Death Wish

Death Wish

3.5 4
Director: Michael Winner

Cast: Charles Bronson, Hope Lange, Vincent Gardenia

     
 

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This drama about a man who takes the law into his own hands was wildly controversial upon first release, sparking much debate about the perceived pro-vigilante stance of the story, and established Charles Bronson as a major box office draw in the United States. Paul Kersey (Charles Bronson) is a liberal architect living in New York City. One day, a group of

Overview

This drama about a man who takes the law into his own hands was wildly controversial upon first release, sparking much debate about the perceived pro-vigilante stance of the story, and established Charles Bronson as a major box office draw in the United States. Paul Kersey (Charles Bronson) is a liberal architect living in New York City. One day, a group of drug-crazed thugs break into his apartment while he's gone, killing his wife Joanna (Hope Lange) and brutally raping his married daughter, leaving her comatose. When the police are unable to find the culprits, Kersey arms himself and begins patrolling the streets, killing muggers and thieves as he encounters them. While his obsessive search for street justice sickens him at first, in time Kersey begins to enjoy it and becomes a hunted man himself, as Police Detective Frank Ochoa (Vincent Gardenia) tries to find the man who is doing the police's job for them, and a bit too well. Jeff Goldblum made his screen debut as one of the lunatics who attacks Joanna.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Michael Costello
Michael Winner's bloody revenge thriller turned longtime character actor Charles Bronson into a superstar, but despite its stylish photography, it's a routine genre film. The story concerns an architect (Charles Bronson) who is transformed into a vengeful killer after his wife (Hope Lange) is murdered and his daughter raped. Like Dirty Harry (1971), Winner's ugly fantasy tapped public fears aroused by the rising crime rates of the period. The stoic, granitic face of Bronson was the one that audiences wanted to show to criminals. Most of the film is set in a bleak, stripped-down New York, which becomes a shooting gallery populated only by Bronson and the various muggers and thugs that are his targets. Like Clint Eastwood in his star-making role in A Fisful of Dollars (1964), the actor has little to do besides glower menancingly and shoot, but Vince Gardenia is excellent as the cop in pursuit of the gun-crazy architect. Although source author Brian Garfield was publicly critical of the film's violence, the character became Bronson's franchise, and he would go on to star in a series of sequels.

Product Details

Release Date:
01/01/2013
UPC:
0883929304073
Original Release:
1974
Source:
Paramount Catalog
Region Code:
1
Time:
1:33:00
Sales rank:
2,024

Special Features

Closed Caption; ; Theatrical Trailer

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Charles Bronson Paul Kersey
Hope Lange Joanna Kersey
Vincent Gardenia Frank Ochoa
Steven Keats Jack Toby
William Redfield Sam Kreutzer
Stuart Margolin Aimes Jainchill
Olympia Dukakis Actor
Edward Grover Lt. Briggs
Eric Laneuville Actor
Chris Gampel Ives
Robert Kya-Hill Joe Charles
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
Marcia Jean Kurtz Actor
Stephen Elliott Police Commissioner
Kathleen Tolan Carol Toby
Jack Wallace Hank
Fred J. Scollay District Attorney

Technical Credits
Michael Winner Director,Co-producer
Joseph G. Aulisi Costumes/Costume Designer
Bernard Gribble Editor
Robert Gundlach Production Designer
Herbie Hancock Score Composer
Hal Landers Producer
Wendell Mayes Screenwriter
Charles Okun Asst. Director
Arthur Ornitz Cinematographer
Bobby Roberts Producer
James J. Sabat Sound/Sound Designer
Hugh Strain Sound/Sound Designer

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Death Wish
1. Back In The War Zone [6:09]
2. Trouble [10:41]
3. Picking Up The Pieces [9:06]
4. Tucson [5:16]
5. The Gun Club [5:11]
6. Self Defense [8:32]
7. Revenge [8:05]
8. The Vigilante [6:24]
9. Near Miss [7:35]
10. The Search Narrows [6:04]
11. Scare Him Off [4:52]
12. Eluding The Police [5:42]
13. A Proposition [7:51]
14. Still Out There [1:48]

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Death Wish 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I don't remember too many films that earned an OP/ED piece in the New York Times, but this one did. Not only did this film make Charles Bronson a superstar it fully unsettled a nation's urban fears and more than a few people imitated what they saw on screen. The tag line was very memorable: ''Paul Kersey is going to kill 3 muggers tonight. One for his murdered wife, one for his raped daughter and one for you!'' The film worked and perhaps a bit too well because it spawned countless imitators and 4 sequels that were idiotic. The tragedy is DEATH WISH became a parody of itself. Skip the wannabes and cheer Bronson each time he wacks a bad guy here.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Bronson lives up to his reputation as a legend of the silver screen and delivers a masterful performance as Paul Kersey, an architect turned vigilante when his wife is viciously murdered and daughter brutally raped by street thugs in his own home. Bronson defies his 53 years in fast paced action, intense drama and 'what will happen next?' suspense. A must see for any action buff.
ChandlerSwain More than 1 year ago
,"Death Wish" is a genuine curiousity: a terrible movie that provokes a flood of intelligent discussion. The theme of the film is justice, or rather the lack of it, and the subsequent rise of vigilateism as a curative. Based on a novel by Brian Garfield, the film (originally to have been shot by the intriguing pairing of director Sidney Lumet and Jack Lemmon) belies the depth of it's thematic implications by aiming at the sewer; a regular affliction of films by the woeful (and woefully misnamed) Michael Winner. Charles Bronson, an actor of considerable resources was forever typecast in putrid clones of this surprising box-office hit. Portraying an architect whose wife is murdered and daughter is raped into a state of catatonia, and conveniently given the gift of a gun which he uses to gun down every street-level wrongdoer who crosses his path, Bronson walks through the film with a sense of exhaustion, letting his moustache do all the heavy lifting. Vincent Gardenia, as the detective leading the investigation of the killings, spends most of the film noisily blowing his nose, as if violent nasal expulsion could rid the film of Mr. Winner's pervasive lack of taste. (An example: the rapists/murderers are portrayed in such an obnoxiously obvious fashion, they might as well be wearing circus clown outfits and yet we are to believe no one notices them; even an entire grocery store full of people they spend an entire sequence terrorizing!) Winner spends so much time grapically depicting the rape/murder, it offends every moral sense when the offenders are never confronted. Surely a case could be made that this is the point: that violence is random and justice often powerless, leading to the inevitable vigilate, but then how to explain the rest of the picture: police investigations comically depicted as being so stupid that the very hint of a vigilante could be concealed from a city, Bronson dispensing death far in excess of the attempted crimes against him which he himself sets up, or the disgraceful denouement where the police excuse Bronson's crime spree and callously ship him off to another city to be their problem? Leading to an endless series of depressing sequels, Winner's grimy little opus is basically the world's first box-office hit snuff film. DVD depiction is ugly and grainy, perfectly portraying the original theatrical experience and perhaps reflecting director Winner's own callous psyche.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago