.

A Mexican Female Censor was brought in as not to denegrate the Mexican actors, one instance was The Mexican Cast were to have Clean Shirts and not to appear as peasants with grey torn pathetic costumes as portrayed in most westerns.

Actor Steve McQueen also had numerous clashes with Producer and Lead Actor Yul Brynner over stealing the scenes, If one watches the film you can see Actor Steve McQueen Occasionally take his hat off and play with it while Yul Says His Lines, This was Mcqueens way of distracting the audience off Yul while the cameras Rolled, Apparently Yul Did Not Realize this was going on until half the film was shot, and warned Mcqueen not to ad-lib his movements again or he was Out of the Picture,

This warning came directly after the last scenes were shot which appeared very early in the Picture where both Yul Brynner and Steve McQueen appear side by side in the Coral Apprehensive of the Funeral Wagon, you will see Steve Mqueen Play And Move With his Hat, Make Unscripted facial movements and stretch and fidget and so on Behind YUL.

This was one of the Last Times Mqueen Did this, However you Will See Yul Brynner Turn To Steve Mcqueen as he catches McQueen from the corner of his eye, during the Funeral Wagon scenes, this was left in the Picture, amongst other scenes of McQueen Doing The same Thing.

Steve McQueen also shot a live round towards a stagehand in the second floor window who was moving the Curtains, unbeknowns to anybody on set, this almost stopped the Picture, McQueen was also quoted by fellow actor Robert Vaughan " McQueen constantly raved and whined about Yul Brynner having a bigger Horse, and a Bigger Gun, and made many attempts to Take the action and lead role off Yul Brynner, saying that a Mongolian Born bald Brooklyn man trying to play cowboy would look silly and the Picture would be a flop" nonetheless too much film had already been shot and only Days remained to complete The Picture.

Yul Brynner also Announced his Marriage on set and the Crew and Film Company threw a Mexican Fiesta for The Couple which was used and edited into the Film portraying The Arrival to The Magnificent Seven into The Mexican Town In The Picture.

It Was Reported Actor Steve Mcqueen did not want anything to do with Yul's Wedding Party and Resented the attention Yul Brynner was getting over the Celebration and Hung Out In One Of The Saloon Sets On The Picture and was not seen again until casting call returned.

Also Actor Eli Wallach Was Repeatedly asked to put his gun in his holster without looking at his gun by the director, after numerous tries failing to do so, it was left in the film that Eli Wallach as the Bandido Gang Leader would place his gun while looking for the holster on his hip.
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chaswe-2840228 March 2018
Astonished at this film's low rating on this website. Almost all reviewers trot out the mantra that this is a remake. So was Hamlet. But Hamlet was better than its predecessors. And so was this film. Perfectly directed, perfect script, perfectly performed. Splendid score. Exciting and engaging in every respect. Philosophical. Its only flaw was that both the principal heroes survived. Also, Buchholz was faintly annoying. The direction, otherwise and in particular, was superb, almost balletic, especially in the composition of its scenes, and the movements of the actors. Great film. Undated. Haven't seen many better. Worth re-watching many times. Made stars of all its actors, except for Brad. This review isn't meant to be helpful
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Magnificent characters!
monabassil12 December 2001
With a cast like Yul Brynner as Chris Adams, Eli Wallach as the bandito Calvera, Steve McQueen as Vin, and Charles Bronson as Bernardo O'Reilly, this movie is guaranteed to please the audience. Directed by John Sturges, it is, I believe, the only American Western that paved the way for the Spaghetti genre. The intense violence, the macho presence of the 7, the quasi absence of any female lead, and especially the setting (a Mexican pueblo!) were definitely not ingredients of the romantic American Western.

And for this alone the film deserves some recognition, for being ahead of its time, so to speak. The basic plot is not particularly intense: a Mexican town is constantly being robbed of its crop by 40 banditos, led by Calvera. When 3 of the inhabitants decide to rebel, they head to an American town, initially to buy guns. They end up hiring 7 men who decide to support their cause for various individual reasons, but definitely not for the low pay!

