Remade as: The Magnificent Seven
Akira Kurosawa was an open admirer of John Ford, Hollywood’s classic director of Westerns set against epic landscapes. So when John Sturges remade Seven Samurai as a Western, The Magnificent Seven, he was only returning the favor. Kurosawa’s tale of a group of freelance samurai who offer their services to protect a poor village beset by bandits plays on typically Japanese themes of honor and self-sacrifice, but it’s easy to see how it also works as a Western-style story of lawlessness vs. civilization on the remote frontier.
Both the samurai and the gunslingers take their inspiration from an older, wiser , steadier man (Takashi Shimura here, Yul Brynner in Magnificent) with an air of manly stoicism and quiet grace. Of course, Sturges has an invaluable ally in Elmer Bernstein’s famously rousing instrumental score, while Kurosawa lets his sweeping camera and the lived-in faces of his actors do most of the work for him.