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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on November 9, 2006
John Sturges acquires a reputation as a solid director of superior Westerns filled with tense action scenes such as: "Escape From Fort Bravo," "Bad Day at Black Rock," "Backlash," "Gunfight At The O.K. Corral," "The Law and Jack Wade," "The Last Train From Gun Hill," "Sergeant Three," "The Hallelujah Trail," and one of the best of all Wyatt Earp movies, "Hour of the Gun."

He succeeds in one of the most exhilarating opening sequences of all Western movies, when he had McQueen and Brynner riding a hearse up legendary Boot Hill creating a mood and peril that never allow the slightest degree of viewer confusion or ennui... For Sturges, the West is a man's world, and his cool, hard, detached style, emphasizing action, excitement and the rugged environment of the frontier, endorses the point...

"The Magnificent Seven" is derived from Kurosawa's superb "The Seven Samurai," a compelling tale of intimidated and impoverished medieval villagers hiring mercenary warriors to repel bandit ravages... The villagers in this case are Mexicans, plagued beyond all bearing by the activities of bandit Calavera, who always leaves them on tortillas and few beans... Three of them cross the border to offer meager pay and sustenance for any professionally skilled fighting men who will aid them...

Yul Brynner is the man, dressed in black, with the luminous dome and the hypnotic Mongolian eyes who portrays the distinctive Chris Adams leader of the seven hired gunmen hired to chase some 'flies from a little Mexican village.'

Eli Wallach is memorable as Calvera, chief of the ruthless outlaws... He is greedy and merciless terrorizing without pity the poor peasants...

Steve McQueen gives a standout performance as the sardonic gunman ('We deal in lead, friend'), carrying appealing ease and sense of humor to his role as Vin, Brynner's first recruit and second-in-command...

Charles Bronson portrays Bernardo O'Reilly, who explains his curious name to Chris, with 'Mexican on one side, Irish on the other--and me in the middle!' Bronson, the strongest face in Western, and with a bit of Mexican in him--cunning face, steady eyes, revealing voice--the character of Bernardo O'Reilly suits him perfectly... This half-breed gunfighter becomes the conscience of the team... Because of his tender paternal instincts, he is adopted by three children who promise him, in case he falls, to bring him, every day, fresh flowers...

Robert Vaughn--who was to do nicely on TV in "The Man from Uncle" spy spoof-- plays Lee, the 'good gun' with black gloves and nightmares, living in style with no enemies alive...

Brad Dexter plays Harry Luck, Brynner's happy friend who returns to join the team convinced of the existence of a large amount of hidden gold...

James Coburn makes a big impression as Britt, the expert gunman who can out-draw a gun with his knife-throwing... His looks and vague figure of violence are quite a response for his few talks...

Horst Bucholz represents youth, eagerness, and the urge to be proved and sorted out from the boys... He was caught on the road by Rosenda Monteros...

Robert J. Wilke is Britt's insisting challenger who swells the ranks of the villains in many Westerns like "High Noon," "The Far Country," and "Man of the West."

The Magnificent Seven's success spawned three sequels: "Return of the Seven" (again starring Yul Brynner), "Guns of the Magnificent Seven" and, last and least of all, "The Magnificent Seven Ride."

With a terrific Oscar-Nominated Musical Score by Elmer Bernstein, "The Magnificent Seven" remains a richly enjoyable Western, shot on location in Morelos state, Mexico...
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on October 13, 2005
An isolated Mexican village is periodically raided by a gang of bandits who take the farmers produce, and anything else of any value they can find, leaving the poor peasants just enough to survive on. At the end of their tether, the villagers pool their meager resources in the hope that they can cross the border and buy some guns to defend themselves. Instead, they wind up with seven hired gunmen.

THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN is a Hollywood classic and arguably the best movie to come out of the western genre. Beneath the struggle of "good guys" versus "bad guys" are deeper issues involving the relationship of the gunmen to the poor villagers they undertake to defend and the motivations of the gunmen themselves. Beyond the story itself, the characters are played by an all-star cast, the script is littered with classic one-liners, the color and scenery are brilliant, and the musical score by Elmer Bernstein is one of filmdom's most memorable. In short, you simply can't go wrong here.

