Chris Adams (character)

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Chris Adams
Portrayed by Yul Brynner
George Kennedy
Lee Van Cleef
Denzel Washington
Michael Biehn
Gender Male
Occupation United States Marshals Service
Title Warrant officer
Nationality American

Chris Adams is a fictional character in the 1960 western film The Magnificent Seven, originally played by Yul Brynner, whose portrayal of Chris Adams resembles Takashi Shimura's representation of Kambei.[1]


Chris Adams, a Cajun,[2] is the laconic leader of a band of seven gunmen. He always wears black, smokes cigars, and shoots sharp. He is a man of principle, incorruptible and sturdy.[3]

Character analysis[edit]

Chris, and to a lesser extent the others of the Seven, are examples of the "western hero"-archetypes who is resolute, "single minded", "independent", "strong", "loyal", and "honorable" as well as having various other positive characteristics.[4] "The key lesson that Chris teaches is the distinction between law and ethics, laid out in 1924 by the British jurist Lord Moulton, who distinguished between the realms of law and of ethics. Law requires obedience to the enforceable, while ethics requires 'obedience to the unenforceable'".[5] Hence, Chris and the other members of the Seven "help the locals focus on the survival skills they will need" and their "leadership is necessary", even though it is essentially transient.[6] They are "desperate for money, but equally in need of self-esteem, of belonging and a sense of worth."[7] Chris is not as cruel as Calvera, but like Calvera represents a way of life that is antithetical to humane civilization.[8] Nevertheless, Chris and Calvera are morally equivalent and Calvera is in some ways preferable or at least, seems to be the more powerful and inescapable of the two.[2] As a result, Chris has been called "a black-clad Shane".[9]


The robot portrayed by Yul Brynner in the 1973 science fiction Western thriller film Westworld is visually based on Bryner's portrayal of Adams.[10]

Chris Larabee[edit]

Larabee is closely based on the "Chris Adams" character played by Yul Brynner in the original film. His wife and son were murdered before the start of the series and this has turned him into a reserved but deadly individual. He is on a personal quest to find out who killed his wife and son. This is a recurring theme through several episodes in the series.

Sam Chisolm[edit]

Sam Chisolm, a warrant officer from Wichita, Kansas, and leader of the Seven, is Adams' counterpart in the 2016 remake. He's played by Denzel Washington.



  1. ^ Carnicke, Marie; Baron, Cynthia (2008). Reframing screen performance. Ann Arbor, Mich: University of Michigan Press. p. 149. ISBN 0-472-05025-7. 
  2. ^ a b Roberts, Randy; Mintz, Steven L. (1993). Hollywood's America: United States History Through its Films. Sydney: Brandywine Press. pp. 214, 216. ISBN 1-881089-10-X. 
  3. ^ Tom Pendergast, Sara Pendergast "St. James encyclopedia of popular culture", vol.3. Published by: St. James Press, 2000 - 584 p. ISBN 1558624031, 9781558624030 (P.240)
  4. ^ Rand, Yardena (March 2005). Wild Open Spaces: Why We Love Westerns (First ed.). Maverick Spirit Press. pp. 79–80. ISBN 1932991441. 
  5. ^ Bob Stone, Mick Ukleja "The Ethics Challenge: Strengthening Your Integrity in a Greedy World". Published by: Wordclay, 2009 - 142 p. ISBN 1600376088, 9781600376085 (P.10)
  6. ^ Higgs, Robert J.; Turner, Ralph H. (1999). The Cowboy Way: The Western Leader in Film, 1945-1995. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press. ISBN 0-313-30871-3. 
  7. ^ Hughes, Howard (January 2008). Stagecoach to Tombstone: The Filmgoers' Guide to the Great Westerns. I. B. Tauris. p. 127. ISBN 978-1845115715. 
  8. ^ Grant, Barry Keith (2008). American Cinema of the 1960s: Themes and Variations. New Brunswick, N.J: Rutgers University Press. p. 39. ISBN 0-8135-4219-7. 
  9. ^ McVeigh, Stephen (2007). The American Western. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. p. 157. ISBN 0-7486-2141-5. 
  10. ^ Friedman, Lester D. (2007). American Cinema of the 1970s: Themes and Variations. Camden: Rutgers University Press. p. 100. ISBN 0-8135-4023-2. 

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