It’s nigh on impossible to pick between Akira Kurosawa’s (The Seven Samurai, 1954) and John Sturges’ epics. But what a pleasure it is trying to work it out. The original’s plot, of a 16th century Japanese village hiring a band of samurai to ward off marauding bandits, was arguably Kurosawa’s paean to the work of John Ford in his early westerns. Sturges decided to load his version with star names, each one bigger than the last (Yul Brynner! James Coburn! Robert Vaughn! Charles Bronson! Steve McQueen!), and their considerable charisma, along with stunning set pieces and a truly memorable score, may just tip the balance in its favor. But there’s no dishonor in disagreeing.