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Magnificent Seven
     

The Magnificent Seven

4.0 13
Director: John Sturges

Cast: Yul Brynner, Eli Wallach, Steve McQueen

 

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John Sturges' The Magnificent Seven has finally gotten the treatment that it deserves, 41 years after its original release, complete with an accompanying narration, a feature-length documentary about its making, and a bunch of trailers. The movie, now considered one of a handful of classic Westerns -- alongside John Ford's Stagecoach and My Darling

Overview

John Sturges' The Magnificent Seven has finally gotten the treatment that it deserves, 41 years after its original release, complete with an accompanying narration, a feature-length documentary about its making, and a bunch of trailers. The movie, now considered one of a handful of classic Westerns -- alongside John Ford's Stagecoach and My Darling Clementine, Fred Zinnemann's High Noon, and Howard Hawks' Rio Bravo -- was dumped on the U.S. market in 1960, closed quickly, became a massive hit overseas, and was re-released here to massive success. United Artists, still oblivious to what they had, sold it to television very quickly, then degraded the original with a series of ever-poorer sequels. It was issued at least three times on laserdisc, the first two in totally unacceptable full-screen and letterboxed editions, then one last time in an improved version from a partly restored source, with an unmixed music track (not on the DVD) and with the first sequel, Return of the Magnificent Seven, appended. This DVD makes that last laserdisc almost irrelevant, except for the presence of the unmixed music on the latter -- but even that has been made somewhat obsolete with the release of the actual soundtrack from the film (there was no soundtrack LP released in 1960). The picture is sharp and the colors rich and solid (though one suspects a full-blown restoration might look even better in that regard), and the contrasts are about all that one could hope for. The audio is a little muted, but pumps up alright and very cleanly; overall this is the best way to see the movie in 40 years. The bonus materials are as big a treat as the presentation of the movie. Eli Wallach, Walter Mirisch, James Coburn, and Robert Relyea (the assistant to director/producer Sturges) are dazzling in their recollections, and glowing in their recollections of Sturges' work, but also in their appreciation of Akira Kurosawa's The Seven Samurai, the source for this movie. It's also interesting to hear the contrast between the recollections of how the project originated here, versus the material on the documentary film that also appears on the disc -- associate producer Louis Morheim rightfully claims credit on the latter for generating the idea, though Yul Brynner also claimed for years that he had conceived of the notion. The discussion is warm, funny, and lively, and the only thing that might have made it better would be if Sturges had lived to record this track; when Sturges recorded his audio track for Criterion's laserdisc edition of The Great Escape in 1992, he expressed the fervent wish that he be asked to do one for The Magnificent Seven. And one wishes that the producers could have gotten Brad Dexter to contribute, and that there were fewer long blank stretches, though the unnarrated portions are interesting and exciting to watch. The documentary makes for good viewing on its own, and would have been worth a ten dollar bonus charge. One key element of the production that has seldom been discussed anywhere are the problems that the film ran into with the Mexican government. It was considered essential, both for verisimilitude and to avoid an impending writers' strike, that The Magnificent Seven be shot in Mexico, but Robert Aldrich's film Vera Cruz, which had been shot there (and was also a UA film), had outraged the government with what it felt was the offensive portrayal of the Mexican population. It took some serious diplomacy on the part of Sturges and the other makers of the movie -- and the presence of a censor from the government on the set to approve virtually every shot and line of dialogue -- to get The Magnificent Seven approved. The menu opens automatically on start-up, the "Special Features" section is easy to access and manipulate, the chapter markers are generous and well chosen, and the disc is accompanied by a souvenir booklet about the production.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ed Hulse
