One of our favorite movies when we were growing up was the 1960’s Western The Magnificent Seven. Though we were too young to watch it when it first came out, we tuned in every time it played on TV. (The film is itself a remake of Akira Kurosawa’s 1954 epic Seven Samurai.) The 1960 version starred a host of movie and TV stars: Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, Robert Vaughan, James Coburn, and a 26-year-old German actor named Horst Buchholz, among them. And in an inspired bit of casting, the great Eli Wallach, playing the Mexican badass, Calvera.
To the three of you who are unfamiliar with the movie: a bunch of Mexican villagers raise a pittance to engage an American gunslinger (Brynner) to help protect them from the ongoing raids led by the aforementioned Calvera. Brynner is able to recruit six others to come to their aid, not for any financial reward but for the noble cause it involves. The movie was filmed on location in Mexico. Here’s our Classic Video: the original trailer where the amazing McQueen says (in a straight face) to Wallach: “We deal in lead, friend.”
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The musical score was from genius composer Elmer Bernstein, who also did The Ten Commandments, The Great Escape, and many more. His primary piece for The Magnificent Seven is also familiar to those of a certain age as the music used in many Marlboro commercials.
And because a law in Hollywood is that every movie must be remade, a new The Magnificent Seven was released in 2016. It starred Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Vincent D’Onofrio, Ethan Hawke and a host of others. Here’s the remake’s trailer…