IMDb > Death Wish (1974)
Death Wish
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Death Wish (1974) More at IMDbPro »

Death Wish -- In this explosive story of revenge and urban violence, Charles Bronson plays Paul Kersey, a bleeding-heart liberal who has a change of opinion after his wife and daughter are violently attacked by a gang of thugs in their apartment. His daughter is raped, and his wife is raped and murdered. Bronson then turns vigilante as he stalks the mean streets of New York on the prowl for muggers, hoodlums and the like. Death Wish is a violent, controversial film that is frank and original in its treatment of urban crime and the average citizen's helplessness in dealing with it. Herbie Hancock wrote the musical score. And watch for a young Jeff Goldblum in his film debut as one of the thugs.


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Down 7% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Brian Garfield (novel)
Wendell Mayes (screenplay)
View company contact information for Death Wish on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
24 July 1974 (USA) See more »
Vigilante, city style -- Judge, Jury, and Executioner See more »
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. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
1 win & 1 nomination See more »
(610 articles)
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User Reviews:
Urban Battleground See more (191 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Charles Bronson ... Paul Kersey

Hope Lange ... Joanna Kersey

Vincent Gardenia ... Frank Ochoa
Steven Keats ... Jack Toby
William Redfield ... Sam Kreutzer

Stuart Margolin ... Aimes Jainchill
Stephen Elliott ... Police Commissioner
Kathleen Tolan ... Carol Toby

Jack Wallace ... Hank
Fred J. Scollay ... District Attorney (as Fred Scollay)
Chris Gampel ... Ives

Robert Kya-Hill ... Joe Charles
Edward Grover ... Lt. Briggs (as Ed Grover)

Jeff Goldblum ... Freak #1
Christopher Logan ... Freak #2
Gregory Rozakis ... Spraycan
Floyd Levine ... Desk Sergeant

Helen Martin ... Alma Lee Brown
Hank Garrett ... Andrew McCabe

Christopher Guest ... Patrolman Reilly
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Ken Ackles ... Mugger in Park #1 (uncredited)
Marshall Anker ... Mourner at funeral (uncredited)
John G. Becher ... Subway Station Mugger #1 (uncredited)
Robyn Blythe ... Woman in Chicago (uncredited)
William Bogert ... Fred Brown (uncredited)
Bruce Brown ... Newsman (uncredited)
Robert Dahdah ... Man on street (uncredited)

Paul Dooley ... Cop at Hospital (uncredited)

Olympia Dukakis ... Cop at the Precinct (uncredited)
Hector Freeman ... Mugger on Street (uncredited)
Larry Gilman ... Man in Park (uncredited)
Beverly Goodman ... Little Bo-Peep (uncredited)
Trent Gough ... Crime Scene Photojournalist (uncredited)

Carson Grant ... Street Gang and Police Officer (uncredited)

John Herzfeld ... Train Mugger #2 (uncredited)

Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs ... Mugger in Park #2 (uncredited)

Marcia Jean Kurtz ... Receptionist (uncredited)
Eric Laneuville ... Subway Station Mugger #2 (uncredited)

Damien Leake ... Alley Mugger #2 (uncredited)

Len Lesser ... Cop at the Precinct (uncredited)

Al Lewis ... Guard at Hotel Lobby (uncredited)

Sonia Manzano ... Grocery Clerk (uncredited)

Robert Miano ... Mugger (uncredited)

Jay Rasumny ... Architect in Office (uncredited)
S. Pearl Sharp ... Reporter (uncredited)
Lee Steele ... Office Security Guard (uncredited)

B.T. Taylor ... Mugger (uncredited)

Directed by
Michael Winner 
Writing credits
Brian Garfield (novel)

Wendell Mayes (screenplay)

Produced by
Hal Landers .... producer
Bobby Roberts .... producer
Michael Winner .... co-producer
Dino De Laurentiis .... producer (uncredited)
Original Music by
Herbie Hancock 
Cinematography by
Arthur J. Ornitz (director of photography)
Film Editing by
Bernard Gribble 
Casting by
Cis Corman 
Production Design by
Robert Gundlach 
Set Decoration by
George DeTitta Sr.  (as George DeTitta)
Costume Design by
Joseph G. Aulisi 
Makeup Department
Phil Rhodes .... makeup artist (as Phillip Rhodes)
Verne Caruso .... hairdresser (uncredited)
Production Management
Stanley Neufeld .... production manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Larry Y. Albucher .... assistant director (as Larry Albucher)
Charles Okun .... assistant director
Ralph S. Singleton .... assistant director (as Ralph Singleton)
Howard Himmelstein .... dga trainee (uncredited)
Art Department
Connie Brink .... property master (as Conrad Brink)
Sante Fiore .... scenic artist
Richard Adee .... assistant property master (uncredited)
Joe Gerson .... assistant production designer (uncredited)
Robert H. Klatt .... set dresser (uncredited)
Carlos Quiles .... carpenter (uncredited)
Sound Department
Alfred Cox .... dubbing editor
James Sabat .... sound recordist
Jim Shields .... dubbing editor (as James Shields)
Hugh Strain .... re-recordist
Arthur Bloom .... sound recordist (uncredited)
Robert Rogow .... boom operator (uncredited)
Harry Daley .... stunts (uncredited)
Alan Gibbs .... stunts (uncredited)
Camera and Electrical Department
Lou Barlia .... camera operator (as Louis Barlia)
Charles Kolb .... head grip
Willie Meyerhoff .... gaffer (as Willy Meyerhoff)
Don Biller .... camera assistant (uncredited)
Louis Cappeta .... grip (uncredited)
Joseph Di Pasquale .... first assistant camera (uncredited)
Jack Gereghty .... still photographer (uncredited)
Cornelius Hannan .... electrician (uncredited)
John Khorigan .... grip (uncredited)
Owen Marsh .... camera operator (uncredited)
Sal Martorano .... best boy (uncredited)
Richard Meyerhoff .... electrician (uncredited)
Jack Stager .... still photographer (uncredited)
Ken Thompson Sr. .... grip (uncredited)
Casting Department
Frank Kennedy .... extras casting: locations (uncredited)
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Joseph W. Dehn .... wardrobe (as Joseph Dehn)
Editorial Department
William Lustig .... apprentice editor (uncredited)
Jim Rivera .... assistant editor (uncredited)
Music Department
Herbie Hancock .... music performer
Herbie Hancock .... orchestrator
Transportation Department
James Lake .... driver (uncredited)
Harold 'Whitey' McEvoy .... transportation captain (uncredited)
Other crew
Stephen Cory .... assistant to director (as Steven Cory)
Dino De Laurentiis .... presenter
Barbara Robinson .... script supervisor
Ernest Anderson .... press agent (uncredited)
Sam Goldrich .... location auditor (uncredited)
Michael Kennedy .... production assistant (uncredited)
Adeline Leonard Seakwood .... production office coordinator (uncredited)
Crew believed to be complete

