The Magnificent Seven
More About The Magnificent Seven
John Sturges's remake of Akira Kurosawa's 1954 classic THE SEVEN SAMURAI has become an influential film in its own right. A small Mexican village that makes involuntary donations of its harvest to a gang of bandits led by Calvera (Eli Wallach) decides to hire a group of professional gunmen, headed by gunslinger-for-hire Chris (Yul Brynner), to protect them. Despite the meager pay, Chris and Vin (Steve McQueen) sign on after the Mexicans see them confront some racist thugs. As they ride to the village, Chris picks up some other gunmen, including Bernardo (Charles Bronson), Lee (Robert Vaughan), Britt (James Coburn), Harry (Brad Dexter), and aspiring gunslinger Chico (Horst Buchholz). The Mexicans, who are at first ambivalent about having gunmen hanging around their town, finally let down their guard and allow their visitors to teach them how to shoot and how to reconfigure the town to defend against Calvera. When the bandits return, they find harvesting the crops a little more challenging. This rousing, perfectly cast action film launched the careers of Bronson, McQueen, and Coburn. It also benefits tremendously from the unforgettably polyrhythmic score by Elmer Bernstein, among the most famous in film history. So popular was the film's theme that it was used to sell Marlboro cigarettes for years afterward.
Main Cast & Crew
John Sturges - Director
A band of marauding outlaws periodically pillages a poor Mexican town, angering its helpless inhabitants. In response, the frightened villagers hire a team of seven desperadoes to defend them--and to teach them how to defend themselves. THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN is one of the finest Westerns to ever come out of Hollywood, featuring some of the same cast that starred in THE GREAT ESCAPE.
Shooting location: Mexico. Yul Brynner's grandiosity was such that he had written into his contract a clause stiplulating that no cast member could come closer to him than 10 feet while they were not shooting. Brynner got married during production, on the village square set. Apparently he let his wife come within 10 feet. Steve McQueen wanted the film part so badly that he crashed his car to get out of a commitment to his TV series WANTED: DEAD OR ALIVE. The film played only a week in its original release but was a hit in Europe. James Coburn claimed to have seen the Kurosawa version 12 times in 12 days. Akira Kurosawa reportedly loved this remake. John Alonso, a bit player as one of the villagers, would go on to become director of photography on such films as BLUE THUNDER and CHINATOWN.
"...The film is fun to watch..." - 03/14/1994 USA Today, p.3D
"...Hugely popular..." - 09/01/2001 Sight and Sound, p.58
5 stars out of 5 -- "Brynner dominates, while the screenplay questions the nature of true heroism." - 05/01/2006 Uncut, p.150
4 stars out of 5 -- "It remains one of the most entertaining movies in the genre, as Hollywood alpha males Charles Bronson, Steve McQueen, Yul Brynner, James Colburn and Robert Vaughn crank up the charisma..." - 10/01/2010 Total Film