The Magnificent Seven: The Greatest Cast List Of Any Western?

By | July 15, 2020

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Steve McQueen (1930 - 1980) as Vin and Yul Brynner (1920 - 1985) as Chris in 'The Magnificent Seven', 1960. (Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images)

The Magnificent Seven didn’t just reinvent the western for the 20th century -- by putting genre actors like Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson together on screen, it basically invented a high-powered action ensemble formula we still see today. Whether it's The Dirty Dozen (1967), Young Guns (1988), The Expendables (2010), or the current massive franchises in the Fast & Furious universe and the Marvel Cinematic Universe, we've grown accustomed to seeing our screens packed with handfuls of leading actors. This 1960 western brought together one of the greatest casts that we’ve ever seen and it set the template for dozens of action blockbusters that followed. 

Based on Akira Kurosawa's Seven Samurai, The Magnificent Seven follows a disparate group of gunfighters who come together to save a small Mexican village from a roving gang of bandits. It’s the ultimate western, and each of the actors who worked on this film turned in the performance of a lifetime. 

Yul Brynner wanted to be the only star in the film

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source: United Artists

In 1960 there was no one who was as good at playing a tough as nails cowboy as Yul Brynner. It’s hard to watch Brynner as Chris Adams and not want to join up with his posse. Adams is the classic seen-it-all hero who sees his position in life as nothing more than knowing how to shoot a gun. Famously, Brynner hated working with Steve McQueen, his younger co-star on the picture.

Brynner felt that McQueen was constantly trying to show him up in scenes by playing with his hat and fiddling with his gun. Brynner was reportedly so insecure about McQueen’s star power that he had an assistant count the lines of dialogue that each actor had so he could be sure that he had a bigger part.