Seven Samurai (1954). In doing so they managed to come up trumps in every way with the first film in the series.
The John Ford-esque clique; the men beholden to nothing but their own moral code; recurring good and bad guy themes (by Elmer Bernstein); and even the split between the recruit, preparation and battle phases are all instantly recognisable pre-existing elements to fans of both the Western and Chanbara genre, but it’s still indelibly iconic in its own 'magnificent' way.
Much of the appeal can be attributed to the cast. The seven protagonists and the man in their gun-barrel sights, the inimitable Eli Wallach, each remain cool under pressure; if they don't it's because the story demanded it.
4½ civic improvements out of 5