Even if you're not particularly a fan of westerns, this is a classic movie and one that anyone who appreciates great movies will want to have. It's a worthy addition to any movie collection, and at this price it's a classic bargain. I've got a copy. Be sure to get yours. I recommend it most highly.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
'The Magnificent Seven' was, is and will always be the standard by which all other Westerns are judged. Every word, every gesture, every camera angle has been orchestrated to achieve the maximum cinematic experience. Speaking of orchestration, thanks to the musical genius of Elmer Bernstein it also possesses one of the best motion picture soundtracks ever!

So many classic lines:
"I'm trying to show him how little religion some people now have." "That I can see for myself."
"You elected?' "No, but I got nominated pretty good."
"It's not getting there that bothers me. Staying there is what I mind."
"I've been offered alot for my work, but never everything."
"The graveyards are full of boys who were very young and very proud."
"He's a good gun and we aren't heading for a church social."
"Come on now lets see how fast you are and no games,
no clapping hands, none of that stuff. Just draw."
"Once there was a time when I would've caught all three."
"Nobody throws me my own guns and tells me to run. Nobody."
"Go ahead Lee, you don't owe anything to anybody." "Accept to myself."
"What's my name?" "Bernardo!" "Bernardo!" "Damn right."

Buy It! - Watch It! - Enjoy It!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on May 31, 2004
This is a superbly remastered and restored film, It comes with some brilliant extras including original trailers and more interestingly a documentary on the film named "Guns For Hire".
If you are a fan of the actors in this classic you'll love the doco which shows what they went on to do and includes some interviews showing the actors today and telling how Yul Brynner brought this tale to life.
For Steve McQueen fans you get a little insight into how he tries to steal every scene he appears in.
The film is a great telling of an adventurous story based on the Toho studios film "The Seven Samurai".
The commentary features actors James Coburn, Eli Wallach, producer Walter Mirisch & Ass Director Rob Reylea. It covers many interesting stories from a set which saw several stars of the time and even the wedding of Yul Brynner.
Worth a viewing.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on December 18, 2001
A genuine cinematic classic, The Magnificent Seven is one of the most enjoyable westerns ever to hit the screen and the stellar cast on board just make it shine ! As most any cinema fan knows, TMS was based on Akira Kurosawa's landmark "The Seven Samurai", albeit with a shift in setting from feudal Japan to Mexico of the old west...and six guns replacing samurai swords.
This excellent release on DVD hosts a plethora of extra features with an accompanying documentary and commentary by dapper James Coburn and western bad guy Eli Wallach ( After Wallach's cold blooded portrayal of bandit leader Calvera in TMS, Sergio Leone cast him a couple of years later as the cunning gunman Tuco in "The Good, The Bad & The Ugly". Prior to making TMS, Wallach had never ridden a horse in his life ! )
Director John Sturges showed why he is a class act at well paced dramas with his great directorial style on TMS, and Elmer Bernstein's oh so catchy signature score falls right in line with the mood of the script. Bryner & McQueen are outstanding as Chris and Vin, (love that opening sequence with the hearse and a panicky Whit Bissell ) with dynamic support from a youthful Charles Bronson, nervy Robert Vaughn, knife throwing James Coburn, money hungry Brad Dexter and the hot headed farmer-turned-gunslinger Horst Bucholz !!
Fans of this movie will NOT be dissapointed with this fantastic offering on DVD and it's behind the scenes look at it's stars and their stories. Add this one to your collection today.....
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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on December 2, 2005
"The Magnificent Seven" will never qualify as one of the most meaningful westerns ever made, but it is a great deal of fun, and seems to get better with every passing year - thanks largely to its terrific cast (has there ever been any other movie with such cool screen icons as Yul Brynner and Steve McQueen?), John Sturges' snappy direction and that wonderful music score from Elmer Bernstein.

