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
The opening scene with Kersey photographing his wife in Hawaii was added to the script by Michael Winner himself. After Kersey's wife is murdered and his daughter raped, he gets the photographs back from the developer after he comes back from Tucson and been given a gun by the architect. It's the emotional impact of the photographs that makes him go out and kill his first mugger. See more »
The inspectors assistant is told to wait in front of Kersey's apartment building at 33 Riverside Drive. When the inspector returns he is in front of a door marked 322. 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 »
How Michael Winner and his Death Wish changed the outlook of the Crime genre
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.
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