Combustible Celluloid
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With: Charles Bronson, Hope Lange, Vincent Gardenia, Steven Keats, William Redfield, Stuart Margolin, Stephen Elliott, Kathleen Tolan, Jack Wallace, Fred J. Scollay, Chris Gampel, Robert Kya-Hill, Edward Grover, Jeff Goldblum, Christopher Logan, Christopher Guest
Written by: Wendell Mayes, based on a novel by Brian Garfield
Directed by: Michael Winner
MPAA Rating: R
Running Time: 93
Date: 07/24/1974

Death Wish (1974)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Mugger Shots

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

I remember seeing Death Wish once in high school and thinking it was a hoot, but seeing it again made me shudder. It's a strange combination of machismo violence and quasi-fascist values. Charles Bronson starts out as a bleeding heart liberal whose ways are changed when his wife dies and his daughter is turned into a vegetable as the result of a random, brutal attack. During a business trip to Arizona a client gives him a gun, and he begins to use it on New York City muggers (which there seem to be an inordinate amount of). The media trumpets him as a hero, and he's never punished for his less-than-legal ways. It's a bit hard to take, but there's an undeniable thrill when Bronson blows away some sleazy mugger. Jeff Goldblum and Christopher Guest both had early, small roles in this.

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