1974 Certificate: 18


Love him or loathe him, director turned gourmand Michael Winner created a major stir with his guns 'n' grudges vigilante series starring Charles Bronson. He of the killer moustache and great escapes is prompted to rid New York of its sidewalk scum when his wife is slaughtered and daughter reduced to a vegetable. If you overlook the dodgy morality, there's some thrilling action scenes and Bronson liked it so much he made two more after Winner jumped ship after DW3.


  • Michael Winner


  • Charles Bronson

  • Vincent Gardenia

  • Hope Lange


It's getting so that a mugger's not safe on the streets of New York any more.

Especially so when Charles Bronson is the one-man vigilante committee who cuts the city's hoodlum population down to size, after three of them have killed his wife (Hope Lange) and reduced his daughter (Kathleen Tolan) to a living vegetable.

A variable script is heftily combated by skilful action scenes and good nighttime photography on city streets.

It's certainly exciting, though the morality may be questionable, even in this day and age.

The public were clearly on the vigilante's side, and made the film a big hit: small wonder that Bronson and director Michael Winner subsequently made two further Death Wish films before Bronson soldiered on to two more alone.

Review from IPC