In a feature here on “Random thoughts of 210Darryl” started a few weeks ago I’m listing my favorite movies in a few different genres. We started with my top five favorite comedy movies and counted up toward my favorite, Monty Python’s Life of Brian. Now we’re taking a look at my five favorite westerns, and at #5 we had True Grit. This week it’s #4 with John Sturges’ The Magnificent Seven.
This is one of those movies I don’t understand why people don’t like it. Now granted I haven’t come across many that don’t, but The Magnificent Seven really is one of the better westerns ever made. Yes, it’s a rip-off of Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai, but it’s done so well it does really stand on its own right. It’s basically the perfect western. Good guys in white hats (although not literally), bad guys in black ones. There’s no phony plot twist, and no fake ending to make sure the good guys win. It’s a solid story with an outcome that’s not ordinarily what you’d get from a western.
When I first saw it I was on a Charles Bronson kick, so it was an easy rental back in the day. I’d heard of Yul Brynner but didn’t really know anything about him, but the other selling point was Steve McQueen. I had seen a ton of his movies and really like the action stuff he was in. Although I didn’t know it before watching The Magnificent Seven, I did come to find out Eli Wallach plays a great bad-guy.
I remember watching The Magnificent Seven on a weekday evening (probably was a Tuesday), and I watched it at least three times that night. I was hooked. It’s one of the first movies I ever bought on VHS and then again one of the first on DVD. I don’t buy a ton of Blu-rays, but of I see it I’m probably going to buy it. The Magnificent Seven comes in at #4 in my countdown, but it’s really 1c in a top four that would be 1,1a,1b,1c.
THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN
Directed by John Sturges
Produced by John Sturges
Written by William Roberts (Walter Newman & Walter Bernstein are uncredited)
Based on Seven Samurai by Akira Kurosawa
Starring Yul Brynner, Eli Wallach, Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, Robert Vaughn, James Coburn, and Horst Buchholz
Music by Elmer Bernstein
Cinematography by Charles Lang
Edited by Ferris Webster
Release date October 23, 1960
Running time 128 minutes
Budget $2 million
Box office $5 million