Anthony's Film Review
The Magnificent Seven (1960)
The Magnificent Seven is magnificent as a classic Western film and as a remake of another classic...
As far as I'm concerned, it is not possible to talk about the 1960 Western film The Magnificent Seven without discussing Akira Kurosawa's 1954 epic Seven Samurai. While The Magnificent Seven can stand on its own as a noteworthy Western film, we cannot forget that it's a remake of Seven Samurai. That's not to say that the former is inferior to the latter. If anything, The Magnificent Seven still succeeds in being a film that engages the audience, even for those who have already seen Seven Samurai. Whether people will like the Western version or the Eastern version of the same story may depend on personal preferences. But for others who are open to all kinds of movies, watching one could generate interest in the other. I imagine that this was possibly one of the reasons for making The Magnificent Seven.
Let's look at what is similar between The Magnificent Seven and Seven Samurai: the plot. It begins with an impoverished town that is threatened by bandits who have the ability to intimidate and steal large amounts of food. The desperate villagers of the town seek help from anyone who could defend their town. The help they seek comes in the form of seven brave warriors. The band of warriors includes a wise and courageous leader, a comrade who is in love with a local villager girl, and one man who seems to have a hotheaded personality. The warriors teach the villagers how to fight and defend their town. The climax of the story involves the warriors and the villagers fighting the bandits attempting to raid the town. Really, the one difference between the two movies is that the Western version involves seven gunmen helping Mexican villagers and the Eastern version involves seven swordsman helping Japanese villagers.
As I've said, the fact that The Magnificent Seven is an Americanized remake of Seven Samurai does not make it bad at all. It's true that I love movies when they are 100% original. But how many times do we watch movies that have been partly inspired by certain films of the past? I'm sure most of the movies we watch are derivatives of others. As long as there is still one new thing we haven't seen before, the film has a chance to be great. Here, The Magnificent Seven reuses the entirety of another movie's plot, but presents it in a new genre. That alone still makes it unique enough.
Aside from that, The Magnificent Seven is just beautifully shot. Whether we're watching the scenery or the major and minor characters doing things on screen, we're watching beautiful imagery. There are also fine performances by the stars of the movie, particularly Yul Brynner as the leader of the Seven. Otherwise, it was a pleasure for me to see the story played out in this movie, even if I had already seen Seven Samurai. It was still refreshing to see the same story set in a different culture and time period.
With all of this, The Magnificent Seven is a fantastic Western film. It's gorgeously presented, engaging in its story, and just exciting to watch overall. It's also a fine homage to the classic Seven Samurai. Since it is hard to discuss each film alone, I will even go ahead and say that anyone interested in one of those two movies should also check out the other one. Both films about seven heroes are equally magnificent in my book.
For more information about The Magnificent Seven, visit the Internet Movie Database.