A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Magnificent Seven is a classic Western filled with gun violence. Characters drink, smoke, get in fights, shoot at one another, and often display racist and sexist tendencies. It is based on a Japanese film from 1954 called Seven Samurai and was itself remade in 2016's The Magnificent Seven.
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What's the story?
THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN tells the tale of a tiny village kept at the brink of poverty by Calvera (Eli Wallach) and his bandits. Apparently, if your Mexican peasant village is being harassed by a band of thieves, the thing to do is to enlist the help of a black hat-wearing cowboy. The villagers enlist Chris Adam (Yul Brynner) and six other gunmen to defend them. The gunmen all choose to help for different reasons, and much of the film is dedicated to characterizing the gunmen as they help the town get ready to fight back against Calvera's gang.
Is it any good?
This particularly good example of the Western genre is based on an earlier Japanese film, Akira Kurosawa's 1954 masterpiece Seven Samurai. The Magnificent Seven is steeped in elements of the Western genre, from the pistols to the saloons to the good guy/bad guy plot. The cast does well, and Yul Brynner is especially charismatic on-screen. The film has not aged particularly well, though, and the pacing will feel slow to viewers not used to films of the period.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about race and wild west mythmaking in The Magnificent Seven. Why do the villagers need American cowboys to help save them? Is what the "magnificent seven" do in any way "noble"?
The use of white actors wearing make-up to portray the Mexican characters also merits some attention. Why do you think filmmakers did that? Do you find it offensive?
Does violence have the same impact in a movie like this as in an action movie like Live Free or Die Hard? Why or why not? Which type of movie violence do you find more affecting and/or upsetting?
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