Here’s one film that truly lives up to its title, more than 40 years after it hit theater screens: The Magnificent Seven, adapted from Akira Kurosawa’s Japanese classic The Seven Samurai, extracts from one simple situation more action, suspense, and pathos than you’d expect to see in any three movies. The residents of a small Mexican village, brutalized and impoverished by outlaw raids led by cruel bandito Eli Wallach, hire seven American gunfighters to protect them. An incongruously cast Yul Brenner leads the pack of mercenaries, which includes soon-to-be-stars Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, Robert Vaughn, and James Coburn, along with Brad Dexter and German actor Horst Buchholz (another odd but inspired bit of casting). As directed by John Sturges (The Great Escape), the film becomes something much more than the sum of its straightforward setup and showdown. It’s a revealing study of the warrior ethos: The seven are paid killers, each of them obsessed with professionalism but ever mindful that their dangerous calling could result in an untimely, painful death. They don’t pass judgment on their adversaries, at first. They’re only in the village to do a job -- at first. Almost alone among classic westerns, The Magnificent Seven explores the mind-set of the gunfighter, a genre icon that still holds a powerful fascination for anyone who’s ever loved seeing a showdown at high noon. The remastered DVD Special Edition sports a new documentary on the film, along with a photo gallery, theatrical trailers, and commentaries from Eli Wallach, James Coburn, and producer Walter Mirisch.
All Movie Guide
One of the most popular Westerns of all time, John Sturges's The Magnificent Seven was based on Akira Kurosawa's 1954 epic The Seven Samurai (which was originally titled The Magnificent Seven and was, itself, a thematic descendant of the westerns of John Ford). Director-producer Sturges packed a huge amount of plot and detail into what could have been a routine western -- the opening threat to the Mexican village; the first meeting between Yul Brynner's Chris and Steve McQueen's Vin, in a tense confrontation with a group of racist thugs trying to block a funeral procession; the decision to help the villagers and the gathering of the unlikely band of heroes; the heroes' journey to the village, and their confrontation with who and what they, as gunmen, really represent to the people they're trying to help. Some of this kind of material had figured in other, earlier movies, including George Stevens's Shane, Anthony Mann's underrated The Tin Star, and Sturges's own Last Train From Gun Hill, but no one had ever put quite that much plot or character development into a single western before. Apart from Yul Brynner, who was already an established star thanks to The King And I, the cast featured a half-dozen actors who were either on the edge of stardom, such as Eli Wallach and Steve McQueen, or who would become major stars in coming years, including James Coburn, Charles Bronson, and Robert Vaughn; indeed, Sturges would re-team with McQueen, Coburn, and Bronson for 1963's The Great Escape, a film that provided a huge boost to each man's career. The Magnificent Seven was a massive hit when it was first released, and by 1966 had spawned the first of three sequels; but the cast, which grew in prominence as most of them became massive box office attractions in their own right, only made the movie seem bigger and more important as time went on, so much so that, had it not gone to television in the early 1960's, The Magnificent Seven would have been ripe for an even bigger theatrical run in, say, 1965 or 1966. As it was, a television series based on the film was finally spawned at the end of the 1990's. There were also enough parodies, and references to the movie in such media touchstones as the 1980's sitcom Cheers -- The Magnificent Seven being the favorite movie of the bar's regular patrons -- to confirm its place in the cultural lexicon. None of the sequels or the television series, however, ever matched Sturges's original, either at the box office or in their impact on our popular culture. The secret behind the original's vast success, apart from the once-in-a-lifetime cast and the dazzlingly memorable score by Elmer Bernstein, was its timing and underlying zeitgeist. The Magnificent Seven was one of the very last feel-good films about American adventurism abroad to come out of Hollywood; appearing in the period immediately before Vietnam became a political worry and then a full-blown war, it was the last major movie to depict Americans (albeit gunmen and mercenaries) going to another country to help a people struggling for independence, without any of the complications that Vietnam added to that notion; the film was, thus, a two-tiered nostalgia experience, initially, from within its own script, about the closing of the west, and, in the next few years, in a much more powerful and potent way, as a fond look back at Americans' image of themselves as "good guys" in the modern world. The only flaw in the film that is apparent when looking at it today is the absence of a black member of the seven -- Sturges himself was an old-fashioned, two-fisted liberal, but it's debatable whether, even if the script had contained such a character, United Artists (which, three years later, tried to get Ralph Nelson to make Lillies of the Field with Steve McQueen in place of Sidney Poitier), or any other studio, would have okayed that casting in 1959; and then there was the question of who would have played the part -- among the most visible black leading men of the period, Poitier was too young, and James Edwards was the wrong type. In any case, the film is a perfect document of its time as it stands, and has become identified as such an intensely American cultural document, that many viewers are unaware of its origins as a samurai story. Bruce Eder
