August 30th, 2012: Death Wish (1974)

 

Cast and Crew: Michael Winner (Director); Herbie Hancock (Score); Vincent Gardenia, Jeff Goldblum, Christopher Guest, Paul Dooley, Olympia Dukakis, Al Lewis, Denzel Washington

What It’s About: When his wife and daughter are murdered and raped, New York liberal and conscientious objector Korean War medical corpsman Paul Kersey (Charles Bronson) begins to walk the streets of New York City alone every night with a gun, shooting the muggers and other crooks that take the bait and attack him.

Why Watch it Today?: Charles Bronson died today in 2003.  Despite years of solid roles in ensemble action films like The Great Escape, The Dirty Dozen and The Magnificent Seven, as well as starring roles in everything from Sci-Fi movies (Master of the World), crime movies (The Mechanic and The Stone Killer), Westerns (Once Upon a Time in the West), Adventure (Death Hunt), and even oddities like From Noon Til Three, nine times out of ten the first film to come up when Bronson’s name is mentioned is Death Wish.  Part of this is no doubt due to the fact that they made four sequels to today’s film, but the film’s popularity-not to mention its ubiquity on UHF and cable stations in the 1980s and 1990s-has made it Bronson’s most identified work.

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