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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 18.92%
Average: 5.41%
Pretty Bad: 2.7%
Total Crap: 0%

1 review, 31 user ratings

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Magnificent Seven, The (1960)
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by MP Bartley

"A Defining Moment In Movies"
5 stars

'The Magnificent Seven' is a film that has set a formula that is still being followed to the day. Movies that require the assembly of a crack team of experts, old masters coming out of retirement for one last job to alleviate the boredom of their civilian life and old gunmen having to overcome their inner demons are all standard cliches now. But 'The Magnificent Seven' is a film that created these cliches.

Yes, films from Soderbergh's 'Ocean's 11' through to dreck like 'Gone In 60 Seconds' all owe a massive debt to the master of 60's action flick, John Sturges. This, alongside 'The Great Escape', is one of his indisputed masterpieces. It showcases his unparalleled ability to handle big starry casts alongside big action pieces, while retaining the humanity of the piece.

It's the simple tale of a poor village being threatened by Mexican Bandit Eli Wllach and his 40 strong army. Sick of being forced to give up their corn and freedom they pool their resources and hire seven gunfighters to protect them. The seven number:

- the leader in black, Chris (Yul Bryner)
- his righthand man, Vin (Steve McQueen)
- combustible young buck, Chico (Horst Bucholz)
- ice cool knife man, Brett (James Coburn)
- hulking Irish Mexican, Bernardo O'Reilly (Charles Bronson)
- stylish but nervy, Lee (Robert Vaughan)
- avaricious Harry Luck (Brad Dexter)

Just look at that cast. Bryner, McQueen, Coburn, Bronson and Vaughan. You just don't get that anymore. Even 'Ocean's 11' really only had the star power of Clooney and Pitt to call upon. But at the time these were the men that summed up movie cool.
Arguably, McQueen became the biggest star of them all, so it's unusual to see him playing the second fiddle to Bryner. However it's a film that gives all seven their chance in the sun, and each gets a moment to prove their worth to the team.

With a running time of two hours there's not much time for deep characterisation, so they're mostly defined by either the role they play in the group or one characteristic that defines them from everyone else. It's a slight ploy but it works, and makes you invest in their fates enough to make it genuinely sad when lives are inevitably lost.

When it comes to the action scenes they lack the visceral power of 'The Wild Bunch' say, but they're handled with aplomb by Sturges, and as above the time spent on characterisation gives them an emotional punch that resonates through to the poignant finale. Good has been upheld but at a cost.

Yes, it's obvious with some characters that they're not going to make it to the credits, and scenes detailing the recruitment of the seven or their individual moments when they prove their valour in battle, seem overly familiar now. But it should be stressed again this is a film that made them cliches. It still sets a benchmark today.

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originally posted: 07/23/02 21:45:42
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User Comments

8/23/16 Dixie Review stopped at the 7. What about the bandit leader, played wonderfully by Eli Wallach? 5 stars
3/07/10 zenny they don't make movies like this any more :singletear: 5 stars
12/20/06 R.W.Welch Whoever put this cast together should have been given an Oscar. 5 stars
1/06/06 Hank Bassett One of the best westerns ever made. 5 stars
9/29/05 SAM The Japanese original (The Seven Samurai) is also a "must see." 5 stars
9/28/04 Aaron Smith Intriguing storyline, slow start, fun to watch. 4 stars
9/22/04 discogail a rousing adventure with a great score 5 stars
7/11/04 john bale Legendary cast & music, but longwinded with standout performances by Wallach, Brynner. 4 stars
3/17/04 Da Dawg A tight-ass movie! 5 stars
2/08/04 Sara I love the lead bandit, I wish he had more lines. 4 stars
1/24/04 CC Whatch 7 Samurai.. 3 stars
1/24/04 alien assassin Absolutely awesome !!!! 5 stars
12/25/03 Sugarfoot Absoluately lovable! 5 stars
12/11/03 john a timeless classic with possibly the best tough guy cast ever assembled in a movie! 5 stars
8/31/03 I Would A very well crafted but inferior remake of the Seven Samurai. 4 stars
8/11/03 PLeaSe HeLP Me!!!! does any1 no the name of the hot mexican chick in the film 4 stars
5/17/03 Whydouwannano James Coburn is sooooo hot...................... 5 stars
5/15/03 Iamahopelessfreak I WATCH THIS MOVIE EVERY FRICKIN DAY(and i am a girl) :D 5 stars
4/09/03 Andrew Eastenegger Bronson, Yul, Coburn and Mcqueen rule in this. 5 stars
1/08/03 Seppo Great western! 5 stars
12/27/02 Dominic Liked Seven Samurai better, I know it's tough to compare 2 stars
12/27/02 Lenka Great!!! 5 stars
12/16/02 Chas I watch it once or twice a year. The best western ever. 5 stars
7/30/02 The Bomb 69 Hey Binky, I believe Kurosawa was still alive when this was made, TOOL!!! 3 stars
7/24/02 Charles Tatum Excellent, no one makes them like this anymore 5 stars
12/16/01 Mr Math If you're going to rip off a film, it doesn't hurt to rip off the Seven Samurai 5 stars
9/08/01 ARC One of the finest movies in the western genre awesome...just awesome...I'm tellin you 5 stars
7/29/01 Henry Ginsberg A true classic . 5 stars
6/28/01 Michael Goldfield Must be seen! Could be the best western ever made. What music! 5 stars
12/13/98 Binky Kurosawa would have been proud. 4 stars
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  23-Oct-1960 (PG-13)
  DVD: 10-Jan-2006

  N/A (PG)

  23-Oct-1960 (PG)

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