Death Wish

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Death Wish is a 1974 American vigilante action drama film loosely based on the 1972 novel of the same title by Brian Garfield. The film was directed by Michael Winner and stars Charles Bronson as Paul Kersey, an architect who becomes a vigilante after his wife is murdered and his daughter sexually assaulted during a home invasion.

Paul Kersey is a successful, middle-aged architect and family man who enjoys a happy home in Manhattan with his wife Joanna. One day, Joanna and their grown daughter Carol – who is married to Jack Toby – are followed home from D’Agostino’s by three thugs.

The trio invade the Kersey apartment by posing as deliverymen. Upon finding that Carol and Joanna only have $7 on them, the thugs brutally rape Carol and beat Joanna before fleeing.

Upon arriving at the hospital, Paul is devastated to learn that Joanna has died from her injuries. Shortly after burying his wife, Paul has an encounter with a mugger in a darkened street. Paul fights back with a homemade weapon, an improvised blackjack made from a sock with two rolls of quarters in it, causing the mugger to run away. Paul is shaken and energised by the encounter.

At the time of release, the film was criticised for its apparent support of vigilantism and advocating unlimited punishment of criminals. Allegedly, the novel denounced vigilantism, whereas the film embraced the notion. The film was a commercial success and resonated with the public in the United States, which was experiencing increasing crime rates during the 1970’s.

Originally, Sidney Lumet was to have directed Jack Lemmon as Paul and Henry Fonda as Ochoa.

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