I’ve seen both the original and the latest version of this movie and if I’m honest, I didn’t really get it at first. I read that the original wasn’t very well received until some foreigner in the movie industry fell in love with it. It was because of him that the original didn’t fade into anonymity. (If I remember the story correctly.) I thought the second was better. It had more depth to its dialogue and more comedy and even more memorable characters (although I’m sorry, as much as I love Denzel, he wasn’t Yul Brenner). Even still, I found myself wondering why this movie has been so beloved through time and I think it’s because it’s the story of Christ.
Paul writes in Romans 5 that “Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Who does that? Who is willing to die for another man? Even more, who is willing to die for strangers?
Well, that’s the story of The Magnificent Seven. Whatever they may have been in life, murderers, thieves, outlaws… in the end, they were willing to fight for the helpless, for strangers even. Not only were they willing to fight someone else’s fight, but they knew the odds going in—there was almost no chance for survival. They were willingly laying down their lives for a group of strangers, with no real hope of monetary gain should they survive. There was no benefit in it for them, except for the satisfaction of doing good. As Jack Horn put it, “To be in the service of others with men that I respect like you all—I shouldn’t have to ask for more than that.”
There are plenty of other memorable lessons in the movie and things worth talking about, but let’s not miss the biggie, here. This is the story of a group of men doing for the weak and helpless what Jesus did for us. They died for them. They defeated the enemy so that they might live in freedom.