The Magnificent Seven

Directed by John Sturges
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The Independent Culture

The Magnificent Seven is a 1960 western film about a group of hired gunmen protecting a Mexican village from bandits. It is based on Akira Kurosawa's 1954 film, Seven Samurai.



A Mexican village is periodically raided by bandits led by Calvera. As he and his men ride away from their latest visit, Calvera promises to return. Desperate, the village leaders travel to a border town to buy guns to defend themselves. They approach a veteran gunslinger, Chris. He tells them guns alone will not do them any good; they are farmers, not fighters. They ask him to lead them and he recruits seven men. Upon reaching the village, they begin training the residents. As they work together, the gunmen and villagers begin to bond. Calvera returns and after a brief exchange, the bandits are chased away. The seven make a surprise raid on the bandit camp but find it empty. Returning, they are ambushed by Calvera's men, who have taken over the village. Their lives are spared, as Calvera fears revenge if the Americans are killed; they are disarmed and escorted out of the village. The seven decide they are not going to run, and head back to the village for a final showdown.



Director

John Sturges

Writer

William Roberts

Cast

Yul Brynner … Chris Adams

Steve McQueen … Vin

Charles Bronson … Bernardo O'Reilly

James Coburn … Britt

Horst Buchholz … Chico

Brad Dexter … Harry Luck

Robert Vaughn … Lee

Eli Wallach … Calvera

Rosenda Monteros … Petra

Whit Bissell … Undertaker

Vladimir Sokoloff … "Old Man"

Jorge Martínez de Hoyos … Hilario

Rico Alaniz … Sotero

Natividad Vacío … Miguel



Trivia

  • James Coburn (Britt) and Robert Vaughn (Lee) have only 11 and 16 lines in the entire film respectively. Although they were close friends for almost fifty years, this is their only film together.
  • Steve McQueen wanted to act in this film but couldn't at first because the schedule of his TV series, "Wanted: Dead or Alive" (1958), wouldn't allow it. He crashed a car and while he was "out sick", he shot this film.
  • Yul Brynner was concerned to make sure he always appeared substantially taller than Steve McQueen, to the point of making a little mound of earth and standing on it in all their shots together. McQueen, for his part, casually kicked at the mound every time he passed by it.

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