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
2,256 ( 2,058)
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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More Like This 

Death Wish II (1982)
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

Architect Paul Kersey once again becomes a vigilante when he tries to find the five street punks who murdered his daughter and housekeeper, this time on the dark streets of Los Angeles.

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Death Wish 3 (1985)
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

Architect/vigilante Paul Kersey arrives back in New York City and is forcibly recruited by a crooked police chief to fight street crime caused by a large gang terrorizing the neighborhoods.

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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.4/10 X  

Architect/vigilante Paul Kersey takes on the members of a vicious Los Angeles drug cartel to stop the flow of drugs after his girlfriend's daughter dies from an overdose.

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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.9/10 X  

Paul Kersey is back at working vigilante justice when his fiancée, Olivia, has her business threatened by mobsters.

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Stars: Charles Bronson, Lesley-Anne Down, Michael Parks
Death Wish (2018)
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Dr. Paul Kersey is an experienced trauma surgeon, a man who has spent his life saving lives. After an attack on his family, Paul embarks on his own mission for justice.

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The Mechanic (1972)
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

An aging hitman befriends a young man who wants to be a professional killer. Eventually it becomes clear that someone has betrayed them.

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Mr. Majestyk (1974)
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A melon farmer battles organized crime and a hit man who wants to kill him.

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An action-packed thriller starring Charles Bronson as Jack Murphy, a cop who is running to stay alive long enough to even the score with his wife's killer.

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Stars: Charles Bronson, Kathleen Wilhoite, Carrie Snodgress
Hard Times (1975)
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The adventures of a drifter turned illegal prize-fighter during the Depression Era in New Orleans.

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John Deakin is being transported, as a prisoner, on a train with supplies and medicine to Fort Humboldt, Nevada.

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An LAPD detective and his rookie partner are on the trail of a psychopathic young man who is murdering young women.

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Death Hunt (1981)
Action | Adventure | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

In 1931 Canada, Yukon trapper Johnson has a feud with a dog owner who later retaliates by publicly accusing Johnson of murder and thus triggering a police manhunt in the wilderness.

Director: Peter R. Hunt
Stars: Charles Bronson, Lee Marvin, Andrew Stevens
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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 ... 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 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:

AN EXPLOSIVE STORY OF URBAN VIOLENCE AND REVENGE See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA | Canada

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

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$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

Both the novel and the original script had no scenes showing the vigilante interacting with his wife. Michael Winner decided to include a prologue depicting a happy relationship, so the prologue of the film depicts the couple vacationing in Hawaii. See more »

Goofs

In the grocery store where we first see the criminals, Paul Kersey's wife and daughter are having their groceries rang up. Just behind the cashier is a male cashier dressed in a white coat and sideburns, ringing up groceries in the next isle. However, when we immediately cut to the wife and daughter leaving the store, the male cashier is gone with a different cashier in his place. See more »

Quotes

Jack Toby: We gotta let the cops handle this, Dad!
Paul Kersey: Yeah?
[squint]
Paul Kersey: Well, what if the cops can't handle this, Jack?
See more »

Crazy Credits

Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs is Uncredited Mugger. This has been mistakenly reported/claimed as Denizel Washington, time and time again. It is not Denizel Washington, it is "Welcome Back Kotter" star Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs. See more »

Alternate Versions

The UK version classified in 2006 by the British Board of Film Classification retained the 18 certificate, but all of the BBFC's previous cuts were waived. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Bad Movie Beatdown: Parting Shots (2010) See more »

Soundtracks

Do A Thing
Written and Performed by Herbie Hancock
Arranged and Conducted by Jerry Peters
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Run and Hide No More
13 February 2007 | by zippyflynn2See all my reviews

"What do you call people who when they're faced with a condition of fear do nothing about it they just run and hide?" Paul Kersey.

This is one of my favorite films made from one of my favorite books. I lived in New York during the 1970's and can attest that crime was out of control then, the subways, parks and many streets were no man's land at night where you only went if you really had to or else you wanted to score dope, get a cheap hooker (or be one), or just for the thrill and danger. Police corruption had been so rampantly widespread for so long that there was no law and order and the thugs had taken over the night. If you question this just see Serprico and read that book which details how one honest cop almost died and was nearly buried by the massive tide of corrupt cops he was trying to expose, which was practically all the other cops. The majority of the people lived in fear of being in the streets at night and even many places during the day. Even if you packed heat that was no guarantee of anything, it wasn't uncommon to come across a gang of muggers all carrying guns, knives, baseball bats, etc. Most people in New York then were as Paul Kersey described only worse, not only did they run and hide from fear and danger but they ignored the suffering of others. New Yorkers had developed a reputation as cold and indifferent, which was fairly accurate. I remember a concert in Central Park where a girl was gang banged by a group of guys and hundreds of people just watched it, too afraid, too apathetic, or too vicariously sadistic to get involved. Someone even stole her clothes and she staggered around naked and bleeding in the rain. Things were not good and just about everybody in New York felt angry, alienated and helpless. People were sick of it all, the terrible Vietnam war, corrupt Richard Nixon, corrupt cops, corrupt everything, but they mostly were sick of being afraid and tired of living in fear.

Then the movie "Death Wish" came out. The theater was packed when I went, which surprised me, as I had already read the book and knew what it was about but how did these other people know, besides it was a matinée. I discovered why everyone was there when Paul Kersey shot his first mugger: the whole place exploded in screaming cheers and the cheers got more powerful and louder with each subsequent vigilante act. I had been to Yankees games and concerts where you hear screaming and cheers but nothing had the power of the cheers on that day. There was something wonderfully cathartic taking place, everyone in that audience who had ever been mugged or had been afraid of being mugged, which was virtually everyone, was delighting in having the tables turned. We felt safe, and were happy to see a somewhat soft spoken, average kind of a guy being played by Charles Bronson kick a*s for us, take out the bad guys. This was a new, radical concept back then, an open revenge film where an ordinary appearing guy beats the muggers at their own game. It was a great experience and we all felt like we too could be as tough as Charles Bronson, at least during that safe little reprieve within the theater.

Say what you will about the film, its technical shortcomings, you'd be hard pressed or less than honest to say that Charles Bronson didn't display his international appeal in this movie, the one that made him the world's biggest box office draw. He appears in this movie just like he was in real life, a quiet, unassuming kind of guy who really was tough, not the usual Hollywood tough guy who is so unconvincing because he can't fully hide his physical and character based qualities that are everything but a real, quiet, cool tough guy. Bronson was the real deal, just read about his earlier life if you want to know.

This film got a lot of negative reaction as being a crass and brutal revenge film, and other typical cavalier comments. The New Yorkers who lived it, all the ones I knew and the ones in the theater that day, loved it for what it was, a piece of cinematic magic to make us feel like we weren't afraid and would perhaps very soon never have to feel afraid again. If you've never been mugged or been afraid of being mugged it's very easy to tell others how they're suppose to react, what they're suppose to like, think, do, etc. But until you've lived in a real urban jungle, you'll never know the great release that a movie like "Death Wish" can bring you. It's strictly vicarious entertainment but what marvelous entertainment it is!


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