The Magnificent Seven

John Sturges's remake of Akira Kurosawa’s 1954 classic THE SEVEN SAMURAI has become an influential film in its own right. A small farming Mexican village that makes involuntary donations of its harvest to a gang of bandits led by Calvera (Eli Wallach) decides to hire a group of professional gunmen, headed by gunslinger-for-hire Chris (Yul Brynner), to protect them. Despite the meager pay, Chris and Vin (Steve McQueen) sign on after the Mexicans see them face down some racist thugs. Chris begins to pick up other gunmen, including Bernardo (Charles Bronson), Lee (Robert Vaughan), Britt (James Coburn), Harry (Brad Dexter), and aspiring gunslinger Chico (Horst Buchholz), as they ride back to the village.The Mexicans, who are at first ambivalent about having gunmen hanging around their town, finally let down their guard and allow their visitors to teach them how to shoot and how to best reconfigure the town to defend against Calvera. When the bandits return, they find harvesting the crops a little more challenging. This rousing, perfectly cast action film launched the careers of Bronson, McQueen, and Coburn. It also benefits tremendously from the unforgettably polyrhythmic score by Elmer Bernstein, among the most famous in film history. So popular was the film's theme that it was used to sell Marlboro cigarettes for years afterward.


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