Follow TV Tropes


Characters / The Magnificent Seven (1960)

Go To

Chris Adams (Yul Brynner, George Kennedynote , Lee Van Cleefnote )
Chris: "I've been offered a lot for my work, but never everything."

A veteran gunslinger of Cajun origin. When he hears from the villagers why they hope to try and barter for guns and ammunition, he suggests that they would be better served trying to recruit professional gunmen to defend them instead. Though initially reluctant to accept the role, in the end, he assembles a Ragtag Band of Misfits and leads the defense of the village. The only character to appear in all four films.


Vin (Steve McQueen, Robert Fuller)
Vin: Reminds me of that fellow back home that fell off a ten story building.
Chris: What about him?
Vin: Well, as he was falling people on each floor kept hearing him say, "So far, so good." Tch, so far, so good.

A drifter and a gambler currently completely bankrupt due to losing at poker, he joins the defense because he can't stand the alternative of working off the debt in a store. One of the three members of the initial band to survive, he returns only for the first sequel.

  • Beware the Nice Ones: He's jovial, laid-back and easygoing, yet also one of the deadliest gunslingers in the film.
  • Deadpan Snarker
  • The Drifter: He's just wandering until he meets Chris.
  • Establishing Character Moment: When he and Chris escort a dead Indian to a cemetery whilst under fire.
  • The Gambler: Not a very good one, having lost everything at poker.
  • Guns Akimbo: Carries two guns (a Colt Single Action Army 7.5-inch barrel and a Colt Single Action Army 5.5-inch barrel), though not at once.
  • The Gunslinger
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Chris.
  • Knight in Sour Armor: He's quick to shoot down Chico's romanticised view of a gunslinger.
    Chico: Villages like this they make up a song about every big thing that happens. Sing them for years.
    Chris: You think it's worth it?
    Chico: Don't you?
    Chris: It's only a matter of knowing how to shoot a gun. Nothing big about that.
    Chico: Hey. How can you talk like this? Your gun has got you everything you have. Isn't that true? Hmm? Well, isn't that true?
    Vin: Yeah, sure. Everything. After awhile you can call bartenders and faro dealers by their first name - maybe two hundred of 'em! Rented rooms you live in - five hundred! Meals you eat in hash houses - a thousand! Home - none! Wife - none! Kids... none! Prospects - zero.
  • The Lancer
  • Nice Guy
  • Number Two
  • Real Men Wear Pink: He wears a pink-looking shirt for most of the film.
  • The Stoic

Bernardo O'Reilly (Charles Bronson)
An Irish/Mexican gunslinger who joins the band due to having fallen on hard times.

  • Character Death: Shot by the fleeing bandits while trying to protect three boys. He exchanges a few words with the boys about their fathers before he dies.
  • Deadpan Snarker: When Chris first meets up with him, he's chopping wood. Chris says he heard Bernardo was "down on his luck". Bernardo's reply is "No, I'm doing this because I'm an eccentric millionaire."
  • Establishing Character Moment: He doesn't stop chopping wood as he snarks back at Chris.
  • Fallen-on-Hard-Times Job: He was once a highly-paid Bounty Hunter, but now works chopping wood for his breakfast so he's willing to accept the measly pay the villagers are offering.
    "Twenty dollars? Right now, that's a lot."
  • Friend to All Children
  • Friendly Sniper: He's often posted on rooftops with his rifle.
  • The Heart: He's the one who points out that while the gunmen eat nice meals, the villagers have tortillas and a few beans. They soon fix that...
  • How the Mighty Have Fallen: He was a well-paid Bounty Hunter; now he has to chop wood for a living, so even the measly pay the villagers are offering is a fortune.
  • Instant Fan Club: Deconstructed — the mob of kids who follow him around everywhere end up getting him killed as they wander out into a gunfight and he tries to get them into cover.
  • Knight in Sour Armor: He has nothing to show for a lifetime of exploits and even laments the fact that he never got to settle down with a family like the villagers did.
  • Multi-Ethnic Name: Bernardo O'Reilly: "Irish on one side, Mexican on the other, and me in the middle."
  • Nice Guy
  • Say My Name: Invokes this as he dies.
  • The Stoic
  • Unwanted Assistance: invokedWithin the film, his Instant Fan Club ends up getting him killed during the final battle when he has to pay attention to protecting them instead of being able to concentrate on what he's doing.

