However, while itís a classical western, itís also distinct in that Sturges assembled an incredibly unique cast, most of who were unknowns at the time, but became stars in its wake. The only real star in the film was Yul Brynner, with this being his follow-up to THE KING & I, and ANASTASIA. Certainly, he cuts a far different western figure than someone like John Wayne or Alan Ladd. His ambiguous European accent, and completely shaven head- coupled with his head-to-toe black clothing are unique. Of course, good guys always wear black these days, but his Chris, whose background is never really revealed, is an anti-hero, in that itís obvious that heís a hired killer- trying to redeem himself somewhat by defending the village.
Brynnerís incredible, but Steve McQueen steals the show. This is mainly due to the fact that McQueen, relentlessly hogs the camera whenever he gets the chance. Keep an eye on him throughout the film, and youíll notice that whenever heís in a shot, heís never still. After this came out, McQueen became a star, and within a few years heíd be even more iconic than Brynner.
Charles Bronson and James Coburn had both been around for a while before SEVEN, but this really put them on the map and, along with McQueen, they both got juicy roles in John Sturges next epic, THE GREAT ESCAPE.
Of the SEVEN, the only actor who didnít go on to some kind of stardom was Brad Dexter, whoís best known these days for having been part of Frank Sinatraís entourage. SEVEN landed Robert Vaughn his signature role of Napoleon Solo in THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E, and Horst Buchholz went onto a long career in Europe, although for me heís the one link- as heís a tad too German to be playing a Mexican.
Other than Brynner, Eli Wallach was probably the biggest name in the cast, and itís not a stretch to assume his role as Calvera had a major influence on his part in THE GOOD, THE BAD, & THE UGLY.
That said, the most memorable thing about THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN is Elmer Bernsteinís immortal score, which is among the most recognizable themes in film history. Chances are, if youíve seen the film, youíre humming it right now. The cast, coupled with the direction and the score makes this a classic in anyoneís book.