The Magnificent Seven is one of the best Westerns, if not the best Western ever made. This film was directed by John Sturges and it starred Yul Brynner, Charles Bronson, and one of my favorites, Steve McQueen. This film is an Americanization of the famous Japanese movie known as the Seven Samurai. The Magnificent Seven was released in 1960, and I chose this movie because movies today revolve around computer generated images and it's hard to find a movie that's well directed with an all-star cast like this. Too many people around my age don't even know who Steve McQueen is, he's been in so many great movies like the Great Escape, Bullet, not to mention his TV show Wanted: Dead or Alive.
The Magnificent Seven is about a Mexican village of farmers who are terrorized by a gang of bandits who take whatever they want, and leave the villagers with minimal food. The villagers are sick of growing all of their crops and having the bandits come and take almost all of it. The villagers ask the elder what they should do and he tells them to get guns and fight back. A couple of the villagers go to America to get guns, but realize that it's smarter to hire gun slingers who know how to use guns so that they can help defend the village and teach some of the villagers how to use guns. The villagers witness a classic Western battle in the movies sub story, which gets them to ask Chris (Yul Brynner) for help and he helps gather the rest of the men and assemble the Magnificent Seven. It's up to them to help defend the town from the 40 bandits who rob the hard working villagers.
This movie has amazing shots, great music, and as I said before an all-star cast. John Sturges did an an outstanding job and that's why this movie is considered one of the best films ever made. I wouldn't want to sit in the director's chair for this movie because it's such a masterpiece I can't see anyone doing it any justice trying to change it in any way. I don't say that very often, because I'm an aspiring filmmaker.
This is a serious movie with some light humor, but it fits like a glove in this brilliantly written movie. This movie covers prejudice topics and stereotypes that were accurate for the setting of the movie. The movie has a great message, to stand up for what's right and the passion to do it because of the morality behind it not necessarily for some type of monetary reward. I have to give credit to the Seven Samurai, because without that film this one wouldn't have ever happened. I will have to add the Seven Samurai to my Netflix list.
Here's a quote of when the villagers ask the old man for advice on what to do about the gang of bandits terrorizing them.
Hilario: Even if we had the guns, we know how to plant and grow, we don't know how to kill.
Old Man: Then learn, or die!
Old Man: Then learn, or die!
Here's a quote of the leading Bandit talking to one of the Magnificent Seven about the villagers.
Calvera: If God didn't want them sheared, he would not have made them sheep.
I definitely recommend this movie to anyone who loves a well written action movie with great actors and good message. Obviously not everyone enjoys Westerns, but this isn't your average Western, it's the Western that stands alone. As much as I love Clint Eastwood's The Good The Bad And The Ugly and John Wayne's Stagecoach, I can't compare those great Westerns to this outstanding movie. If you have the patience to watch this two hour movie and enjoy the trailer below give it a shot.
Here's some interesting facts.
One thing that stands out to me is that Eli Wallach, Calvera (the bad guy), is one of the stars in another hit Western called the Good the Bad and the Ugly. I also recommend that movie if you want to see another good Western, but as I said before I believe the Magnificent Seven is a better movie overall for an audience that is not just into Westerns. Yul Brynner got married on the set and used a bunch of the props from the movie in his wedding. Yul Brynner also decided to stand on a little mound of Earth in every shot he was in with Steve McQueen, because he wanted to appear taller than McQueen and without that little mound they were only a half an inch apart. In the movie McQueen actually casually kicks the mound down every time he passes it. Steve McQueen wanted to act in this movie but his schedule for his TV show Wanted: Dead or Alive wouldn't allow him to do so, so while he was "out sick" from a car accident he shot this film. Yul Brynner also had a problem with McQueen, even though Yul Brynner is the one who recommended that they have McQueen in the movie. Brynner was worried that McQueen was upstaging him in the movie, when Brynner and McQueen were together on screen McQueen did things such as shaking shotgun shells or taking off his hat off to check the sun to draw attention to his character. Yul Brynner became so worried that he hired an assistant to count how many times McQueen touched his hat while Brynner was speaking, the body count was 55. One of the best-known scores ever composed was in the Magnificent Seven and was composed by Elmer Bernstein, who ironically also did a score for the parody of this film, the Three Amigos.
It's been an honor reviewing one of the best films ever made, and I appreciate this film a lot more now that I'm older and studying filmmaking. This is definitely a film that influenced many long after it's time, this is one of the vey first films that had a sub story at the beginning that introduced some of the characters but had nothing to do with the real story it lead into, besides introducing the villagers to the gunslingers.