Lee (Robert Vaughn)
A veteran gunslinger of considerable skill who is suffering from a crisis of confidence, as the terrifying reputation he has built has made life difficult for him and his nerve has been shattered due to all the deaths on his hands.

  • Broken Ace: Lee is a Deconstruction of the swaggering gunslinger archetype. He is originally found sleeping in a stable for an extortive rent because the innkeeper won't rent a proper room to him for fear that he'll get into a fight inside the inn. He's skittish and paranoid from being jumped too many times, and has nightmares from the fights he's been in.
  • Canon Foreigner: He is the only one of the seven who isn't directly adapted from Seven Samurai. His characterization as a fighter who's lost his nerve would have been unbecoming of any samurai (especially the ronin at the beginning of Seven Samurai who is fed by the farmers and spends his money on gambling).
  • Catapult Nightmare: He scrambles across his room in a panic when he awakens from a nightmare.
  • The Dandy: He's undoubtedly the best dressed of the seven.
  • Deconstruction: Of the gunslinger archetype. His sharp eye, fast hands, and take-no-crap attitude has given him... a life of jumping at every shadow for fear of the next person to try to take his title, and paying exorbitant amounts of money to sleep in stables and storehouses because inn-keepers are afraid their place will be shot up if they let him have a room.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Demanding his money up front to cover the exorbitant cost of his terrible lodgings.
  • Expy: Subverted and later lampshaded. While Lee is not a direct adaptation of any of the Seven Samurai, Robert Vaughn, twenty years later, in a film which was intentionally The Magnificent Seven...In Space!, would revisit the role as a character who was almost identical, albeit less sympathetic.
  • How the Mighty Have Fallen: While trying to catch flies in his hand. "There was a time I could have got all three."
  • Nervous Wreck: He's become completely paranoid due to frequent attempts on his life. No civilian wants him around because of the inevitable violence that will happen when someone tries to kill Lee to take his fame, and his nerves are completely shot from his experiences.
  • Nice Guy: Hinted at, with his interactions with the villagers.
  • The Quiet One: Except for Britt, he speaks the fewest lines. He has 16 while Britt has 11.
  • The Paranoiac: He's a jumpy paranoid wreck due to the repeated and near constant attempts on his life from individuals trying to kill the famous gunslinger to take his fame.
  • The Perils of Being the Best: His life as a deadly and notorious gunfighter had led to him constantly being attacked by men who want to claim his reputation for themselves, which in turn has left him a paranoid and lonely wreck.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Finally finds his nerve in the climactic final battle and ends up killed right afterward.
  • Scrap Heap Hero: He starts as a sunsetting gunfighter, who lives hiding from his numerous enemies, fearing the bullet faster than his own which will eventually kill him. He hides even during the first confrontation with Calvera. But, during the climax, he faces his demons and saves a group of farmers, dispatching quickly a bunch of bandits and showing that he really is a hell of a gunfighter. After this, his posture and expression seem to show that he has regained the courage of his old days (and, in a twist of irony, he is then immediately killed by a random bullet).
  • Sharp-Dressed Man: Stylishly, in the gunslinger equivalent of a tailored business suit.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: Not from a "formal" war...but his own war of being a long-time gunfighter.
  • The Sixth Ranger
  • The Smart Guy
  • The Stoic: Very quiet and withdrawn, but in a more sensitive fashion.
    • Not So Stoic: Is shown screaming for mercy while he had that nightmare.

Harry Luck (Brad Dexter)
A greedy treasure seeker and Chris' best friend.

  • Changed My Mind, Kid: When he returns for the final battle.
  • Con Man
  • The Everyman
  • Let Them Die Happy: As he lies dying, he begs Chris to admit that they weren't actually fighting for a bunch of dirt farmers for room, board, and twenty dollars. Chris obliges, spinning a yarn about gold that puts a smile on Harry's face before the end.
  • Only in It for the Money: He's convinced that there has to be some kind of hidden profit motivating Chris and the others to take on such an apparently unprofitable job, and spends most of the film trying to find out what it is. He is, accordingly, the only one of the seven who decides to walk away after Sotero sells them out to Calvera, when it becomes clear that there is no profit to be had. Subverted when Harry returns during the final shootout, saving Chris at the cost of his own life.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Rides back into town to help Chris, but is shot and killed by the Bandits.
    Harry: I'll be damned. [dies]
    Chris: Maybe you won't be.
  • The Smart Guy
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: With Chris.

