The Magnificent Seven – 1960 – is one of those movies that I have watched literally dozens of times over the years. It is one of the first VHS tapes that I bought when I began my movie collection and it was one of the first that I swapped out to DVD. I learned to love the Magnificent Seven from my dad. He was a western fiend and this one was just enough vclassic western and just enough Spaghetti Western to stoke his fires.
To make the plot synopsis as brief as possible: Our Antagonist, a Mexican bandit lord named Calvera, is terrorizing a small village just south of the border. They ride into town, take food and supplies and in exchange, they do not kill the people of the village. Some of the villagers take it upon themselves to go find help in the form of professional gunfighters. They find Chris Abrams and convince him with the incentive of a little cash to come help. Chris starts to recruit the rest of the Seven. The roll down tot he town and after repulsing one wave of attacks from Calvera, they are defeated and sent packing. That doesn’t stop our band of warriors though. They regroup and head back to wipe the bandits out once and for all. Sounds a lot like another movie with seven warriors: The Seven Samurai. It should sound similar, this is the American version.
Before I start fawning over two of the main actors, I need to talk about the score. Elmer Bernstein out did himself with the main score for the Magnificent Seven. It is completely memorable. It has that feeling that movie scores had back in the day. And it has been used over and over since the Magnificent Seven hit the silver screen in 1960.
Steve McQueen. Steve Freaking McQueen. This was one of his first movies. He got the gig on a kind word from Yul Brynner and if you believe the stories, Brynner may have regretted that decision. Either way, McQueen is potentially the coolest person that has ever graced a movie screen. He rocks the role of cowboy and brings that 60s cool vibe into the old west.
Yul Brynner as a cowboy. The same guy that sang and danced in the King and I, the same guy that was a Pharoah in The Ten Commandments – a cowboy. You would think that it would not fit but he is miraculous. Wearing black as the good guy. Calm, cool and collected in the face of adversity. Yul Brynner is amazing!
If you haven’t ever taken the time to watch this classic piece of American movie magic. Take some time the next day you are off and dig into the beauty of a 1960s western with one of the coolest casts ever.