There have been actors and musicians that exuded cool…Steve McQueen would be one of the top ones…and he was just starting in this movie…and not the star.
This cast is just incredible… Along with McQueen, you have Charles Bronson, James Coburn, Eli Wallach, Robert Vaughn, Horst Buchholz, Brad Dexter, and the great Yul Brynner. We are not talking about cameos here…Brynner is the unquestioned leader of this band of mercenary gunfighters…but money is not the most important thing to most of them. They believe in Brynner’s character and the adventure.
I could go through talking about each actor, but I won’t…there are a few I’ll touch on. Eli Wallach… did a masterful portrayal of Calvera. He is one actor that I would have loved to have met. His personality was so big in films, but he didn’t over act…he was just that good.
The actor that caught my attention the most in this was the newcomer of the seven. Chico, played brilliantly by Horst Buchholz. His character was young, impatient, cocky, but a nice kid who you saw grow in the movie. He wanted to join the six fighters, but he wasn’t accepted until he persisted and wore Chris Larrabee Adams (Yul Brynner) down.
John Sturges directed this movie and also The Great Escape plus Gunfight at the O.K. Corral. This movie was not shot on some studio backlot somewhere. It was real locations and it showed.
A brief look at the plot. A gang of bandits terrorizes a small Mexican farming village each year. They ride in and take what they want like the village is their own personal store. Several of the village elders send three of the farmers into the United States to search for gunmen to defend them. They end up with seven, each of whom comes for a different reason. They must prepare the town to beat an army of thirty bandits who will arrive wanting food. In came the Magnificent Seven to defend the village and teach the farmers how to fight.
A little trivia about the movie. Yul Brynner had a major role in casting, and he wanted Steve McQueen in the movie. At the time McQueen was in a television western called Wanted: Dead or Alive.
They ended up not getting along because McQueen supposedly was trying to upstage Brynner. When McQueen was dying of cancer he called Brynner and made up with him for the trouble in the film. McQueen said: “I had to make it up with Yul ’cause without him I wouldn’t have been in that picture.”
It’s not only a great western, it has comedy, drama, and most of all…all the characters are real. There is a reason some of them were huge at the time and others went on to be not only popular but legends.
Yul Brynner … Chris Larabee Adams
Eli Wallach … Calvera
Steve McQueen … Vin Tanner
Horst Buchholz … Chico
Charles Bronson … Bernardo O’Reilly
Robert Vaughn … Lee
Brad Dexter … Harry Luck
James Coburn … Britt
Jorge Martínez de Hoyos … Hilario (as Jorge Martinez de Hoyas)
Vladimir Sokoloff … Old Man
Rosenda Monteros … Petra
Rico Alaniz … Sotero
Pepe Hern … Tomas
Natividad Vacío … Villager (as Natividad Vacio)
Mario Navarro … Boy with O’Reilly