This Western is not a classic because of the action scenes (which were not that spectacular) but because it focuses on the characters. Each man learns something of value from this mission, and each of them has a haunting past, though we are never told the details. Chris and Vin are lonely drifters and invincible gunmen with moral principles and a dash of compassion. For instance, in the beginning of the film, they team up to give a Native American a decent burial in a little town's cemetery, despite the locals' strong opposition. Chris, after siding with the 3 Mexicans's cause, takes the initiative of finding the right men for the job. Bernardo O'Reilly is half-Mexican half-Irish, and he's the one who has a special relationship with the kids of the Mexican village. He is good with the rifle, but doesn't fail to give the children a good lecture on the responsibilities of their fathers. Lee (Robert Vaughn), is a fugitive and is always dressed elegantly, even during combat. I liked Britt's character's best. Played by James Coburn, he is really fast both with a gun and with a knife. Look out for the first scene when we're introduced to his character, where an insisting gunman keeps on provoking him until he gets what he asked for. Never in that scene does Britt lose his cool, taking small ‘naps' in between provocations. It's a real laugh, that scene! Actually, the first part of the movie, where we are gradually introduced to each of the 7 men, is the best part. Harry (Brad Dexter), is a strange character; the only reason he goes for the job is that he is convinced, for some reason, that there is gold mine near the Mexican village. Throughout his conversations with the villagers, he keeps on referring to the mine, much to their perplexity and much to Chris' amusement. Then there is Chico (Horst Buchholz), a young, persistent, and proud gunslinger wannabe. He is the only one of the 7 to ‘win' in the end, as he decides to settle down with a woman in the village. Other interesting characters were that of Calvera and of the village's Old Man (played by Vladimir Sokoloff). Calvera is a proud bandito who keeps his word (surprisingly!), and the Old Man is a wise, courageous, and respected figure in the village. `You hear that, Sotero? Do you hear what he said?..Ride on!..To ME!' (Calvera) `Only the farmers have won. They are like the land itself; you helped rid them of Calvera the way a strong wind help rid them of locusts. You're like the wind blowing over the land and passing on…Vayan con Dios!' (Old Man) Another feature that makes this a memorable movie is of course Elmer Bernstein's score, which was used for many years in TV cigarette ads.

The best line, which poignantly illustrates the drifter's eternal loneliness, comes at the end of the movie when Chris tells Vin that "The Old Man was right. Only the farmers have won. We lost. We always lose..."
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Forty-five years old and Still Entertaining and Moving!
HawaiiJay25 September 2005
Sometimes you just want to read a review by a regular guy who is not pretending to be a professional movie critic. Forget about comparisons of this movie to its story-line inspirational predecessor. (Aren't most movies a reinterpretation of some story already told before?)

At first, "The Magnificent Seven" seems to be simple: good guys versus bad guys. As the story unfolds, the audience learns that not all good guys are good all the time, and that not all bad guys are bad all the time. There are many references to the duplicity of all men--how the "good" guys and "bad" guys are similar in many ways. It is the complicated human condition that makes the viewer empathize with both sides. In the end, each character gets what they deserve--in the big scheme of things. This is very satisfying viewing for the audience.

