An oppressed Mexican peasant village hires seven gunfighters to help defend their homes.
|Title||:||The Magnificent Seven|
|Release Date||:||October 23, 1960|
|Genres||:||Action, Adventure, Western|
|Production Co.||:||The Mirisch Corporation, Alpha Productions|
|Production Countries||:||United States of America|
|Director||:||John Sturges, Jaime Contreras, Robert E. Relyea, Emilio Fernández|
|Writers||:||William Roberts, Walter Bernstein, Walter Newman|
|Casts||:||Yul Brynner, Eli Wallach, Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, Robert Vaughn, Brad Dexter, James Coburn, Horst Buchholz, Jorge Martínez de Hoyos, Vladimir Sokoloff, Rosenda Monteros, Rico Alaniz, Pepe Hern, Natividad Vacío, Mario Navarro, Danny Bravo, John A. Alonzo, Enrique Lucero, Alex Montoya, Robert J. Wilke, Val Avery, Whit Bissell, Bing Russell, Joseph Ruskin, Victor French, Jim Davis, José Chávez, Valentin de Vargas, Larry Duran, Roberto Contreras|
|Plot Keywords||:||horse, village, friendship, remake, number in title, bandit, farmer, cowboy, mexican, white man's burden, henry rifle|
The Magnificent Seven Reviews
- About as good as remakes getby 18 October 2004on
130 out of 155 people found the following review useful:
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.
- Top drawer productionby 25 April 2003on
87 out of 111 people found the following review useful:
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.
- Yul Is Cool!by 26 April 2006on
74 out of 92 people found the following review useful:
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?!
- A relic of a bygone era, and a good one at that...by 2 October 2004on
76 out of 102 people found the following review useful:
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.
- A richly enjoyable Western with a terrific Oscar-Nominated Musical Score...by 3 October 1999on
62 out of 76 people found the following review useful:
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 otherand me in the middle!' Bronson, the strongest face in Western, and with a bit of Mexican in himcunning face, steady eyes, revealing voicethe 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 Vaughnwho 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...
- Interesting differences from the Japanese versionby 14 February 2003on
45 out of 54 people found the following review useful:
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.
- Well done remake of Kurosawa's classic.by 6 July 2003on
46 out of 61 people found the following review useful:
SEVEN is one of the better Westerns to come out for the aging genre. Also, for any genre, it has much better characterization; from the cowboys, to the farmers, and even the outlaws themselves, everyone gets their own fair share of camera time to make MAGNIFICENT SEVEN a classic in its own right.
Outlaws steal from a small Mexican farming town every once in awhile. Since the authorities do nothing, the farmers enlist the aid of seven gunmen to solve their problem.
Compared to THE SEVEN SAMURAI, I would have to say MAGNIFICENT is less dark and reflective. An outlaw such as Calvera is hard to hate seeing him as a character on screen. Also, a better motive to explain why the outlaws continue their attack on the village is shown here, as opposed to Kurosawa's classic, where the raiders relentlessly never gave up, not once thinking (or admitting) the village is well fortified and they were not going to win. The scene and spirit of the old west, combined with the philosophies of the far east, have made a fine movie.
- A Great Western!!by 11 April 2003on
48 out of 65 people found the following review useful:
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.
- A classic all rightby 11 July 2004on
48 out of 66 people found the following review useful:
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.
- A brilliant classic, beautifully scored, shot and acted.by 13 September 2002on
41 out of 53 people found the following review useful:
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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