Britt (James Coburn)
A quiet cowboy who's just as skilled with a knife as with a gun, and joins the Seven to further test his skills.

  • Accidental Aiming Skills: He kills a bandit fleeing on horseback with a single pistol shot from a longish distance. When Chico calls it the best shot he's ever seen, Britt calls it the worst - he had aimed for the horse, because he wanted to take one of the bandits alive and question him about the strength of the bandit group.
  • Badass Baritone: Britt has a deep, smooth voice (courtesy of James Coburn) that oozes badassery.
  • Badass Boast: Chris delivers one for him by proxy, describing him to the villagers as the best they could hope to find with gun or knife, completely uninterested in money.
    Miguel: If he is the best with a gun and a knife, with whom does he compete?
    Chris: Himself.
    • He delivers another one when the seven, after getting kicked out of town, are debating whether or not to go back. It's one of his longest lines.
    Britt: Nobody throws me my own gun and says run. Nobody.
  • The Big Guy
  • Changed My Mind, Kid: Originally turned down an offer to join.
  • Character Death: Shot by the bandits as they flee after Calvera is killed. He rises to his feet and draws his knife, but falls over dead, the knife sticking into the wall in front of him.
  • Chekhov's Knife: Subverted, as he draws his famous blade during the final battle, but is shot to death before he can use it.
  • The Drifter: He was traveling to no place in particular when Chris tracks him down.
  • Establishing Character Moment: In his opening scene, (which lasts 2:28) he only speaks a total of five words. He also uses a knife in a gunfight and wins.
  • Expy: Of Kyuzo, and the biggest Expy of the bunch. James Coburn said he deliberately incorporated Seiji Miyaguchi's performance as Kyuzo into his performance.
  • Fastest Gun in the West: He's fast with both guns and knives. Early in the movie, he shows just how fast he is by using a thrown knife to kill an opponent who has a gun.
  • The Gunslinger: He's unquestionably stated to be the best Quick Draw alive with both gun and knife and proves it, though it's not enough to keep him from being killed in the climactic firefight.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: He takes several seconds to line up a pistol shot from a longish distance, and he still claims to have missed his intended target.
  • Knife Nut: His weapon of choice is a throwing knife. His introduction to the audience is him being forced into a face-off against a guy who fancies himself a gunslinger: his gun against Britt's throwing knife. Britt wins. This isn't to say that he's not also a very good marksman with a gun.
  • The Quiet One: Britt is very quiet, using as few words as humanly possible. Throughout the entire film he has only eleven lines, most of them quite short.
  • Silent Snarker: Despite his terseness, Britt has no difficulty communicating his opinions. His response to a hotheaded cowboy trying to provoke him with insults is to pointedly pull his hat down over his eyes and go back to napping.
  • Spirited Competitor: As described by Chris, Britt doesn't care about money - it's the challenge to his skills that motivates him.
  • The Stoic

Chico (Horst Buchholz, Julian Mateos)
A young, inexperienced gunslinger who wants to make a name for himself. Having given up on the gunslinger life to marry Petra, he is thusly one of the fifty men kidnapped to be slaves in the first sequel.

  • Badass in Distress: During the second film.
  • Bavarian Fire Drill: He rings the village church bell, pretending that the bandits are coming, to bring the villagers out to give the Seven a proper greeting.
  • Boomerang Bigot: He really dislikes farmers, but ends up becoming one himself at the end so that he can stay in the village with Petra.
  • Call to Agriculture: Despite explicitly stating in an earlier scene that he had no intention of settling down, he does just this at the end so that he can stay with Petra.
  • Clothing Damage: His hat gets a hole shot through it. Britt gives a sombrero to replace it, which comes in handy when infiltrating Calvera's camp.
  • Composite Character: Of Katsushiro (the inexperienced young man who has a relationship with a farmer's daughter) and Kikuchiyo (the hotheaded wannabe who comes from a farming village).
  • Dressing as the Enemy: He successfully infiltrates Calvera's camp in sombrero.
  • Guile Hero: What strikes the viewer about Chico is that he's not the best gunfighter, so he uses his wits to prove himself useful, such as his Bavarian Fire Drill tactic and his infiltration of Calvera's camp.
  • The Gunfighter Wannabe: The rest of the group tries to dissuade him from going along with them, since they believe that his pride is only going to get himself killed.
  • Hot-Blooded: The most of the Seven.
  • I Choose to Stay: In the end, he decides to abandon his ambitions of becoming a gunfighter and settles down in the village.
  • Kid-Appeal Character
  • Large Ham: At times. Not as wacky as Kikuchiyo, but has a few moments.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: He lacks the patience of his comrades, charging into a shoot-out and nearly getting his head blown off and attempting to pistol-whip Calvera. In the latter case, Chris manages to stop him getting killed right there and then.
  • Meaningful Name: Chico means "kid" in Spanish.
  • Naïve Newcomer
  • The Runt at the End: He tags along behind the other more experienced gunslingers on the ride to the Mexican village.
  • Sarcasm-Blind: Vin and Chris sarcastically suggest that he go and ask Calvera his plans for the night. Chico does exactly that, infiltrating Calvera's camp and even speaking directly with Calvera under the cover of the particularly dim fire in the camp. Without being discovered as a spy, Chico slips away from Calvera's camp, returns to the village, and tells everyone the awful truth that Calvera's men are starving and have nowhere else to turn for food.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: A half-example, since he's a composite of Kikuchiyo, who dies, and Katsushiro, who lives.
  • Tagalong Kid
  • The Team Wannabe
  • Token Romance: With Petra.
  • Young Gun: He may be a young hot-head, but he proves to be good with his gun, familiar with the countryside and farming villages like the one they're defending, and generally quite clever.