Watch this movie for still being entertaining and moving after forty-five years; for its strong individual characters by "tough guy" actors when they were young; for the AMAZING iconic score which captures the once free-spirit of the American West; for just being a good and satisfying movie.
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Essential Viewing For McQueen, Western Fans
jhclues17 September 2000
Warning: Spoilers
**Possible Spoilers** There's something romantic, even heroic, in the notion of taking a stand against overwhelming odds for the sake of an ideal, or a principle; in `The Magnificent Seven,' directed by John Sturges, it's to save a poor Mexican village from a small army of bandits. Every year, as soon as the crops are in, Calvera (Eli Wallach) and his men raid the village for the food that will sustain them as they winter in the mountains. And every year they take a little more, leaving the villagers near to starvation. They want to fight back, but they are simple farmers; no match for the likes of Calvera. When they fear they cannot survive another winter on the pittance he leaves them, they decide to take action. If they are unable to defend themselves, they will hire men to do it for them. Men with guns. And toward that end, everything of value in the village is collected (not much more than a watch and some trinkets) to be offered as payment to anyone who will champion their cause. Three men from the village set out to find the men they need, and after witnessing an altercation in a small Texas border town, they think they have the man they want. Chris (Yul Brynner) is a drifter, a man who lives by his wits. And by his gun. They approach him, and when he hears what they have to offer, he accepts. `I've been paid a lot for my work,' he tells them, `But never everything.' Now he must find other men, like himself, to stand with him against Calvera. The first is Vin (Steve McQueen), also a drifter, and looking for work. Chris knows what he can do, how he handles a gun; Vin sided with him during the incident in town. Bernardo (Charles Bronson), is good with a rifle. Fallen on hard times, the pay offered (the cost of bullets, and meals) `Right now, sounds like a lot.' The dapper Lee (Robert Vaughn), is a fast gun, and currently on the run; Britt (James Coburn), the best anywhere with a gun or a knife; Harry (Brad Dexter), a good man, but always looking for an angle. He knows Chris, and takes the job convinced that there's more in it for them than he's letting on, probably gold; finally, there's Chico (Horst Buchholz), a young wanna-be gunslinger who refuses to leave Chris alone until he agrees to take him along. The all-star cast and outstanding performances highlight this film, most notably the iconoclastic McQueen, Wallach, Vaughn and especially Coburn, who brings a commanding presence to the screen with the cool, laconic Britt. One of the most memorable scenes involves Britt, when he is challenged to a mock duel (with targets) by a cowboy named Wallace (Robert J. Wilke); Wallace's gun against Britt's knife. When Wallace thinks he's won, Britt simply says, `You lost.' And they do it again; this time, for real. The supporting cast includes Jorge Martinez de Hoyos (Hilario), Vladimir Sokoloff (Old Man), Rosenda Monteros (Petra) and Rico Alaniz (Sotero). An updated version of `The Seven Samurai,' `The Magnificent Seven' has all the elements of the traditional western, but it is so much more. It's a character study of men as individuals; not outlaws, but hard men, drawn together by a common bond, and who live by a variation of the same code. Their first loyalty is to themselves, and to their word; and to the autonomy that ensures they will live, and die, on their own terms. This movie may lack the gritty realism of some of the more recent films, but with it's stellar cast, the instantly recognizable Elmer Bernstein theme, and the way it was packaged and delivered by Sturges, it will forever hold a place at the top in the history of the Western Film. I rate this one 10/10.
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Seven Samurai, this film is not...
film-critic18 August 2009
It is a hard order to fill if you want to revision Akira Kurosawa set within an American western using a hodgepodge of ethnic actors. Not only are you attempting to recreate the same symbolic references and deep moral elements of an already established cult classic, but there are so many other outside elements that may be harder to control than simply samurai's saving a small village. None the less, director John Sturges tried, and the final result was the abysmal "The Magnificent Seven". Not to plot my course to early, but being a large fan of Kurosawa's masterpiece, I had to put that aside and see this film for what it was – what Sturges envisioned – instead of just making comparison after comparison. With sloppy characters, lacking detail, American-ized natives, and a grossly unoriginal villain – this 1960 classic is only memorable for a couple of key performances and an energetic score. Outside of that, Sturges uttered blasphemy on Kurosawa's work.

Again, I said I wouldn't compare the two works – so every attempt will be made not to. There were high hopes for "The Magnificent Seven", a family favorite film that has somehow slipped through my viewing time, but the moment this film began my attention began to fade. With a weak opening, and a lackluster retrieval of heroes to protect the village, "The Magnificent Seven" came out of the gates with a mere gallop, and eventually didn't even finish the race. As mentioned, our villain has these long monologues of corruption and greed, but when it comes down to it, Calvera didn't have the true evil gene. He was corrupt, but it was only skin deep. Outside of the typical ransacking of small villages, his character demonstrated no true evil – albeit with a PG rating, what could he do – but I don't believe Calvera could strike fear in any child today. Eli Wallach is to blame for this. Yet, he wasn't the only one dragging his feet. This film was bombarded by lackluster acting. Yul Brynner, the obvious lead, seemed to sputter his lines without a moment of emotion or spirit. His pathetic portrayal of Chris Adams, the main cowboy hired to protect, fell flat and was boring to the average viewer. That same description could also be used for most of those that he recruited (what is the saying, flies attract flies?), sans Steve McQueen. As a fan of McQueen's work, I was impressed by the way he picked up the lacking flag of the others. While he didn't provide much to each scene, he was interesting to watch, obviously caring more about the overall performance than Brynner did. Unlike Kurosawa's epic, this didn't focus as much on the men of the mission, just that they could be there to attack whoever descended onto the village. There was no individual character development, and when there was (see: Robert Vaughn's nightmare) it was rushed and ill-focused. Whereas in "Samurai" we felt something for each of the heroes, in this – nobody seemed to have the courage to stand forward and introduce themselves to us.

