Death Wish (1974)

R  |   |  Action, Crime, Drama  |  24 July 1974 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 23,849 users  
Reviews: 193 user | 86 critic

A New York City architect becomes a one-man vigilante squad after his wife is murdered by street punks in which he randomly goes out and kills would-be muggers on the mean streets after dark.



(novel), (screenplay)
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1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Steven Keats ...
William Redfield ...
Stephen Elliott ...
Kathleen Tolan ...
Fred J. Scollay ...
District Attorney (as Fred Scollay)
Chris Gampel ...
Edward Grover ...
Lt. Briggs (as Ed Grover)
Freak #1
Christopher Logan ...
Freak #2


Open-minded architect Paul Kersey returns to New York City from vacationing with his wife, feeling on top of the world. At the office, his cynical coworker gives him the welcome-back with a warning on the rising crime rate. But Paul, a bleeding-heart liberal, thinks of crime as being caused by poverty. However his coworker's ranting proves to be more than true when Paul's wife is killed and his daughter is raped in his own apartment. The police have no reliable leads and his overly sensitive son-in-law only exacerbates Paul's feeling of hopelessness. He is now facing the reality that the police can't be everywhere at once. Out of sympathy his boss gives him an assignment in sunny Arizona where Paul gets a taste of the Old West ideals. He returns to New York with a compromised view on muggers... Written by Don Hoffman

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Vigilante, city style -- Judge, Jury, and Executioner See more »


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





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Release Date:

24 July 1974 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Sidewalk Vigilante  »

Box Office


$3,000,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


The killing in the subway station was supposed to remain off-screen in the script, but Michael Winner himself decided to turn this into an actual, brutal scene. See more »


After Kersey shoots the two muggers in the subway station and is stabbed in the left shoulder there is no blood on his coat or hole in it. When we see him sit in the subway car to make his getaway with his left shoulder visible from behind the wound should be evident. See more »


Freak #1: We want money, mother, now get it!
See more »

Crazy Credits

Actresses Olympia Dukakis ('Cop at the Precinct') and Marcia Jean Kurtz as Marcia Jean-Kurtz ('Woman at Airport') get credited in opening credits only. There's no mention of them in the closing credits. See more »


Featured in Hollywood's Top Ten: Sweet Revenge (2010) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

How Michael Winner and his Death Wish changed the outlook of the Crime genre
15 February 2009 | by (Ottawa, Canada) – See all my reviews

One of the best favorite action movies of all time, Death Wish glitters Charles Bronson's glory famously. Followed by 4 script-free episodes the first episode had inspired millions worldwide. At present(2009) while the remake version is being filmed I have to say that; no matter who will perform Paul Kersey for the second time, he won't be able to impress us as Bronson did.

Rather than Bronson's performance Death Wish has its significant themes and screenplay components which were used at almost every action/crime movie later on, thus became clichés of their genre. Spending a lot of the running time through the bad guys' side is the most fundamental component. This development was so modern and original, after a while it changed the outlook of the Crime genre.

Death Wish is nearly as good as Eastwood's Dirty Harry, with just a different taste. Obviously, this should have been produced only once; since the sequels misrepresented its purpose.

19 of 22 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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