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Let’s go back to 1974.
Filmed in the winter of 1973 into 1974, The movie that created a franchise. Charles Bronson stars as Paul Kersey, an architect who becomes a vigilante after his wife is murdered and his daughter sexually assaulted during a home invasion.
Originally, Sidney Lumet was to have directed Jack Lemmon as Paul and Henry Fonda as Ochoa. Lumet bowed out of the project to direct Serpico so the search was on to find a new director.
Several were considered, including Peter Medak who wanted Henry Fonda as Paul. United Artists eventually chose Michael Winner, due to his track record of gritty, violent action films. The examples of his work considered included The Mechanic (1972), Scorpio (1973), and The Stone Killer (1973).
At the time of release, the film was criticized 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 facing increasing crime rates during the 1970s. Who doesn’t like to see cold-hearted, smiling laughing criminals get the ‘uh-oh’ moment when it’s they’re the ones being preyed upon.
I would’ve liked to see a few of them impaled, maybe drop a truck on one or two of them but all in all, even without death by 10,000 darts, he administers justice the way it should be delivered. Cold and fast and full of terror.
Multiple Grammy award-winning jazz musician Herbie Hancock produced and composed the original score for the soundtrack to the movie. It was his third film score, after the 1966 movie Blow-Up and The Spook Who Sat By The Door (1973)
The entire franchise has earned over 60 million dollars. For this debut in the franchise, the movie was budgeted for three millions dollars and brought in somewhere around 20 + million dollars.
There were five Death Wish movies in the franchise with Bruce Willis starring in the reboot back in 2018 filmed here in Chicago instead of NYC.
Source: Sal Amato