The 1974 movie Death Wish was violent, disturbing, and vicariously gave people what they wanted: the cathartic feeling of fighting back against the evils of the world. That’s pretty common in movies now, but at the time, that was a groundbreaking concept in film. I recall the rush of seeing Paul Kersey, just a regular guy, get revenge on the criminals who destroyed his family, and then go after other bad guys as well. Then we felt bad about that rush, and had to think about how we’d react in that situation. Let’s look at some of the trivia behind the movie.
3. HENRY FONDA AND GEORGE C. SCOTT BOTH TURNED DOWN THE LEAD ROLE.
Henry Fonda said no because he found the script to be "repulsive." George C. Scott turned it down because of all its violence.
4. CHARLES BRONSON AND HIS AGENT DISAGREED ON THE FILM'S MESSAGE.
"It's the only time Paul Kohner, my agent, ever disagreed with me about a film," Bronson said in 1974. "Paul felt very strongly that it was a dangerous picture—that it might make people think it's right to take the law into their own hands. This is what the hero of the picture does when he wants a one-man vigilante squad to kill muggers, after three of them have murdered his wife and raped his daughter. I told Paul I thought the message was the same there that runs through a lot of my pictures: That violence is senseless because it only begets more violence."
And there’s a lot more to learn about Death Wish in a trivia list at mental_floss.