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4.7 out of 5 stars147
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 29 July 2005
If, like me, you grew up in the UK between, say, 1975-1990, you will be well aware of a certain number of films which made up the bulk of family TV during public holidays. The Magnificent Seven is undoubtedly chief among these. No bank holiday Monday was ever complete without the heroics of Yul Bryner & Co. enlivening our living rooms and the sound of Elmer Bernstein's fabulous score ringing in our ears.
And this lovely memory of days gone by suggests to me the strength and weakness of this tremendously popular film. On the one hand, Seven is a blast from start to finish - great fun! But on the other hand, in order to rattle along at a suitably action-packed pace the film lacks sufficent characterisation and plot development to lift it out of the best of the rest category and into the all time greats (of the genre, that is). Sure, there are characters and there is a plot but they are, let's be honest, pretty thin on the ground.
Nevertheless, the film is highly enjoyable and definitely worth repeated viewing. The DVD extras are nice, particularly the feature on the making of the film. There are interviews with some of the cast, crew and folk behind the film and a few nuggets of info which make watching the film a little more fun.
For example, a lot is made of the young Steve McQueen's attempts to be the star of the film and the little acting tricks he employed to capture the camera's, and hence the viewers' attention. Several anecdotes relating to this are told and are great fun to hear!
At its heart, Seven was a vehicle for six rising Hollywood stars and the established star, Yul Bryner. The chemistry between them and the friction on and off the screen adds to the dramatic effect of the film and the results are...dare I say it, magnificent!
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on 29 October 2010
Yes this Blu ray release of The Magnificent Seven is the best the film has looked. There is so much more sharpness to the original film, and makes the old video tape releases look rather sub standard compared to this. You can tell that the soundtrack in the movie has been cleaned up and the dialogue too, creating a whole new experience of the movie with the capabilities of this superior format. Tremendous service from Amazon yet again, arrived in lovely time, it is also a considerable upgrade from the normal DVD release, I personally could tell straight away, it's all more vivid and audiable.
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on 8 June 2013
If you are a western fan you will enjoy this film. If you haven't already seen it do so now. It was one of the earliest westerns to feature a modern more natural dialogue, with many witty one-liners which were just as entertaining as the stock shooting and fighting scenes. It set the scene for many westerns that followed. I have also seen the Seven Samurai (on which it is based) and did not enjoy its subtitles and dark and brooding atmosphere in which it was sometimes difficult to distinguish who was fighting whom. The Magnificent Seven is a light, bright, full of action western movie. The actors are all superb - most of them were unknown and went on to carve out major careers after this film. The direction is first class, the dialogue is snappy, the music memorable and the photography excellent. The Blu-ray reproduction is out of this world and well worth having in your collection.
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OK, we all know what we're getting here. This is the most classic of classic Westerns, brim full of top acting talent, superbly directed and with an iconic score.

Based on the Japanese film the 7 Samurai, this follows the fortunes of a group of seven mercenaries, who, for a variety of reasons ride off to defend a small Mexican village against the evil Calvera (Eli Wallach) and his gang of bandits, seemingly insurmountable odds. Led by the enigmatic and dangerously cool Chris (Yul Brynner in top form) the gang is a motley crew, with wrecked gamblers, fortune hunters, idealistic young kids and grizzly mercenaries. The seven leads and villain give it their all, and a wonderfully entertaining film is the result.

I always enjoyed this film as it works on two levels. Firstly it is a great wild west romp, with a hint of a moral tale. Secondly, due to the strength of the acting talent on screen it is a wonderful character study, as the motives of the seven as they ride to apparent suicide are studied. Even Calvera's character is explored with great effect. But the film never gets lost in this aspect, it always keeps the aim of being an entertaining adventure firmly in view.

This DVD is an excellent presentation. The print has been nicely cleaned up, presented in the original widescreen and has a 5.1 soundtrack. There are a host of extras, including a documentary, stills, original trailers, and trailers for some of the (inferior!) sequels.

