About a year ago, I decided that my knowledge of the Western genre was poor and I was interested in increasing the classic Westerns that I had seen. That led me to watch films such as the “Dollars” trilogy, The Searchers, and The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. That still left a ton of iconic movies on the list to see. Picking the first Western during the DailyView was easy. I saw the remake, but I had never seen the original, The Magnificent Seven from 1960.
The Magnificent Seven is a remake of sorts of Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai. A small village of farmers go out looking for help against a group of marauding thieves, led by Calvera (Eli Wallach) who demand the villagers hand over their food and goods every season. The villagers find gun-for-hire Chris Adams (Yul Brynner), who wrangles up a crew of six other gunfighters to help defend the village.
Along with Brynner, the Magnificent Seven consisted of Steve McQueen, Horst Buchholz, Charles Bronson, Robert Vaughn, James Coburn and Brad Dexter.
The cast was one of the best ever assembled for a Western and is the strength of the movie. Each character is allowed some time for development, but with as large of a regular cast as this had, screen time was going to always be limited. We got especially strong work from Brynner, McQueen and Bronson.
As with most Westerns, the setting is vitally important and director John Sturges does a wonderful job with the shots of the land. The action sequences are good too, keeping the violence to the appropriate moments and making it impactful when it arrived.
Elmer Bernstein’s music was one of the standout parts of the film. He received an Oscar nomination for the score, losing eventually to Ernest Gold’s Exodus.
The Magnificent Seven is one of the great Westerns of all time and this was a lot of fun to watch. The cast was fantastic and the action was full of Western goodness.