All Movie Guide - Bruce Eder
One of the most popular Westerns of all time, John Sturges' The Magnificent Seven was based on Akira Kurosawa's 1954 epic The Seven Samurai (which was originally titled "The Magnificent Seven" and was itself a thematic descendant of the Westerns of John Ford). Director/producer Sturges packed a huge amount of plot and detail into what could have been a routine Western -- the opening threat to the Mexican village; the first meeting between Yul Brynner's Chris and Steve McQueen's Vin in a tense confrontation with a group of racist thugs trying to block a funeral procession; the decision to help the villagers and the gathering of the unlikely band of heroes; the heroes' journey to the village and their confrontation with who and what they, as gunmen, really represent to the people they're trying to help. Some of this kind of material had figured in other, earlier movies, including George Stevens' Shane, Anthony Mann's underrated The Tin Star, and Sturges' own Last Train From Gun Hill, but no one had ever put quite that much plot or character development into a single Western before. Apart from Yul Brynner, who was already an established star thanks to The King and I, the cast featured a half-dozen actors who were either on the edge of stardom, such as Eli Wallach and Steve McQueen, or who would become major stars in coming years, including James Coburn, Charles Bronson, and Robert Vaughn; indeed, Sturges would re-team with McQueen, Coburn, and Bronson for 1963's The Great Escape, a film that provided a huge boost to each man's career. The Magnificent Seven was a massive hit when it was first released and by 1966 had spawned the first of three sequels; but the cast, which grew in prominence as most of them became massive box-office attractions in their own right, only made the movie seem bigger and more important as time went on, so much so that, had it not gone to television in the early '60s, The Magnificent Seven would have been ripe for an even bigger theatrical run in, say, 1965 or 1966. As it was, a television series based on the film was finally spawned at the end of the 1990s. There were also enough parodies, as well as references to the movie in media touchstones like the 1980s sitcom Cheers -- The Magnificent Seven being the favorite movie of the bar's regular patrons -- to confirm its place in the cultural lexicon. None of the sequels or the television series, however, ever matched Sturges' original, either at the box office or in their impact on popular culture. The secret behind the original's vast success, apart from the once-in-a-lifetime cast and the dazzlingly memorable score by Elmer Bernstein, was its timing and underlying zeitgeist. The Magnificent Seven was one of the very last feel-good films about American adventurism abroad to come out of Hollywood. Appearing in the period immediately before Vietnam became a political worry and then a full-blown war, it was the last major movie to depict Americans (albeit gunmen and mercenaries) going to another country to help a people struggling for independence, without any of the complications that Vietnam added to that notion. The film was, thus, a two-tiered nostalgia experience -- initially, about the closing of the West and, in the next few years, in a much more powerful and potent way, as a fond look back at Americans' image of themselves as "good guys" in the modern world. The only flaw in the film that is apparent when looking at it today is the absence of a black member of the seven -- Sturges himself was an old-fashioned, two-fisted liberal, but it's debatable whether, even if the script had contained such a character, United Artists or any other studio, would have okayed that casting in 1959. Even three years later United tried to get Ralph Nelson to make Lillies of the Field with Steve McQueen in place of Sidney Poitier); not to mention the question of who would have played the part -- among the most visible black leading men of the period, Poitier was too young and James Edwards was the wrong type. In any case, the film is a perfect document of its time as it stands and has become identified as such an intensely American cultural document that many viewers are unaware of its origins as a samurai story.

