A village is being terrorised by a group of bandits demanding food and supplies, leaving the people with little. After one of their visits, some of the men decide to take matters into their own hands and seek assistance from a nearby town and, when seeing some honourable men, approach them to hire some extra help. Recruitment begins and, when the final seven are together, they set off to defend the little village but with them being vastly outnumbered, will they be enough to stop the bandits once and for all?

The Magnificent Seven (1960) – Director: John Sturges

Rating: PG

Running Length: 128 mins

Starring: Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen, Eli Wallach

Genre: Western

REVIEW

Based on the Japanese classic ‘Seven Samurai’ from acclaimed director Akira Kurasawa, ‘The Magnificent Seven’ follows unusually noble hired guns who take on a job for all the right reasons rather than fame, fortune and a legacy of fear. While this may seem to be a sugar-coated motivation for the protagonists, each one has their own reasons and, as all but one is of an older generation (and the youngster has his reasons to do good), they are no longer hot-headed, trigger-happy cowboys but mostly disillusioned, desperate or quite simply bored enough to do the right thing.

Hollywood was awash with Westerns around this time but ‘The Magnificent Seven’ is one of the few that stands out, the pacing is great, taking its time with the recruitment of each hired gun but not taking too long so as to make it dull and the finale is long enough to give it weight but never outstays its welcome. As one of the first Hollywood movies to have an ensemble cast, enough time is given to each of the stars to fully understand why they are risking their lives for a bunch of poor strangers. Like most movies of the time, the soundtrack provides somewhat omnipresent music but with one of the most famous themes of cinematic history and touches of traditional Japanese sounds (presumably in homage to its origins), this doesn’t take away from the movie.

There’s no denying that Westerns are not for everyone, it is a genre that many avoid like the plague! However, if you are a fan of the genre or want to dip your toe into it, ‘The Magnificent Seven’ is one that is worth a watch and with a story that isn’t solely based on the culture of cowboys, it has a message of humanity the resonates with every generation.

IS ‘THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN (1960)’ SUITABLE FOR CHILDREN?

The first raid on the village that is seen from the bandits is a relatively civil affair. It is clear that this has been happening periodically for a long time and any attempt to stop them is futile – one man angrily runs towards them shouting ‘murderer!’ and is immediately shot and killed – some blood is seen on his shirt. A woman goes to him and weeps over his body but the rest of the villagers do nothing. The bandits take several chickens, held together uncomfortably by their feet, this is likely to be distressing for the animals which could upset some children.

Several men argue over the burial of a man, an undertaker refuses to bury him despite the protestations of a paying customer simply because he is an ‘Indian’. When two men decide to step in and help, they are faced with insults such as ‘Indian lover’ and are even shot at.

A man stumbles into a saloon, seeing a man who he is angry with, he rants and raves at him and even shoots around him while the man simply ignores him. This level of anger, especially from someone who is drunk, could be confusing and little upsetting for some kids.

The women of the village are kept hidden, the dialogue explicitly explains that this is because the villagers fear that they will be raped by the bandits or the newcomers.

There are numerous deaths, including more than one established character. The villagers do not have guns so when they fight, they pick up anything they can that will act as a weapon, including axes, machetes, table legs, even wooden stools and are seen to bludgeon their adversaries although very little is shown that could be considered graphic. Some blood is seen from wounds and occasionally a knife is thrown which is seen directly to stab into a character  but again, little blood or gore is seen. One man dies with his eyes open, looking away from the screen.

CAN I SEE A CLIP?

VERDICT

‘The Magnificent Seven’ may initially seem somewhat dated but its timeless message, great sense of humour and action-packed plot ensures that it is a classic for a reason. Due to some violence and deaths, we feel this movie should be appropriate for most kids aged six and over.

  • Violence: 2/5
  • Emotional Distress: 1/5 (more than one established character is killed, one in particular is mourned by those who care about them)
  • Fear Factor: 0/5
  • Bad Language: 1/5 (infrequent mild blasphemy)
  • Dialogue: 3/5
  • Other Notes: Deals with themes of self sacrifice, protecting vulnerable strangers, the various reasons to do good, the meaning of cowardice and bravery, fighting for a cause instead of financial gain and camaraderie.

Words by Laura Record

The Magnificent Seven [Blu-ray] [1960]


New From: £5.73 GBP In Stock

Related Posts

Share this review!Share on Facebook1Share on Google+1Tweet about this on TwitterShare on Tumblr0Pin on Pinterest0Share on StumbleUpon0Share on Reddit0Digg thisEmail this to someone