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

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Overview

User Rating:
7.0/10   20,441 votes »
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Up 3% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Director:
Writers:
Brian Garfield (novel)
Wendell Mayes (screenplay)
Contact:
View company contact information for Death Wish on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
24 July 1974 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Tagline:
Vigilante, city style -- Judge, Jury, and Executioner See more »
Plot:
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:
Awards:
1 win & 1 nomination See more »
User Reviews:
Highly compelling See more (178 total) »

Cast

  (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)
John C. 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)

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

Denzel Washington ... Alley Mugger #1 (uncredited)
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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)
 
Stunts
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)
 
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


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Additional Details

Also Known As:
Runtime:
93 min
Country:
Language:
Color:
Color (Technicolor)
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Certification:
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 | 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 | West Germany:18 (f)

Did You Know?

Trivia:
The time line of the "Death Wish" films gets slightly confused. In Death Wish II (1982), when policeman Ochoa is speaking with Jill Ireland's character, he says Kersey "killed nine people in New York City four years ago". In Death Wish 4: The Crackdown (1987), Officer Reiner, in a scene after the corpse of Officer Nozaki is found, speaks with a superior and says that Mrs. Kersey died in 1975, while his daughter died in 1981. The presence of Excalibur (1981) on a theater marquee towards the end of "Death Wish II" supports the placement of the events of that film in 1981. If one accepts Ochoa's placement of Kersey's New York rampage as four years prior to 1981, that would push much of the events of the original Death Wish (1974) to 1977.See more »
Goofs:
Incorrectly regarded as goofs: When Inspector Ochoa says that the first mugger killed by Kersey was carrying a clip, he was not, as some suggest, referring to a magazine as used in an automatic pistol but to a holster clipped to his belt which held the revolver.See more »
Quotes:
Freak #1:We want money, mother, now get it!See more »
Movie Connections:

FAQ

How does the movie end?
What are the differences between the British BBFC 18 VHS by Paramount and the Uncensored Version?
What is 'Death Wish' about?
See more »
27 out of 36 people found the following review useful.
Highly compelling, 9 February 2003
Author: shaun98 from Milwaukee WI

Over the course of a career that has spanned nearly fifty years, action star Charles Bronson has appeared in dozens of films. Among them, the one that he is best remembered for is "Death Wish," an urban drama that has practically defined his career. He plays Paul Kersey, a liberal, mild-mannered architect whose family falls victim to violent crime. One fateful afternoon, he is shocked to hear the dreadful news: his wife has been murdered, his daughter brutally raped. What's more, the police are unable to apprehend the perpetuators. Feeling stunned and helpless, Kersey decides to take the law into his own hands--and the subsequent publicity galvanizes New York City. It isn't long before the police are hot on his heels. The ultimate consequences promise to be drastic.

"Death Wish" was a highly controversial film when initially released. At the time, major cities were facing a deadly crime epidemic, and this film tapped into the fears and unspoken desires of many viewers, giving them a chance to live out their secret fantasies. Critics on the Left lambasted its politics on crime, and even some on the Right felt it went too far. One could find much to complain about from an ideological standpoint. One could point out that the film is manipulative and heavy-handed (the attack on Kersey's family comes right after his co-worker tells him he's a "bleeding-heart liberal"). Yet, it is undeniably compelling; one of these movies that makes you wonder, "what if this happened to me?" In light of the later, inferior sequels, it is fascinating to see how the character came to be, how he made the transition from law-abiding man to cold-blooded vigilante. It is not an easy transition to make by any means--after his first kill, he breaks down and vomits the moment he reaches home. Yet, as his kills (each is very suspensefully handled) occur with greater frequency, we get the sinking feeling that he has reached a point of no return. Indeed, he narrowly eludes capture on at least two occasions, and there is the certainty that it is only a matter of time before the law will catch up with him.

Bronson is highly effective here; while not one of the great actors, he has a very strong screen presence. The audience is on his side every step of the way, rooting for him even as he strays onto the wrong side of the law. Surely, he is entitled to justice, but at what point does his vengeance outweigh his grievances? Vincent Gardenia is effective as the police detective assigned to his case. He grudgingly admires Kersey's resolve, although he is sworn to put a stop to the killings. The manner in which this is resolved is creative, though its plausibility is less than certain. The film is also noticeable for an early appearance by Jeff Goldblum as a slimy thug. However, Steven Keats is somewhat ineffectual as Bronson's son-in-law (he just sorta got on my nerves). In the years to come, this film would be followed by an endless chain of sequels and rip-offs, many of them starring Bronson himself, reducing him to a stock character whose only attribute was blowing the bad guys away. A shame, considering he was once an internationally respected actor. "Death Wish" is nonetheless a well-crafted, tightly paced crime drama, despite some dated aspects. It still kept me interested throughout and made me more interested in viewing more of the star's other films--good or otherwise.

Rating: *** (out of ****)

Released by Paramount Pictures

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Paul's Tucson client never noticed a connection. larrydee19150
Thoughts about New York City e_aiberg
What about the real culprits? Johnny0581
How in the Hell was Dirty Harry Green-Lit if... ultimatenexus
What could they charge Paul Kersey for if caught? digital_groove
Disgusted at myself. WalterKovacks
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