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Magnificent Seven, The (1960, )

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Although Hollywood was no stranger to the idea of recycling old movies, there was something shocking about the concept of taking a classic Japanese movie and turning it into a Western. However, given that Akira Kurosawa had borrowed heavily from the Westerns of John Ford for his own movies anyway, it seems churlish to castigate John Sturges for completing the circle here. And at least this is a remake that seeks to build on the ideas of the original rather than merely duplicate them.

It’s also blessed with fine performances from the likes of STEVE MCQUEEN, CHARLES BRONSON and JAMES COBURN, all of whom went on to become some of the biggest stars of the decade. Indeed, of the magnificent seven, only BRAD DEXTER failed to subsequently live up to his billing.

With the Mexican village of Ixcatlan at the mercy of a heartless bandit, Calvera (ELI WALLACH), the desperate villagers – tired of seeing their assets repeatedly stolen – recruit seven American gunmen for protection. These mercenaries are marshalled by Chris Adams (YUL BRYNNER) with one of their main duties being to teach the locals how to fight.

A trap is set for the bandit and his men which, though partially successful, fails to break his stranglehold on the village. Although Calvera spares the gunmen’s lives and has them escorted out of the village, they all resolve to return and finish the job they’ve started. This task is no longer about professional pride but loyalty and honour towards the villagers. Boasting a legendary score by Elmer Bernstein, The Magnificent Seven is a stirring and dramatic adventure, an archetypal tale of good bonding together to defeat evil.

production details
USA | 128 minutes | 1960

Director: John Sturges
Writer: William Roberts (based on The Seven Samurai by Akira Kurosawa)

cast
Yul Brynner as Chris Adams
Eli Wallach as Calvera
Steve McQueen as Vin
Charles Bronson as Bernardo O’Reilly
Robert Vaughn as Lee
Brad Dexter as Harry Luck
James Coburn as Britt
Horst Buchholz as Chico
Jorge Martínez de Hoyos as Hilario
Vladimir Sokoloff as Old man
Rosenda Monteros as Petra
Rico Alaniz as Sotero
Pepe Hern as Tomas
Natividad Vacío as Tomas
Mario Navarro as Boy with O’Reilly
Danny Bravo as (uncredited)
John A. Alonzo as Miguel
Enrique Lucero as Villager
Alex Montoya as (uncredited)
Robert J. Wilke as Wallace
Val Avery as Henry
Whit Bissell as Chamlee
Bing Russell as Robert
Joseph Ruskin as Flynn
Victor French as Front Office Clerk
Jim Davis as Gunman at Boot Hill
José Chávez as Rafael
Valentin de Vargas as Calvera Henchman (uncredited)
Larry Duran as Calvera Henchman (uncredited)
Roberto Contreras as Villager (uncredited)

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