This movie is a take off on the Akira Kurosawa classic "Seven Samurai", which was rooted in Japan's feudal past and the clash between lowly farmers and samurai warriors. Working with the essentials from Kurosawa's film - of seven warriors coming together to defend a village of farmers from a group of bandits - Sturges fashioned a western that contained some of the most obvious cliches of the genre and yet overcame them, thanks to the fast-paced script and the sheer charisma of the cast.

No one has looked better in black in a western than Yul Brynner, and McQueen's turn is yet another epitome of cool.

This new two-disc collector's edition could technically be called a double dip, but it promises a new transfer from a high-definition master

Disc 1 has the main feature in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen with a Dolby Digital 5.1 surround track as well as the original mono. There are also two audio commentary tracks, one with actors James Coburn, Eli Wallach and others while the other has film historian Christopher Frayling, better known for his commentary tracks on Clint Eastwood's "man with no name" series.

Disc 2 has the "Guns for Hire - The Making of The Magnificent Seven" documentary that featured on the earlier DVD release as well as the "Christopher Frayling on The Magnificent Seven" featurette. There is also the "Elmer Bernstein and The Magnificent Seven" featurette and what sounds like a little treat - "The Lines Book: Lost Images from The Magnificent Seven" featurette. Rounding out Disc 2 is a photo gallery.

The package also includes a 12-page making-of booklet.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on May 29, 2003
I first saw this film about 20 years ago as a teenager and I still find it as enjoyable now as I did then. It is the tale of seven gunfighters who are hired by a poor Mexican farming community to help drive off the bandits who periodically show up and steal the communities food and goods. Of the Magnificent Seven most of the screen time is given to Chris (Brynner), Vin (McQueen) and Chico (Bucholz). While no details are given about the individual pasts of the Magnificent Seven it is fairly clear what there pasts may have been.
1. Chris: A leader, perhaps a former soldier, who has encountered danger before and gained a degree of mastery over his emotions in dangerous situation.
2. Vin: A capable man with a gun, perhaps a one time cowboy. He seems to be comfortable working as a loner but clearly would like to one day settle down.
3. Chico: The youngest of the Seven and most inexperienced. He wants to shed his farming past and attempts through acts of bravado to persuade others and himself that he is a gunfighter at heart.
4. Bernardo (Bronson): A strong solitary man that in many ways resembles Chris although not displaying the desire to lead. In many ways he is the most interesting character. He has made quite a bit of money in the past even though he is now broke. The attention he gives to the local village children and the gift he gives a village girl hint at the idea that while he is good at gunfighting he knows that it is a good family life that is important.
5. Lee (Vaughn): The most difficult character to relate to. He appears to be a gunman who in the past was cocky, arrogant and self assured but now after experiencing life on the run now doubts himself. He wants to do the right thing but finds it difficult to step up to the plate when it's his turn.
6. Britt (Coburn): A loner who is unequaled in a gun or knife fight. A man whose motives remain his own.
7. Harry (Dexter): A good man to have in a fight but one who lets greed cloud his every decision. It would seem that Harry is one of those individuals who is always one step away from gaining riches but somehow never gains them.
The leader of the bandits is Calvera (Walsh) who is not an unlikeable fellow. He appears to believe that it is his job to steal so that he can support himself and his men. For him it is only a job, not unlike the farmers who work the land to provide for their families. He has what can almost be describes as a code of ethics for those who make their living with guns. This code of ethics is evident in the way he treats the Magnificent Seven towards the end of the film. However, given the films ending, this code does not seem to be shared by the Magnificent Seven
While many people may view this film as a western action film I think there is quite a bit of underlying humanity and character depth woven into the story. It is these underlying characteristics that distinguish it from the average western action flick and have helped to make this film as popular as it is.
The DVD offers what every DVD should, a commentary with both some of the actors and some of the production staff. A behind the scenes documentary and two trailers. While some may find the picture not that great I found it be a great improvement over the VHS widescreen version I purchased earlier on VHS. Lastly,during the past 7 months 3 more of the Magnifecent Seven have died. The only two remaining are Robert Vaughn (Lee) and Charles Bronson (Bernardo). Eli Walsh (Calvera) is also still alive. Fans of both the Magnifect Seven and James Coburn, who died last November, will appreciate his participation in the documentary and commentary.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on September 2, 2004
Contrary to Horton's statement in his lack-lustre review of this film, one of the major factors that makes it one of the greatest and most seminal Westerns is precisely its sense of style. Many of the scenes seem to be choreographed, almost like ballet, with the actors performing stylized movements, in set pieces, reminiscent of Eisenstein's films. Heads move in unison, or in sequence; the actors are carefully placed in the framework; they move almost like dancers, so that the whole film has a rhythmic, formal quality which, imho, makes it almost unique, and especially memorable. Many of the scenes are unforgettably iconic: Bronson chopping wood; Robert Vaughn catching his one fly, and sliding down with his mouth against the adobe wall; Brynner coming from nowhere, back there, and heading nowhere, forward. The dialogue is also admirably laconic: "the worst"; "haw, haw, haw"; "you lost"; "no enemies --- alive"; "Florrie won't believe this"; "time was I'd have caught all three"; "the farmers always win". As remarked in the very interesting special features section, the themes are timeless, and given outstanding expression in this drama. The world divides into farmers and cowboys, classic and romantic, ancient and modern; winners and losers. Romance = death and loss; the plodding peasant survives, and carries on. Like Bronson says, it may be braver to accept responsibility, and carry the burden. I have to agree, however, with the reviewer who noted that the Buchholz character is incredibly irritating, throughout. Still, in a way this flaw somehow makes the rest of the ensemble even better.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on September 2, 2003
This classic Western features an able cast headed by Yul Brenner, and featuring Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, and James Coburn. In contrast with the popular gunslinger westerns of the day, this film instead casts the role of desperado in a negative light. These seven men are among the best in the business, and yet they are forced to take a job where they put their lives on the line for next to nothing. Everywhere they go they are feared and respected, yet they find themselves envying the simple farmers they are hired to defend, because at least the farmers have something to fight for.

