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The Magnificent Seven transplants Seven Samurai into the Old West with a terrific cast of Hollywood stars -- and without losing any of the story's thematic richness.
All Critics (42)
| Top Critics (6)
| Fresh (37)
| Rotten (5)
| DVD (14)
About two-thirds of the film is good, tough, unromantic period western. About one-third is sentimental nonsense and it bushwhacks the remainder... In adding so-called commercial values, a good picture has been sabotaged.
What was wonderful in the Kurosawa film -- the recruiting and training of the mercenaries -- is just dead time here.
This film may well be the best western of 1960.
There is a heap of fine acting and some crackling good direction by John Sturges mostly in the early stages, during formation of the central septet.
Sturges' remake of Kurosawa's Seven Samurai is always worth a look, mainly for the performances of McQueen, Bronson, Coburn and Vaughn.
Even with some highly fetching Mexican scenery in color, this United Artists release, thrusting Yul Brynner well to the fore, is a pallid, pretentious and overlong reflection of the Japanese original.
Probably the most enjoyable aspect of the film is watching the now legendary names get introduced to the story in 'Ocean's Eleven'-style recruitment vignettes.
Very nearly a classic, this Americanization of Akira Kurosawa's The Seven Samurai does a good job of mirroring the major themes and attitudes of the original while re-creating that monumental film in an occidental setting.
Director John Sturges was extremely fortunate in securing a near-perfect cast for this enduringly popular western reworking of Japanese classic Seven Samurai.
Bernstein's score is one for the ages. This film, however, is not.
One of the most iconic Westerns.
John Sturges remake of Kurosawa's masterpiece, Seven Samurai, is enjoyable on its own terms due to the stellar cast, not to mention Elmer Bernstein's score, but it helps to know the Japansese classic.
Whether or not a film is remade or just simply takes place within the same genre, people come to expect certain things when seeing a familiar storyline. Nowadays, people complain that there are far too many remakes of classic films, but what they don't realize is that there are quite a few remakes from the past as well. Today for example, the Swedish horror film Let the Right One In is released, only to be remade a year or so later as an American film, retitled Let Me In. This has been done since the very beginning of cinema. With that on the table, 1960's The Magnificent Seven followed directly in the footsteps of the 1954 Japanese samurai film, Seven Samurai. Did it improve on anything that the Akira Kurosawa version failed to achieve? Lets talk The Magnificent Seven (1960).
Following the events from Akira Kurosawa's 1954 masterpiece, it was already clear there was a high bar to match. Although I did not try to see the differences throughout this version, it was very hard to ignore the fact that there are some lines of dialogue literally delivered verbatim. The film begins with a group of bandits who threaten to return to terrorize the town if they do not have their food handed over to them upon their return. Therein lying the issue, a group of seven horsemen/gunmen are recruited to take down these bandits upon their return. It is a very simple story with great characters. That is almost exactly what my description was for Kurosawa's Seven Samurai, which is both a good and bad thing in my opinion. This film utilizes everything that made the original Japanese film a masterpiece, but also trims off about 80 minutes of story.
Although I had no complaints about the original telling of this story, The Magnificent Seven was able to trim off about 80 minutes from the original story, making for a much smoother film experience. That being said, the character development in Seven Samurai was much deeper, so for every positive, I also found a negative. On the bright side, watching men laugh over drinks, fire guns, and ride horses for the majority of the film is much more exciting then watching a ten minute scene of two samurai warriors talking about the future battle. That being said, Seven Samurai also utilized those scenes in a way that sucked its audience into every line of dialogue being spoken. While The Magnificent Seven does have a lot of great character moments, it tries to introduce new characters as the film progresses and you really only find yourself latching onto two of the main characters.
Worth every minute of waiting through set-ups and promises, The Magnificent Seven delivers, without a doubt, one of the most exciting shootouts in any western that I have seen. No, it doesn't live up to classic moments like that of The Good he Bad and the Ugly, but I am not trying to compare classics here. Sitting through every great character arc and moment of redemption, you feel a sense of fulfillment once the final battle occurs. There is so much excitement to be had while watching this picture, and for any western fan, there really is not much more you could have asked for at the time.
In the end, 1960's The Magnificent Seven is a well-made western picture, that without the original Japanese version, would not have been made. For that reason alone, I have to dock a few points. Does this film deliver fantastic and loveable characters? Absolutely. Does it deliver on awesome shootout sequences? You bet it does. Does it feel far too similar with not enough differences to Seven Samurai? Sadly, that is also a glaring yes. Still, being a fan of the western genre, I can say that much care and time was put into the making of this film and it shows in the final product. There are a few cheesy lines and performances throughout, making it hold up even less than its Japanese version, but it is still a great watch after all these years nonetheless. The 1960 version of The Magnificent Seven is pure western entertainment. Recommended to any fans of this genre.
Yul Brynner leads an all star cast as seven gunman are hired to defend a tiny farming villages from los banditos locos. There's no money to be had while facing impossible odds, so why do it? Why risk your life? The film gives us reason to care about the answer in what many consider one of the great Westerns.
An entertaining Western remake of Kurosawa's samurai classic and, like that film, more concerned with developing its characters and letting them grown on us instead of just focusing on the battle, while the great cast and Bernstein's score make it epic and unforgettable.
Based on a story by Akira Kurosawa, starring Yul Brinner, Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, James Coburn, Robert Vaughn and Eli Wallach, directed by John (The Gunfight At The OK Corral/The Great Escape) Sturges and accompanied by one of the best musical scores ever written, and you have the ingredients for possibly the perfect old school western. Poor old Horst Buchholz didn't stand much of a chance up against an ensemble cast of this quality, but he makes a decent fist of a character who is essentially an amalgam of two characters from Seven Samurai, which makes way for Vaughn's gunslinger who has lost his nerve and slots seamlessly into the action. It does take a more popular culture slant on the original's more arthouse sensibilities, but it works perfectly. Brinner and McQueen make a brilliant double act and it even adds a more upbeat ending without failing to retain the spirit of the source material. One of the very few examples of a remake that is almost as worthwhile as the original.
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