Directed by John Sturges. US. 1960. NR. 128 min.
- Sun, Jun 28, 2:00 pm
"It was the beginning of the end of the great American Western," John Carpenter says of 1960's The Magnificent Seven, which he describes as the genre's "last hurrah" before television and Sergio Leone revamped it. It's hard to claim the classic American Western survived the '60s intact, but it went out on a high note. Well-crafted, star-driven entertainment doesn't come much better. But even as a Western, The Magnificent Seven is unusual. It adapts Akira Kurosawa's Seven Samurai—a film deeply inspired by American Westerns—and its stars include a Russian playing a Cajun and a German playing a Mexican. It's the kind of thriving mutt of a film only Hollywood could make.
Yul Brynner headlines the cast with a regal air as the first gunslinger enlisted to protect a Mexican village from a ruthless bandito (Eli Wallach, naturally). Soon to join him: Steve McQueen, James Coburn, Charles Bronson, and Robert Vaughn, all near the beginning of their careers. And director John Sturges gives them room to let their characters breathe. Though memorable action scenes erupt throughout, he smartly remembers that the samurai themselves made Kurosawa's original memorable.” (Keith Phipps, The Onion A.V. Club)