I must admit – this film was boring. From the introduction, to the recruiting, all the way to the repeat battle – "The Magnificent Seven" provided little-to-no entertainment. With no character to stand behind, it was left up to the action to drive the focus, but alas, this seemed to fall short as well. I can agree that there were some decent moments that spoke for the western genre, but nothing challenging. Evil riders would ride in, gunshots would smoke, people would fall, and finally there would be celebration. Thinking about it now, it felt as if Sturges was providing us a cheapened Cliff-Notes version of the original tale. With a running time of a mere 128 minutes, there is no way you could capture the intensity and drama behind Kurosawa's original 203 minute epic. Again, not to compare side by side – but what made the original work was the characters, the story, the intensity that Kurosawa was able to push through your television set. "The Magnificent Seven" felt like a rushed Hollywood project that had big stars, but no heart.

Overall, I really wanted to like this film. The cast itself sells this movie, but as a viewer of cinema, it just seemed like a poorly constructed feature. Hollywood was attempting to make a dime on Kurosawa's original idea, and it failed. I cannot watch this movie again, nor would I. The acting is atrocious, the story is choppy, and there was no real threat. The idea that these villagers could survive year after year of this attack forced me to believe that perhaps Calvera wasn't robbing them blind. We weren't given enough history of the violence prior to the introduction of our heroes. This just felt rushed from the beginning, but remained dull after seeing the sheer brilliance of "Seven Samurai". Watch this, if you must, for the music and McQueen, everything else is pure rubbish.

Grade: * ½ out of *****
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let's remember harry
ldoyon0115 June 2009
Warning: Spoilers
first of all let's get to Horst Buchholz, he was a young German actor who John Sturges thought'd be a star. Because of that he got a lot of choice lines. Two, each character gets his own moment in the sun, with a speech. Vaughn, about his fears, Bronson, about the weight of responsibility, Coburn, about his code of honor and what he will tolerate, McQueen, about a hope and a dream, Buchholz, his own frustration and self hatred, Brynner, his knowing it's not the amount being paid but the value put on it. Last but not least, my favorite character, Harry Luck, as played by Brad Dexter. Harry's the one looking for an angle. His part although small is interesting for the many facets of his character. His practicality is measured by the fact he wants to split when he feels the odds are too steep. His sense of loyalty which is a contrast illustrated by his final scenes. For Harry it's a constant battle, he's a mercenary but there's a knight wanting to come out, as evidenced by his death scene. As for Wallach, his fatal mistake is attaching his own values to the seven, which is in a way combining his intelligence and ego.
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The Best Western Ever!
kwhite-5301018 December 2017
Some may disagree with me but for my money this is the best western ever made. The dialogue, the music, the scenery and the outstanding cast and direction all come together in perfect alignment. It is a movie I have watched many many times since first seeing it at a very early age. Needless to say, I am a huge, huge Yul Brynner fan.
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Right now $20 is a lot of money.
Spikeopath5 April 2009
A vile bandit constantly raids a small Mexican village and pilfers what he so wants. Finally having enough, and not wanting to relocate, the villagers set about recruiting some hired guns to finally rid themselves of the dastardly Calvera.

As most people now know, The Magnificent Seven is of course a remake of Akira Kurosawa's immense and hugely influential picture, Shichinin no samurai. Adhering closely to Kurosawa's themes, director John Sturges has crafted a classic in its own right, one that has become something of a Bank Holiday staple for TV schedulers. When you break it down for scrutiny, the story is purely a very ordinary one, but as each archetype character and set up arrives, it becomes evident that it's a story rich in texture, framed marvellously in a Western setting.

Sturges for sure knew how to direct ensemble casts, he would after all go on to direct the fantastic 1963, ultimate holiday movie, The Great Escape. Here he is excellently served by a faultless cast, tho Yul Brynner was the only major name of note, the likes of Steve McQueen {owning the movie}, Charles Bronson, Robert Vaughn and James Coburn would go on to become part of cinematic macho culture, with each actor vying for the right to own the movie proving to be a bonus trump card for this rousing and much loved picture. Even the score has slipped nicely into popular culture, Elmer Bernstein's music having now become recognisable to even the most youthful of movie fans ears.

Unashamedly macho, but certainly delightful for the female viewers, The Magnificent Seven is an across the board delight for almost everyone who enjoys the escapism of film. Perhaps the last word should rest with Kurosawa himself, who after viewing John Sturges' picture was moved to present him with a Samurai Sword in recognition of the great film he had crafted, enough said there I feel. 9/10
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