7.0/10
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Death Wish (1974)

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.

Director:

Michael Winner

Writers:

Brian Garfield (novel), Wendell Mayes (screenplay)
Reviews
Popularity
3,727 ( 210)

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1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Charles Bronson ... Paul Kersey
Hope Lange ... Joanna Kersey
Vincent Gardenia ... Frank Ochoa
Steven Keats Steven Keats ... Jack Toby
William Redfield ... Sam Kreutzer
Stuart Margolin ... Aimes Jainchill
Stephen Elliott Stephen Elliott ... Police Commissioner
Kathleen Tolan Kathleen Tolan ... Carol Toby
Jack Wallace ... Hank
Fred J. Scollay Fred J. Scollay ... District Attorney (as Fred Scollay)
Chris Gampel Chris Gampel ... Ives
Robert Kya-Hill ... Joe Charles
Edward Grover ... Lt. Briggs (as Ed Grover)
Jeff Goldblum ... Freak #1
Christopher Logan Christopher Logan ... Freak #2
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

Judge. Jury. Executioner. See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Italian | German | French

Release Date:

24 July 1974 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Sidewalk Vigilante See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$3,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$22,000,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This movie was Charles Bronson's first picture to feature the word 'Death' in the title. The next was Death Hunt (1981) made and released seven years later. Another Messenger of Death (1988) also featured the word. Bronson made seven movies with this word in the title, five of them being in the 'Death Wish' franchise. The final time film would be Death Wish V: The Face of Death (1994), where the word actually appears twice. See more »

Goofs

When Paul and son-in-law looks out the in-house window at the hospital we see them through the glass. In the reflection there's a barely visible large black square. When the camera dollies left the square follows, indicating that the square is there to disguise an all too recognizable camera silhouette. See more »

Quotes

Frank Ochoa: We want you to get out of New York... Permanently.
Paul Kersey: [pause] Inspector... By sundown?
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 »


Soundtracks

Revenge Suite (Striking Back - Riverside Park - The Alley - Last Stop - 8th Avenue Station)
Written and Performed by Herbie Hancock
Arranged and Conducted by Herbie Hancock & Jerry Peters
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Straight to the point
16 September 2007 | by JakethemussSee all my reviews

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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