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Multiple Years / Death Wish Movies
Death Wish was a 1974 movie loosely based on a 1972 novel by Brian Garfield. The plot focuses on the relentless vigilantism of a seemingly mild-mannered architecht Paul Kersey (Charles Bronson), a Korean War veteran. Kersey methodically pursues the band of criminals who raped and killed his wife during a home invasion. (Kersey's married daughter is also raped and suffers permanent psychological damage.) The film was notweorthy for its disturbing realism in the home-invasion scene and the ruthlessness in which Kersey stalks and mercilessly kills the culprits. The film received mixed to extremely negative reviews upon its release due to its support of vigilantism, but it had an impact on U.S. audiences. People were known to loudly cheer widely during the revenge-killing scenes. The movie did especially well at the box office in violence-plagued urban areas. Four sequels were made in the next two decades. Not surprisingly, the Death Wish films caused widespread debate over how to deal with rampant urban crime. Many critics were displeased with the film. One declared it to be an "immoral threat to society" and an encouragement of antisocial behavior. Vincent Canby of the New York Times was one of the most outspoken writers, condemning Death Wish in two extensive articles. Author Brian Garfield was also unhappy with the how the film varied greatly from his book. He called the film 'incendiary', and stated that each of the following sequels are all pointless and rancid, since they all advocate vigilantism unlike his two novels which are the exact opposite. Bronson defended the film: He felt it was intended to be a commentary on violence and was meant to attack violence, not romanticize it. Over time many critics began to warm to the original film more than the four sequels, which were more exploitative and contrived.