In 1960, John Sturges turned Akira Kurosawa's Seven Samurai into an American western--starring Yul Brynner, Charles Bronson, Steve McQueen, Brad Dexter, Robert Vaughn, Horst Buchholz and James Coburn.
Like in the original Seven, a small band of mercenaries are hired by a poor village--in this case set in a Mexican border town--to protect them from roving bandits. While Kurosawa's masterless samurai were all peak warriors, the Magnificent Seven are far from magnificent. Yul Brynner plays the lead--Chris, a Cajun gunslinger--who decides to recruit any men he can find willing to take on the potentially dangerous job for little pay.
Thinking that their mere presence will deter the thieves with no violence, Chris brings on anyone he can find. He finds an inexperienced Chico and his treasure seeking friend, Harry Luck first and then Vin a broke gambler and Bernardo O'Reilly, a struggling Mexican-Irish gunfighter before finally settling on Britt, a challenge-thirsty cowboy and Lee, a fugitive gunman, to round out their posse. Chris' predictions are quickly proven wrong as the crooked bandits prove relentless to the final, magnificent standoff.
The film was not initially a success in the US, but it developed a following after some of it's leading men, Bronson and McQueen, became superstars through the next two decades and it now holds the rank of 2nd most played film on TV just under The Wizard of Oz. The movie did prove popular in the UK and the huge profit it turned there inspired three sequels, Return of the Seven, Guns of the Magnificent Seven and The Magnificent Seven Ride. Not to mention the famous theme and score by Elmer Bernstein!