Magnificent Seven

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Magnificent Seven: Heroes for Hire

Mar 5, 2001
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review
  • User Rating: Excellent

  • Action Factor:

Pros:Great assembly of superstars to be, Charles Bronson, Steve McQueen, James Coburn, and Robert Vaughn

Cons:Cheesy sound effects.

The Bottom Line: Old pro Yul Brynner manages to be the focal point despite a whole bunch of up-and-coming talent. See this.


Plot Details: This opinion reveals major details about the movie's plot.

The Magnificent Seven (1960)

Action director John Sturges anticipated the spaghetti Western by quite a few years with this action favorite. With its instantly recognizable Elmer Bernstein score, The Magnificent Seven has remained popular with young and old alike.

The opening credits reveal that the movie is based on The Seven Samurai by Akiro Kurasawa, but it comes across as a landmark Western despite its Eastern roots.

The story is classic Good vs. Evil, with evil being personified by bandido Calvera (Eli Wallach) and his forty thieves. The film opens with the bandits looting a peaceful agrarian village, as they have many times in the past. After the bandits depart, the village elders discuss what to do. The consensus is to ask the old man. The old man is over eighty, he is the oldest man in the area and well respected for his sage advice. He tells them to sell all their possessions, go to the border, and use the money to buy guns. He contributes a gold watch to the enterprise.

Three villagers set off to buy the guns. When they arrive in the border town they are just in time to see Chris (Yul Brynner) and Vin (Steve McQueen) perform a heroic act. Later, they contact Chris and inform him of their plans. Chris suggests they hire gunmen instead of buying guns which are more expensive. He is the first of the seven who will go to the aid of the sleepy Mexican village. He sets out to recruit a handful more...

The Magnificent Seven features a virtual whoís who of the future stars of the sixties and seventies, including Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, James Coburn, Robert Vaughn, and of course, old pro Yul Brynner. All except Brynner were unknown at the time. Within a few short years, Steve McQueen, Coburn, and Bronson would team with John Sturges and Elmer Bernstein again for the blockbuster The Great Escape, which moved all of them well on their way towards superstardom. For that reason alone, the film is well worth seeing. But, there is more...

Yul Brynner and Eli Wallach were accomplished actors and gave gravity to the roles of the leaders of the respective factions. The supporting actors all had their personal quirks, just as normal people do. Bronsonís character Bernardo loved children. James Coburn played an expert with gun or knife, Britt. Robert Vaughn played a gambler who had lost his nerve. Horst Bucholtz played the young man Chico, who wanted to prove himself to Chris. All of these characters are true to life and make this film much more than a bang-bang shoot-em-up.

The script was also excellent, with Robert Vaughn musing "The ultimate irony ... me, a deserter, hiding in the middle of the battlefield." Yul Brynner telling the Mexican peasants who offered all they had, "Iíve worked for a lot before, but never for all." Steve McQueen telling the bandit leader, "We deal in lead, friend." These are only a few examples of the lively dialog that carries the action along. The Elmer Bernstein score will remind anybody over 30 of the Marlboro commercials of the Ď60s.

As a minor con, the sound effects were a trifle cheesy, with guns sounding like they do in all spaghetti Westerns. But I can live with that, especially with the two major gunbattles that take place between the Seven (and villagers) and the Bandidos.

For fans of action movies, I can heartily recommend director John Sturgesí The Gunfight at OK Corral, McQ, and The Great Escape. In addition to Gunfight Western fans will like The Cowboys, Big Jake, Tombstone, Red River, The Searchers, and They Died With Their Boots On.


Recommend this product? Yes


Viewing Format: VHS
Video Occasion: Fit for Friday Evening


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