In what is perhaps one of the most sobering scenes in any western, Christ (Brenner), Vin (McQueen), and the others sit around discussing what has become of their lives, and what sort of lives they are forced to live as a result of their dangerous lifestyle. Instead of admiring these men, the viewer is forced to almost PITY them. In the end, when all is said and done, Chris takes stock of what has happened. The seven are victorious, but, as Chris says, "We all lose." They always lose, and all that is left to do is ride off into the sunset. Alone.

This is a classic western, both for the powerful message and for the simple charisma of a good old-fashioned shoot-em-up.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon April 23, 2007
First-rate film, it easily makes my list of the Top 10 westerns. Here are a few points to ponder:

"The Magnificent Seven's" score by Elmer Bernstein received a 1960 Oscar nomination but the award that year went to "Exodus"; which "featured" something called "The Exodus Song" (with lyrics by Pat Boone!!). 45+ years later there is not even a CD release of "Exodus" while the score from "The Magnificent Seven" is one of the most recognized pieces of music ever written. If anyone needs proof of the staggering lameness of academy voting this is the most obvious of countless examples.

The score was further popularized in the late 1960's as the theme for Marlboro cigarettes. An odd bit of irony given that Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen, and Jorge Martinez de Hoyos all died of lung cancer; Horst Buchholz and Charles Bronson of pneumonia, and Brad Dexter of emphysema.

In the film, only two (Brynner and McQueen) of the seven leave the village alive (Buchholz survives but stays behind). In real life these two actors were the first to die, preceding the others by about 20 years.

The other four deaths (only Robert Vaughn is still alive) occurred over just a nine-month period (James Coburn in Nov 02, Brad Dexter in Dec 02, Horst Buchholz in March 03, and Charles Bronson in Aug 03).

Then again, what do I know? I'm only a child.
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