VIGILANTE, CITY STYLE – JUDGE, JURY, AND EXECUTIONER.
When his wife is murdered and daughter raped by a gang of thugs, a liberal architect (Charles Bronson) turns into a vigilante. No gun nut could ever resist this celebration of a man who cleans up the streets of New York on his own – too bad though that the filmmakers ignored the part in author Brian Garfield’s book where vigilantism turns out not to be such a simple solution. The film is both cruel and absurd at times (the muggers mostly behave like a combo of apes and silent film villains)… but it is also exciting, well directed and Bronson’s character is of course easy to empathize with.
1974-U.S. 93 min. Color. Directed by Michael Winner. Novel: Brian Garfield. Music: Herbie Hancock. Cast: Charles Bronson (Paul Kersey), Hope Lange (Joanna Kersey), Vincent Gardenia (Frank Ochoa), Steven Keats, William Redfield, Stuart Margolin… Olympia Dukakis, Christopher Guest, Jeff Goldblum.
Trivia: Steve McQueen, Clint Eastwood, Jack Lemmon and Frank Sinatra were allegedly considered for the part of Kersey; Sidney Lumet for directing duties. Followed by four sequels, starting with Death Wish II (1982). Remade as Death Wish (2018).