An excellent presentation of a wonderfully entertaining film.
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on 22 November 2002
I have not seen “The Magnificent Seven” in widescreen since I first saw it in the theatre in 1960. I have been watching it in pan & scan for about 40 years now. It is my favorite motion picture. Seeing it in widescreen opened new vistas for me. It finally seems like the large scale yet personal drama that it always deserved to be. I can greater appreciate the composition of the different camera frames by noticing facial expressions and the like that have gone unnoticed for years. There is more character development here than I even imagined. There is more beauty and detail to the landscape unto which the story unfolds. The film has now at last taken on legendary proportions thanks to this format. Yul Brynner as Chris, Steve McQueen as Vin, Charles Bronson as O'Reilly, Robert Vaughn as Lee, Brad Dexter as Harry Luck, James Coburn as Britt and Horst Buchholz as Chico are all imbedded into the psyche of anyone who ever saw this movie and felt its emotional impact. These are real screen heroes.
There is something very magical about this film. This is different from every other Western that came before it. I believe it is the nature of the seven gunfighters, their motives for that one chance at gallantry and redemption. That combined with the way the story is visually told makes for its greatness. It teaches us something about nobility, dignity and devotion. The hearse-ride taken up to Boot Hill with Yul Brynner driving and Steve McQueen riding shotgun sets the stage and tone for the entire film. Images such as Charles Bronson, bent over from a bullet and the three little Mexican boys clutching him crying out his name while in his death throes bring a tear to the eye. In another the viewer reflects along with Yul Brynner as he takes the lifeless James Coburn’s knife out of the adobe wall and folds it gently in his hand. These are heart rendering and indelible images. Even Eli Wallach as the bandit Calvera gets his moment of pathos. After being mortally wounded by Yul Brynner’s bullet, Calvera can not believe that the seven came back to save the village even after the villagers told them that they did not want their help anymore. “You came back. A man like you. Why?” asks Calvera as he dies. Yul Brynner has no answer for him. It was as if Brynner had committed some sacrilege.
Director John Sturges captured the ambiguities of the human spirit in this film. Just as he directed “The Great Escape,” Sturges’ directorial style is so smooth that his own storytelling glosses right over the depth and complexity of his own work. The ultimate shame is that all Sturges’ profoundness is all right up there on the screen. He literally outdoes himself along with a little help from Elmer Bernstein’s score and William Roberts’ script. Bernstein’s insertion of quick tempo snippets here and there into the score advances the film and pulls the viewer right into the narrative with an emotional fervor along with his unforgettable main title theme. William Roberts’ script is so full of memorable and engaging dialogue that it too smoothly advances the story with ease and shear magnetism playing on our emotions.
For me Yul Brynner was the epitome of ‘cool’ and aplomb. From his dark gray and black outfit down to the tip of his thin cheroot he was the kind of man others look up to but keep their distance. Yul Brynner as Chris, was a man of few words and often communicated by the mere gesture of the hand. Of the seven, he was the cohesive element that drew them together simply by his demeanor. The aura of his worldliness beckoned them all to the place he was heading. It was the same place they were all going. He was just the first to recognize it. Brynner too was the cohesive element that kept them all together. Brynner was the one who followed some unwritten code of honor that is only alluded to in a few passages. McQueen was perfect as the gunfighter who was “just drifting” and signed on with Brynner. The levelheaded McQueen represents the other characters’ realizations one by one as they join. James Coburn was perfect, as the stoic knife throwing Britt, who lived only for the thrill of the moment. Charles Bronson as O'Reilly played his stoically rugged but sympathetic role better than any actor could have. Bronson had a unique visual presence whose kind facial expressions counterbalanced his pockmark face and strong physique. Bronson was a conundrum unto himself and perfect for the role. Brad Dexter’s performance as the unlucky fortune hunter has gone unrecognized. He was the least noble of the seven and died the mercenary that he was, yet there is some nobility to one’s profession in that. Still, he gains our sympathy after returning in the clutch and saves his friend Chris and in turn is killed. Dying in the arms of his friend, Chris lets him go to the grave with a lie. Robert Vaughn’s character was probably the most interesting of the seven. His enigmatic portrayal of Lee the tormented soul and not really the coward he labeled himself somehow never stood out. Only his act of redemption, his gunplay and death during the finale lingers. Vaughn’s portrayal is a success because as he said he was “the coward hiding out in the middle of a battlefield” and at that he succeeded. Horst Buchholz gave an energetic and bravura performance the only one of the seven that had not yet been corrupted by the world. At the end he symbolically hangs his guns up and roles up his sleeves. Brynner and McQueen say that “only the farmers have won” and they lost. As they ride off into screen immortality I think we all won.
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on 14 December 2007
'Magnificent Seven' will always be in my Top 20 list of all time greats. What makes it so special is that as one of the greatest American films of all times, it was inspired by an Japanese all time great; 'Seven Samurai'.To make things even more interesting, the Bollywood all time great , 'Sholay' was in turn inspired by 'Magnificent Seven'.

