'The Magnificent Seven' (1960) - Movie Review

"The Magnificent Seven" was an American Western remake of Akira Kurosawa's "Seven Samurai," one of the greatest movies ever made. It was made six years after the release of "Seven Samurai" - while not terribly well received in the U.S., it was a hit in Europe and has gone on to lasting acclaim. The story is essentially the same: a small Mexican town is terrorized by bandits led by Calveras (Eli Wallach), and they eventually turn to a group of (seven) gunfighters to protect them. They're led by Chris Adams (Yul Brynner), and tailed by the clown of the group, Chico (Horst Buchholz). Pretty much all of the remaining five went on to fame after this movie: Steve McQueen, Brad Dexter, Charles Bronson, James Coburn and Robert Vaughn.

At the time this was made, gunslingers were heroes: the idea that there was anything wrong with their lifestyle was anathema. But - like a joke - if I have to put this into context to make the movie worth seeing, it's not standing on its own as a successful piece of art. It's a good western, but not a great one. But it was really unusual in having the gunslingers question the necessity and morality of what they did.

I chose to re-watch this shortly after watching the 2016 remake of the movie. Of the two, this is the better piece of work - perhaps only by a small margin.