The Magnificent Seven (1960)
Updated: Oct 16, 2022
Plot Summary: A gang of bandits led by Calvera (Eli Wallach) periodically raids a poor Mexican village for food and supplies. After the latest raid, during which Calvera kills a villager, the village leaders decide they have had enough.On the advice of the village elder (Vladimir Sokoloff), they decide to fight back. Taking their few objects of value, three villagers ride to a town just inside the United States border hoping to barter for weapons. They are impressed by Chris Adams (Yul Brynner), a veteran gunslinger, and approach him for advice. Chris suggests they instead hire gunfighters to defend the village, as "men are cheaper than guns." At first agreeing only to help them recruit, Chris eventually decides to lead the group. Despite the meager pay offered, he finds five willing gunmen. At a time when gunslinging days are reaching an end, Adams helps recruit a band of men each with their own reason for taking on what appears to be a lost cause.
Yul Brynner as Chris Adams, Leader of the Seven
Steve McQueen as Vin Tanner, a Drifter
Charles Bronson as Bernardo O'Reilly, A Professional in Need of Money
Robert Vaughn as Lee, the Traumatized Veteran Deserter
Brad Dexter as Harry Luck, the Fortune Seeker
James Coburn as Britt, the Knife Expert
Horst Buchholz as Chico, the Young, Hot-Blooded Rebel
Eli Wallach as Calvera, the bandit chief
Vladimir Sokoloff as the old man
Jorge Martínez de Hoyos as Hilario
Rosenda Monteros as Petra
Rico Alaniz as Sotero
Pepe Hern as Tomás
Natividad Vacío as Miguel
A 2013 National Film Registry Inductee
It is the second most shown film in U.S. television history, behind only The Wizard of Oz.
The film is also ranked No. 79 on the AFI's list of American cinema's 100 most-thrilling films.
Akira Kurosawa, for his part, was reportedly so impressed by the film that he presented John Sturges with a sword.
Did You Know:
It was Yul Brynner who approached producer Walter Mirisch with the idea of doing a Western adaptation of Akira Kurosawa's classic, "Seven Samurai (1954)."
Yul Brynner had a major say in casting decisions, including the decision to cast Steve McQueen. He specifically requested that McQueen be cast as Vin Tanner. Brynner later regretted the move since he and McQueen developed a disastrous relationship on set.
According to Eli Wallach's autobiography, Yul Brynner had a major problem with what he perceived as Steve McQueen's trying to upstage him. According to Wallach, McQueen would do things when on screen with Brynner to draw attention to his character. Examples were his shaking of the shotgun shells and taking off his hat to check the sun during the hearse scene and leaning off his horse to dip his hat in the river when the Seven cross into Mexico. Brynner was supposedly so worried about McQueen stealing his limelight in scenes that he hired an assistant to count the number of times McQueen touched his own hat when he [Brynner] was speaking.
Yul Brynner (5'10") was concerned to make sure he always appeared substantially taller than Steve McQueen (5'9-1/2"), 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.
The oneupmanship between Yul Brynner and Steve McQueen spread to the other actors, and they all started pulling stunts of their own in order to get the audience's attention. While a lot of the attention-hogging did make it into the finished film, John Sturges was terrified by how quickly he lost control of his cast.
In later years, Yul Brynner and Steve McQueen reconciled. McQueen, dying of cancer, called Brynner to thank him. "What for?" queried Brynner. "You coulda had me kicked off the movie when I rattled you," replied McQueen, "but you let me stay and that picture made me, so thanks". Brynner told him, "I am the king and you are the rebel prince: every bit as royal . . . and dangerous to cross." McQueen said, "I had to make it up with Yul 'cause without him I wouldn't have been in that picture."
The horse that Yul Brynner was riding was Pie, the same one that James Stewart rode in all or most of his westerns. It was found while researching Stewart's horse.
Composer John Williams was a member of the orchestra that recorded Elmer Bernstein's score; he played the piano.
Pay close attention to Eli Wallach whenever he handles his gun. Whenever he puts the gun back into his holster, he always looks down at it. That was because Wallach wasn't used to drawing the weapon and didn't want to look foolish by missing the holster while putting his gun back, as Wallach would admit in the DVD Documentary.
What is this movie is about?/Elevator Pitch: Adaptation of Seven Samurai about a bullied Mexican village that hires gunmen to protect it.
Best Performance: Elmer Bernstein (Composer)/Yul Brynner (Chris Adams)
Best Secondary Performance: Charles Bronson (Bernardo)/Horst Buchholz (Chico)
Most Charismatic Award: Eli Wallach (Calvera)/
Britt Wins the Duel
Chris, Vin, and the Hearse
Calvera gets the Drop
Three Scout Party
Chico can't Clap
Bernardo bonds with the Kids
Favorite Scene: Chris, Vin, and the Hearse/Final Gunfight
Most Indelible Moment: Final Gunfight/Calvera Gets the Drop
In Memorium: Olympia Dukakis, 89, American actress (Moonstruck, Steel Magnolias, Tales of the City, Mr. Hollands Opus), Oscar winner - Best Supporting Actress (1988 - Moonstruck)
Best Lines/Funniest Lines:
Calvera: You came back...to a place like this....a man like you?
Chris Adams: I've been offered a lot for my work, but never everything.
Britt: Nobody throws me my own guns and says run. Nobody.
Vin: Fella I once knew in El Paso, one day he took all his clothes off and jumped in a mess of cactus. I asked him the same question, why? He said it seemed to be a good idea at the time.
The Old Man: Don't worry. Why would he kill me? Bullets cost money.
Vin: Reminds me of that fella back home who fell off a ten-story building. As he was falling, people on each floor kept hearing him say, "So far, so good." Heh, so far, so good.
Hilario: Very young and very proud.
Chris: Well, the graveyards are full of boys who were very young and very proud.
Bernardo O'Reilly: Don't you ever say that again about your fathers, because they are not cowards! You think I'm brave because I carry a gun? Well, your fathers are much braver, because they carry responsibility - for you, your brothers, your sisters, and your mothers. And this responsibility is like a-a big rock that weighs a ton. It bends and it twists them until finally it buries them under the ground...I have never had this kind of courage. Running a farm, working like a mule every day with no guarantee what will ever come of it... this is bravery. That's why I never started anything like that. That's why I never will.
Miguel: There's one! Look at all the scars on his face!
Hilario: The man for us is the one who gave him that face.
Chris Adams: Hey, you learn fast.
The Stanley Rubric:
Audience Score: 8.85 (90% Google, 87% RT)