Trivia / Death Wish

  • Creator Backlash: Brian Garfield, the author of the original novel, sued the filmmakers for twisting the source material (ironically, the point of Garfield's novel was that vigilante tactics weren't the solution). You can probably guess from the four subsequent sequels that he lost.
  • It Will Never Catch On: Development of this film was turned-down by other Hollywood movie studios due to its contentious, controversial and sensitive subject matter involving vigilantism, pack-rape, and crime.
  • Retroactive Recognition: Jeff Goldblum makes his film debut as Freak #1.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • Burt Lancaster, George C. Scott and Frank Sinatra were offered the role of Paul Kersey, but backed out.
    • The role of Paul Kersey was originally meant for Steve McQueen, who turned it down.
    • Sidney Lumet was set to direct the film with Jack Lemmon playing Paul Kersey (presumably to be more in line with the "everyman" character in the book) and Henry Fonda as the police chief. After Lumet chose to direct ''Serpico instead, both Lemmon and Fonda dropped out.
    • At one point the movie was set to be shot in black-and-white.
    • Lee Marvin was another candidate for Paul Kersey.
    • The killing in the subway station was supposed to remain off-screen in the script, but Michael Winner himself decided to turn this into an actual, brutal scene.
    • The early draft of the script had the vigilante being inspired by seeing a fight scene in High Noon. Winner decided on a more elaborate scene, involving a fight scene in a recreation of the Wild West, taking place in Tucson, Arizona.
    • After the success of Dirty Harry, Clint Eastwood was offered the role of Paul Kersey but declined, feeling he would be poorly cast. He also thought that Gregory Peck would have been right for the part.
  • Working Title: Dino De Laurentiis and Paramount originally wanted to call the film The Sidewalk Vigilante because they thought a movie with "Death" in the title was a deterrent and would put audiences off.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Trivia/Deathwish