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
93 min
Color (Technicolor)
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Argentina:16 | Australia:R | Brazil:14 | Canada:R | Canada:R (Ontario) | Canada:13+ (Quebec) | Finland:K-18 (uncut) (2003) | Finland:K-18 (cut) (1974) | France:-16 | Germany:18 | Iceland:16 | Ireland:18 | Italy:T | Netherlands:16 | New Zealand:R16 | Norway:18 | Peru:14 | Singapore:M18 | Spain:18 | Sweden:15 | UK:X (original rating) | UK:18 (video rating) | UK:18 (re-rating) (2006) (uncut) | USA:R (Certificate No: 23930) | West Germany:18 (f)

Did You Know?

Body Count: 11 (Ten killed by Paul)See more »
Continuity: 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 »
Jack Toby:We gotta let the cops handle this, Dad!
Paul Kersey:Yeah?
Paul Kersey:Well, what if the cops can't handle this, Jack?
See more »
Movie Connections:


How does Lt Ochoa go about 'scaring off' the vigilante?
From what did Paul's wife die?
Does Paul eventually find the three punks who killed his wife?
See more »
57 out of 79 people found the following review useful.
Urban Battleground, 28 October 2003
Author: sol1218 from brooklyn NY

Charles Bronson was already a major movie star in 1974 in Europe and a top action actor in the USA but it was "Death Wish" released that year that made him the super star that he became. What's so unusual is that in the movie "Death Wish" he played a man who was a pacifist all of his life, he served in the Korean War as a conscientious objector, who then turned into the vigilante executioner! A role which Bronson has become known for and identified with more then any of the scores of actions roles that he made during his long film career.

Bronson as well as director Michael Winner and writer Brian Garfield touched a raw nerve in "Death Wish" with the American people in big cities under siege like no other movie ever did before and, now some 30 years later, after. Since "Death Wish" there must have been made over a hundred films with it's theme but none had the impact that "Death Wish" with Charles Bronson had.

A group of tugs get Joanna Kersey's, Hope Lange, address from a delivery slip of a local grocery store and acting as if their delivering her groceries break into Joanna's apartment and savagely attack her and beat and rape her daughter Carol, Kathleen Tolan. Paul Kersey, Charles Bronson, comes home to learn that his wife and daughter are in the hospital rushes over to see how they are. Kersey finds out that his wife is dead and his daughter is mentally destroyed and needs to be institutionalized for life.

The whole world around Paul Kersey falls apart like a house of cards and he's left alone with everything that he loved dead or as good as dead. Some time later going to Arizona to do his job as a land developer for his firm in NYC he's given a .32 handgun as a gift by the person that he worked for Ames Janichill, Stuart Margolis, for the great job that he did for him.

One night back home in New York City taking a stroll in the park with the gun on him Kersey is accosted by a local junkie who pulls a handgun on him but Kersey draws first and shoots and kills him. Sick at first over what he did, killed a human being, Kersey like a wild beast from the jungle tasting blood for the fist time begins to roam the streets of New York at night for prey. A vengeful Kersey goes out looking for criminals to put out of commission, like those who killed and raped his wife and daughter, as some kind of revenge and retribution against them. In the process Kersey puts the criminals of the city of New York into a state of absolute terror and panic. In his guerrilla-like actions Kersey knocks off some dozen of them sending the the city's crime rate falling as much as 70%! All this with the ineffective, in stopping crime, police being more interested in stopping "The Vigilante" then stopping the criminals!

The movie "Death Wish" hit a raw nerve with the public as well as the local politicians and police because it showed how, in the movie at least, one man with a gun and knowing how to use it can make a difference when it comes to stopping crime. The story is not that unlikely as those against it would want the public to believe. There's been many times when average people took to protecting themselves, with firearms, and did a much better job then the police; which is just what Paul Kersey did in the movie. That may have been one of the reasons that those in authority were so much against the film.

When Bernie Goetz in December 1984 gunned down four muggers, much like Charles Bronson did in the movie "Death Wish", who tried to attack him in the New York subway crime dropped a lot more then if one hundred policemen were put on the trains. Nobody can doubt now that Charles Bronson's "Death Wish" was not only a major milestone in films about urban crime but also a major milestone in what the public thinks about crime and what's best to do to stop it.

Was the above review useful to you?
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