Product Details

Release Date:
05/08/2001
UPC:
0027616861078
Original Release:
1960
Rating:
NR
Source:
Mgm (Video & Dvd)
Region Code:
1
Presentation:
[Wide Screen]
Sound:
[Dolby Digital, monaural]
Time:
2:08:00
Sales rank:
401

Special Features

Documentary; Audio commentary by Eli Wallach, James Coburn, and Walter Mirisch; Photo Gallery; Collectible booklet; Original theatrical trailers

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Yul Brynner Chris
Eli Wallach Calvera
Steve McQueen Vin
Horst Buchholz Chico
Charles Bronson O'Reilly
Robert Vaughn Lee
Brad Dexter Harry Luck
James Coburn Britt
Vladimir Sokoloff Old Man
Rosenda Monteros Petra
Whit Bissell Chamlee
Val Avery Henry
Bing Russell Robert
Rico Alaniz Sotero
Robert J. Wilke Wallace
Jorge Martinez de Hoyos Hilario
Jorge Marchegiant Hilario
Pepe Hern Actor
Natividad Vacio Actor
Mario Navarro Actor
Enrique Lucero Actor
Alex Montoya Actor

Technical Credits
John Sturges Director,Producer
Elmer Bernstein Score Composer
Walter Bernstein Screenwriter
Edward FitzGerald Art Director
Jack Hayes Musical Arrangement
Charles B. Lang Cinematographer
Emile LaVigne Makeup
Walter Mirisch Executive Producer
Walter Newman Screenwriter
Milt Rice Special Effects
William Roberts Screenwriter
Dan Striepeke Makeup
Ferris Webster Editor
Jack Williams Stunts

Scene Index

Side #1 --
0. Scene Selections
1. Main Title [:11]
2. The Raid [1:56]
3. Shotgun On A Hearse [5:44]
4. The Magnificent Two [1:43]
5. The Gang Takes Shape [5:58]
6. Spies At The Fiesta [3:34]
7. Spies At The Fiesta [3:38]
8. Readying For Battle [7:47]
9. The First Fight [:14]
10. That Dying Feeling [7:32]
11. In The Enemy Camp [2:59]
12. An Argument For Fear [4:31]
13. "buenas Noches!" [2:49]
14. Going Back? [3:50]
15. The Last Fight [4:26]
16. Moving On/ The End [2:18]

