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  • Widescreen 2.35:1
  • 16:9 Enhanced
  • Dual Layer (RSDL 91:41)
  • English: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • English: Dolby Digital Stereo
    English, French, German, Italian, Dutch, Portuguese, English - Hearing Impaired, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish, German - Hearing Impaired
  • 5 Theatrical trailer
  • Audio commentary
  • Photo gallery
  • Animated menus
  • Digitally remastered
  • Documentaries

The Magnificent Seven

MGM/20th Century Fox . R4 . COLOR . 126 mins . PG . PAL


After watching all too many westerns as a child, when the opportunity came up to review this disc I jumped at the chance. The Magnificent Seven is a classic western epic that has the usual intensity and gun-slinging action that we all love in this type of movie.

The story line is a relatively simple one, one that is supported by great dialogue and fantastic acting. Seven hired gunmen are trying to save a Mexican village from being pillaged by local bandits. Each gunman has his own reasons for being involved, but they are all united under the common goal of removing the fear from the townsfolk, and ridding the village of the evil marauders. Each character is centred on as the film continues, and we discover more about their earlier lives. The action intensifies in the lead up to the final showdown where the seven men have to defend the village from a force over 100 strong.

The Magnificent Seven was a landmark western that catapulted the careers of many of the cast. In retrospect an awesome cast was assembled, including Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, James Coburn, and Yul Brynner. Each actor strived to show the true grit of their character when put in a perilous situation.

But what is it that sets The Magnificent Seven up as one of the best westerns of all time? Perhaps it was the on-screen chemistry that was shared amongst the characters that made this classic just a little more magical. It appears as if they are all enjoying themselves on screen, and the bond between the characters is so strong that you just canít help but feel empathy for them all. On the contrary though it is revealed in the documentary that it was the rivalry and competition between them that inspired their great performances. Either way, it comes out looking fantastic on screen. These epic heroes steal the show and make it impossible not to care about the outcome.

"Ah, that was the greatest shot I've ever seen... The worst! I was aiming at the horse."


Now Iíll say it right from the top, this transfer is far from perfect, but considering this movie is over 40 years old it has come up looking pretty good. Presented with an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, The Magnificent Seven comes to us widescreen enhanced and is undoubtedly the best home video release of the title ever. The colours look vibrant, especially the reds and blacks, with all other colours looking very natural and clean. Shadow detail also looks surprisingly good with detail on the whole coming up rather sharp, crisp and clear except for only a few scenes that suffer from excess grain.

During certain scenes it would be quite easy to forget that this film has beena round for 41 years, but unfortunately it still has its faults. The most common problem is of course the film artefacts, which are rife right throughout the movie. It must be said though that the film has been looked after remarkably well, and the effort gone into re-mastering this movie is quite amazing.

Aliasing is also a minor problem that re-occurs only a few times during the film and, as such, isnít that big a distraction. Some region 1 reviews say that aliasing is a major problem in their transfer. I was looking terribly hard for aliasing and found very few noticeable distractions due to it. Grain is also a minor problem, but only really sticks out badly in a few scenes, otherwise itís negligible. Everything else seems to have come up looking all right.

The RSDL change occurs at 91:41 and is only noticeable due to a slight pause that occurs when the camera has a still frame shot of Yul Brynner. Despite it not being done between a scene change, which would have been better, the fact that the camera isnít moving makes it almost unnoticeable. The film artefacts are, due to the age of course, the major fault with this movie, but in all it must be said that the transfer itself is fantastic. I donít think The Magnificent Seven has ever looked this good.


Despite what some other reviewers have said, I was quite impressed by the sound on this disc. The movie is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 with a whopping bitrate of 448 kilobits per second. Again, considering the age of the film, thatís a pretty hefty soundtrack. When paying close attention youíll notice that both the front and rear surrounds get a fairly reasonable work out that is not that far out of step from most modern release movies. The subwoofer also come in for some good use during this film, which again is surprising.

However, the centre channel does dominate most of the sound, only venturing into the surrounds when required for sound effects and musical backing. This in my opinion is appropriate for this movie and is put to adequate use without sounding tacky or overdone. This is a western and not a science fiction movie, youíve got to be reasonable and judge the sound on its appropriateness to that genre, and this soundtrack is much more than I expected.

The Oscar nominated score by Elmer Bernstein, a classic that almost everyone can recognise, blasts through all the channels, the rear speakers inclusive. The ricochet effects of off-target bullets also bounce around the room, making this disc the best sounding release of this movie EVER.

The dialogue is also clear, and easy to hear in almost every scene, even when the Mexicans tend to mumble and ramble on. There are no audio sync problems and as stated above, the music score sounds amazing. This is a soundtrack that a lot of modern films could be envious of, and considering it's aged forty years and more, itís a pretty good effort.

A high bitrate, clear dialogue, reasonable surround channel and subwoofer action, and all for a movie that has aged over forty years. Iíve got to take my hat off to MGM, they have certainly done this movie credit.


Now this is what I like to see for extra features on a disc, quality instead of quantity. The front runner is a fantastic audio commentary containing a non-stop discussion from the likes of producer Walter Mirisch, assistant director Robert Relyea and stars of the movie Eli Wallach and James Coburn. This audio commentary appears to have been put together recently and covers everything youíd want out of an audio commentary. Having the four involved in this commentary really kept it interesting and was a great insight into the film and how it was made. Iím not usually a fan of audio commentaries, but this one is definitely worth a listen.

Next up on the ranks is another great extra, a 45-minute documentary which covers almost everything there is to know about this film. Starting with an explanation of how The Magnificent Seven was transferred from a Japanese film named the Seven Samurai to an American classic, this documentary covers it all, including various insights into the several controversies that followed the film during its production. Even Yul Brynner comes back from beyond the grave to put his two bob's worth in about acquiring the rights to the film (or so he thought), and his behind the scenes blues with Steve McQueen, who was at that stage still a Hollywood nobody. There are also interviews with most of the surviving cast and crew members and their families, as well as comments by other modern film critics, actors, and writers that werenít even involved in the production. Overall this is a fitting tribute to a classic movie and provides an informative look into how the film was made and the problems experienced during the filming in Mexico.

There is also a very conclusive stills gallery of photos from behind the scenes, promotional shots, poster art, production art and the such. This is one of the more extensive photo galleries that Iíve ever seen in a movie, and is implemented well within the animated menus.

There are also two theatrical trailers for the first film, and a trailer each for the three sequels that came after this one. Itís a shame that the sequels werenít able to recreate the magic of the first (or reunite the same cast), however these five trailers are a nice touch for this disc, adding a touch of nostalgia and an insight into the later sequels.

Presented in stylish animated menus this movie shines as soon as the MGM logo fires up. We appear to get the exact same set of features that both region 1 and region 2 receive. Obviously with the benefit of PAL encoding the region 4 disc is the clear choice.


The Magnificent Seven has it all, hot shot gun slinging, an epic storyline, lovable characters, and great humour. If youíre a fan of westerns then you should have already added this one to your collection. It is really hard to walk past a classic like this, especially considering the fantastic transfer and great extras. As John Carpenter summed it up, The Magnificent Seven may not be the greatest western of all time, but it is definitely the most fun. A great action/comedy that the whole family can enjoy. I suggest you hop onto your horse and mosey on downtown to pick yourself up a copy, now!

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  •  DVD NET Gold Review List 
      And I quote...
    "Saddle up partners, The Magnificent Seven is now on DVD, looking and sounding better than ever before!"
    - Nathan Clark
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Pioneer DV-636
    • TV:
          LG 80cm
    • Speakers:
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard RCA
    • Video Cables:
          standard s-video
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