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
Filming during production was so cold, that crew members complained of the water of their eyes freezing. These weather conditions forced them to wear face masks. 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 »
Turn that thing off.
[points at the guys radio]
guy with radio:
I'm listening to the weather report - why haven't you found my dog - he's vital to my income - he paints such marvelous pictures with his paws!
See more »
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 »
Directed by Michael Winner and starring the late Charles Bronson in the lead role, this is a gritty inner city revenge film which comes off as a competent and effective social statement.
Paul Kersey (Bronson) is a liberal architect living in a not so nice, crime ridden area of the city. He lives with his wife and daughter, who are brutally attacked whilst at home by 3 sadistic street trash thugs (a young Jeff Goldblum is one of them) whilst he is out. The wife is beaten into unconsciousness before later dying in hospital, and the daughter is sexually assaulted and goes into a catatonic state as a result of the shock.
It is this terrible event which changes Kerseys perception of law and order. He starts to change his way of thinking, starts to change his way of acting. He sees an overstretched police force struggling with the city's crime and social decay, and feels he, just one man, can make a difference. Kersey soon enough takes to the streets, never to look for trouble, but to let trouble come to him, and deal with it directly in his own way! He is tired of being the decent citizen who shakes their head at the morning paper, talks amongst friends but does nothing to change what he sees. The film becomes better still as the police find themselves under pressure with the recent vigilante killings, and the media report that once helpless victims are fighting back against their attackers inspired by this new rebel.
This is one of those films that has had a lasting effect on me, and I remember being quite shaken after watching it. It seems so real as Kersey could just as easily be a next door neighbour or uncle, he is no hulking giant with an arsenal of weaponry or superpowers, no fearless warrior who can't be scratched...he is just another man trying to make a living. Cleverly directed, well acted and graphic when it has to be, this is a great film and serves its purpose well. Gripping, raw and impactive, this is one of Bronson greatest films, and stands as a classic.
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