7.0/10
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197 user 87 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.

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(novel), (screenplay)
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4,686 ( 504)

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1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »
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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 4.7/10 X  

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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.

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A mild-mannered father is transformed into a killing machine after his family is torn apart by a violent act.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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...
...
Steven Keats ...
...
...
Stephen Elliott ...
Kathleen Tolan ...
...
Fred J. Scollay ...
District Attorney (as Fred Scollay)
Chris Gampel ...
...
Edward Grover ...
Lt. Briggs (as Ed Grover)
...
Freak #1
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:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

| | |

Release Date:

24 July 1974 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Sidewalk Vigilante  »

Box Office

Budget:

$3,000,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to the Hollywood Reporter, the producers approached Elvis Presley to star as Paul Kersey. See more »

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

Ames Jainchill: You're probably one of them knee-jerk liberals that thinks us gun boys would shoot our guns because it's an extension of our penises.
Paul Kersey: Never thought about it that way. It could be true.
Ames Jainchill: Well, maybe it is. But this is gun country.
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 »

Connections

Referenced in Life on Mars: Everyone Knows It's Windy (2009) 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 (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Solid Fare
26 May 2006 | by (Manitoba, Canada) – See all my reviews

Here is a film whose quality and appeal, much like Sylvester Stallone's Rocky, may be overshadowed by a seemingly endless line of inferior sequels. But Death Wish is a real crowd-pleaser filled with emotion, drama, action and suspense. It's the story of Paul Kersey, a family man (and former Conscientus Objector in Korea) whose wife and daughter fall victim to a brutal attack at the hands of unknown thugs. Yet Kersey doesn't get mad, he gets even as a one-man judge, jury and executioner against those who prey on the innocent. Bronson delivers an underrated performance in a movie that constantly asks the viewer, "What would you do?"


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