Of the Magnificent Seven most of the screen time is given to Chris (Brynner), Vin (McQueen) and Chico (Bucholz). While no details are given about the individual pasts of the Magnificent Seven it is fairly clear what there pasts may have been.

1. Chris: A leader, perhaps a former soldier, who has encountered danger before and gained a degree of mastery over his emotions in dangerous situation.

2. Vin: A capable man with a gun, perhaps a one time cowboy. He seems to be comfortable working as a loner but clearly would like to one day settle down.

3. Chico: The youngest of the Seven and most inexperienced. He wants to shed his farming past and attempts through acts of bravado to persuade others and himself that he is a gunfighter at heart.

4. Bernardo (Bronson): A strong solitary man that in many ways resembles Chris although not displaying the desire to lead. In many ways he is the most interesting character. He has made quite a bit of money in the past even though he is now broke. The attention he gives to the local village children and the gift he gives a village girl hint at the idea that while he is good at gunfighting he knows that it is a good family life that is important.

5. Lee (Vaughn): The most difficult character to relate to. He appears to be a gunman who in the past was cocky, arrogant and self assured but now after experiencing life on the run now doubts himself. He wants to do the right thing but finds it difficult to step up to the plate when it's his turn.

6. Britt (Coburn): A loner who is unequaled in a gun or knife fight. A man whose motives remain his own.

7. Harry (Dexter): A good man to have in a fight but one who lets greed cloud his every decision. It would seem that Harry is one of those individuals who is always one step away from gaining riches but somehow never gains them.

The leader of the bandits is Calvera (Walsh) who is not an unlikeable fellow. He appears to believe that it is his job to steal so that he can support himself and his men. For him it is only a job, not unlike the farmers who work the land to provide for their families. He has what can almost be describes as a code of ethics for those who make their living with guns. This code of ethics is evident in the way he treats the Magnificent Seven towards the end of the film. However, given the films ending, this code does not seem to be shared by the Magnificent Seven

Lastly, while many people may view this film as a western action film I think there is quite a bit of underlying humanity and character depth woven into the story. It is these underlying characteristics that distinguish it from the average western action flick and have helped to make this film as popular as it is.
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on 9 April 2012
Great Film Blu-Ray is far better than the DVD release,
lots of extras inc the audio commentary, which is not listed on the back of the box.
A must buy from Amazon at this really low price.
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on 9 August 2009
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on 6 April 2008
A regular hotpot of western entertainment. Throw in a handfull of stars -established and up and coming from the stage and screen of their day. A heap of on screen chemistry, and a rousing score that stirs the soul then bring it to the boil over 125 mins. This format has been imitated over the years through many a genre but rarely bested. If you love westerns -then you've seen it (what the heck are you readin' this for?), if you're dipping your toe into the genre -get it'n'watch it, if you're wondering what all the fuss is about -get it'n'watch it. Get it? Adios.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 17 November 2011
A vile bandit constantly raids a small Mexican village and pilfers what he so wants. Finally having enough, and not wanting to relocate, the villagers set about recruiting some hired guns to finally rid themselves of the dastardly Calvera.

As most people now know, The Magnificent Seven is of course a remake of Akira Kurosawa's immense and hugely influential picture, Shichinin no samurai. Adhering closely to Kurosawa's themes, director John Sturges has crafted a classic in its own right, one that has become something of a Bank Holiday staple for TV schedulers. When you break it down for scrutiny, the story is purely a very ordinary one, but as each archetype character and set up arrives, it becomes evident that it's a story rich in texture, framed marvellously in a Western setting.

Sturges for sure knew how to direct ensemble casts, he would after all go on to direct the fantastic 1963, ultimate holiday movie, The Great Escape. Here he is excellently served by a faultless cast, tho Yul Brynner was the only major name of note, the likes of Steve McQueen {owning the movie}, Charles Bronson, Robert Vaughn and James Coburn would go on to become part of cinematic macho culture, with each actor vying for the right to own the movie proving to be a bonus trump card for this rousing and much loved picture. Even the score has slipped nicely into popular culture, Elmer Bernstein's music having now become recognisable to even the most youthful of movie fans ears.

Unashamedly macho, but certainly delightful for the female viewers, The Magnificent Seven is an across the board delight for almost everyone who enjoys the escapism of film. Perhaps the last word should rest with Kurosawa himself, who after viewing John Sturges' picture was moved to present him with a Samurai Sword in recognition of the great film he had crafted, enough said there I feel. 9/10
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