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The Magnificent Seven 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
'The Magnificent Seven' ranks as one of Hollywood's finest westerns. It succeeds on many levels. The story is simple but powerful. Seven professional gunfighters agree to help a group of poor, mexican peasants defend themselves against the continual ravages of a wicked band of outlaws.The characters are each unique and well defined. Some are brave and virtuous, some opportunistic, some struggling with personal doubts and some just like a good fight. The cinematography is beautiful. The music score ranks as one of finest, setting the mood for each scene. The cast is packed with big names. Steve McQueen, Yul Brynner, Charles Bronson, James Coburn, Robert Vaughn, Horst Bucholz, to name a few. As in all good stories, the villain must be memorable. Eli Wallach is classic as the wily bandit leader. The supporting actors and actresses (many unnamed) all add to the realism. This is a morality play set in a rugged, mexican village. Good versus Evil. From the opening scene where Yul Brynnner and Steve McQueen agree to drive a dead indians' corpse to Boot Hill (despite death threats against them) we know that we're in for a wild and entertaining ride. This is a movie not to be missed. It's a definite 'must have' for your home film collection.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Great, Wonderful,...Magnificent!!! You will Love it! I have seen this movie about a gazillion times and STILL love it!!!!! The Magnificent Seven a remake of the 'Seven Samuri'. But it is not about Samuri. It is about seven 'cowboys' who are hired to rid a village of their ever returning terrorizers,who are led by Calvera(Eli Wallach) The Seven are led by Chris(Yul Brynner) who is joined by Vin(Steve McQueen, what a cutie!), Harry(Brad Dexter), O'Rielly(Charles Bronson, another cutie),Britt(James Coborn), Lee(Robert Vaughn), and Chico (Horst Bucholz). I prefer the dvd edition best but the vhs edition is good too. On the dvd you get to see how they made the movie and other interesting facts about the actors. Really Kool!!! I love the music, the story, and absolutly love the actors. If you haven't seen this movie you are missing out on something great! Go out and buy or rent this movie now!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
¿The Magnificent Seven' is based on the Japanese movie, 'Seventh Samari.' It stars Yul Brynner as Chris Adams, a retired gunslinger forced to pick up his pistols to free a small Mexican town from its oppressive regiment of banditos fronted by Calvera (Eli Wallach). The updating and transmutation from the original premise - that of seven desperados out to avenge a ruthless cutthroat's stronghold on a poor community - is, for once in the business of remaking movies totally justified and worthy in its own right. Steve McQueen is Vin, one of the six other liberators. The film explores each man¿s motives for signing onto the mission; Bernardo¿s (Charles Bronson) need to belong to something and someone, Lee¿s (Robert Vaughn) desperate attempt to regain his composure in the face of death, Chico¿s (Horst Buchholz) desire to prove himself as a hero to the men he admires. The climactic showdown also points to a revisionist perspective in Hollywood westerns; a cinematic landscape where the good guys don¿t always finish first and sometimes die trying to make good on their honorable intentions. MGM Home Entertainment gives us a tired, worn print of this classic film with faded colors and a barrage of age related blemishes - all this, while calling the disc a 'Special Edition'. Colors can be rich and nicely balanced at times. However, most of the movie's color scheme has suffered from the natural ravages of time. Blacks are weak. Browns, beiges and light grays all appear to have the same muddy texture. Reds are slightly orange and flesh tones are not very natural. There's a considerable amount of edge enhancement and fine detail shimmering throughout. Chips, scratches, dirt and tears in the original print are evident throughout. The audio is stereo but feebly so with a forward sounding characteristic that is not terribly engaging. The music is generally well represented. Extras include a ¿making-of¿ that falls somewhere short of a full fledged documentary but too long to be considered a featurette. There¿s also a theatrical trailer and an audio commentary. Usually I don¿t critique DVD menus but this one is just plain awful. Attempting to showcase a montage of snippets from the film, the clips presented suffer from excessive edge enhancement and aliasing problems that render them impossible to view.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Magnificent Seven is without doubt the best western not starring John Wayne (sorry Clint). Great plot, great acting, great cinemetography and great score. The first 20 minutes (like Saving Private Ryan) are the best. But the rest is pretty spectacular also. You'll watch it again and again. And by the way, it is a film that has values and that you can watch with your magnificent seven year old (not too much gore...)
Lanfear More than 1 year ago
This 1960's remake of Akira Kurosawa's "Seven Samurai" leaves a legacy of inspiration for many associated in the film business. The beautiful cinematography and set designs are unique and unmatched by any other in the Western genre. Director John Sturges assembles a gifted cast, including Yul Brynner, James Coburn, Charles Bronson, Robert Vaughn and others of Hollywood's greatest. Complete with an Oscar-Nominated original score by Elmer Bernstein, this film is a must-see for all who enjoy the classic Westerns of the 20th century.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The cast of Steve McQueen, Yul Brunner, and James Coburn does not disappoint. Anointed as the pre-Vietnam era Western, it still gives American Western the title of our original artistic heritage, besides, of course, jazz. The villains do not disappoint, either, in this traditional, good guy vs. bad guy western. I just love it. Fighting for the farmers and their America's own! For any red-blooded American at heart! The cast includes some men that are seeking redemption, violence, gold , or just adventure.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The score by Elmer Bernstien is the true star of this otherwise highly entertaining and enjoyable western movie classic. The casting is inspired if not always believable (I can never quite buy Yul Brenner as a gunslinger) but Steve McQueen, Eli Wallach, Charles Bronson, James Colburn and the supporting cast are all superb. The story is simple, well told and exciting. Each member of the cast, who does not survive to the end, has his own little death scene interupting a thrilling closing battle between our heroic hired guns and the mexican bandits led by Eli Wallach, and Mr. Brenners ending lines are just a bit too sappy. But I am being far too negative, this is a movie to sit back, watch and enjoy, and please pay attention to the score.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this movie from the start. It has all of the action and cowboys that you would hope for in a movie. Steve McQueen is my all time favorite actor and to have him dressed in chaps is no longer just a dream, but also a reality. The thing I found confusing with this picture was exactly where the magnificent seven presents itself. I watched this film 3 times in the hopes that the magnificent seven would belong to Steve McQueen, but maybe there is a different version that I need to watch. I was also curious as to why seven is so magnificent, I've had way bigger and must say that a magnificent 9 or 11 would be much more appropriate. My partner thinks that we may have gotten hold of the G rated version, because to have this many cowboys not exposing anything magnificent must have been a fluke. All in all I would have to say that this movie is superbly acted and includes a cast that any film buff should have in their collection.