Calvera (Eli Wallach)
The enigmatic leader of the bandits terrorizing the village.

  • Affably Evil: In fact, during the making of the film, Brynner said that Wallach was too benevolent as Calvera.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: You feel at least a little bit of pity for him when he dies.
  • Backstab Backfire: Tries to shoot Chris in the back during the final battle. However, Chris is too quick for him and kills him.
  • Badass Mustache
  • Bad Boss: An extremely mild version. He doesn't outright abuse his men; he even openly admits the responsibility he carries for looking after them. But he seems cold and careless about the casualties from the first gunfight (unless he's upset about the loss as well and doesn't want to think about it.)
    Calvera: Talk, talk! They´re all dead anyway. Forget about them. There´s still plenty of us here to make them pay.
  • Bandito
  • Beard of Evil: With a wispy mustache.
  • Big Bad: Organised and put together enough to be a serious threat.
  • Dies Wide Open: After his Famous Last Words.
  • The Dreaded: Is mentioned frequently throughout and has about five appearances in the entire film.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: He's appalled at the lack of religion and how a church is impoverished. He still robbed it, though.
    • He's also critical of the white privilege that criminals get north of the border. "In Texas", he declares, "only Texans can rob banks".
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: "You came back... For a place like this? Why? A man like you — Why...?"
  • Evil Is Hammy: And steals every scene.
  • Famous Last Words: See Evil Cannot Comprehend Good.
  • Girly Run: As characteristic of his actor, his run is quite dainty and delicate.
  • Gold Tooth: Has a couple of them.
  • Good Hair, Evil Hair: His hair is sweaty and slicked down.
  • Hypocrite Has a Point: When he sends the Seven away, he gives them an anecdote about the time he robbed a bank in Texas and the government sent a whole army after him. Although he had an army sent after him because he had a gang of forty men, Calvera correctly states that the Seven, who are mostly white, will get a fair trial and be released on bail if caught, while Calvera's gang, all Mexican, will be racially profiled almost instantly.
  • It's All About Me: Though he has to think about providing food for his many men as well.
  • Jerkass: Crass, mean and cruel to the farmers.
    "If God didn't want them sheared, he would not have made them sheep."
  • Leitmotif: An awesome one that made Eli wish he'd ridden his horse better.
  • Nice Hat: A black sombrero.
  • Pet the Dog: He steals to provide for his men.
    Calvera: What if you had to carry my load, huh? The need to provide food, like a good father, to fill the mouths of his hungry men. Guns, ammunition — you know how much money that costs? Huh? Huh?
  • Pragmatic Villain: He tries this by letting the Seven live: besides not expecting them to come back, he doesn't want their friends returning for revenge. But this winds up being a huge, ultimately fatal miscalculation on his part.
  • Red and Black and Evil All Over: Wears a garish red shirt that offsets his black trousers and hat.
  • Smug Snake: Pompous and likes to hear himself talk.
  • Villainous Valour: Although he usually sends out scouts to steal and fight for him, he isn't afraid to fight on the front line in the final battle.
  • Weapon of Choice: A Colt Single Action Army "Quick Draw" (4.75 inch barrel).


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: