7.0/10
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209 user 96 critic

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
2,620 ( 256)

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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

Initially, Charles Bronson wasn't sold on starring in the film. "The way the part was written, it was about a meek little New York-born accountant," Bronson said. "I thought it was a much better picture for Dustin Hoffman." Eventually, it was Michael Winner who convinced Bronson to take the role anyway. "He said we could change the part to a more active and virile architect, and we'd all make a potful of money." See more »

Goofs

The first shooting victim is supposed to be close to Kersey's home 2 1/2 blocks from where he shops around West 75th Street. In reality the steps he descends are at West 99th Street about 1.25 miles away. See more »

Quotes

Freak #1: Cunts! I KILL RICH CUNTS!
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 »

Alternate Versions

Following the introduction of the Video Recordings Act in 1984, Death Wish was withdrawn from proposed video release in 1987. When it was finally released in the UK in 2000 (and shown on television two years later), the film had been quietly trimmed by the BBFC to remove 29 seconds from the rape scene including shots of clear nudity and Carol's bottom being sprayed with paint. The film was finally passed completely uncut by the BBFC in June 2006 and all previous edits were waived. See more »

Connections

Remade as Death Wish (2018) See more »

Soundtracks

Ochoa Knose
Written and Performed by Herbie Hancock
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Classic Remedy For Instant Satisfaction
22 April 2006 | by ccthemovieman-1See all my reviews

I guess by now you could call this movie a "classic." It would meet most definitions. It was so popular that it spawned a number of sequels, but they just got dumb and dumber. This is one of the most famous "revenge" movies ever made and still stands up today.

This was a very, very simple story and it panders to our base instincts which is probably why it was so successful. Most people want justice, and they want it now....which is what this movie preaches. At the time, the movie was shocking. If it came out today, it wouldn't have nearly the impact. However, the early scene of the mother and daughter raped and killed is still horrifying. That will never change.

The story then slows down as we see the transformation of the husband, from conscientious objector to vigilante. When Charles Bronson hits the streets, the film picks up big-time. The movie also ends on a very satisfying note.


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