And You Thought It Would Fail: 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.
Awesome Music: The soundtracks for 2 and 3. It is to be expected when you have Jimmy Page being the composer.
Critical Dissonance: Save for the first film, the series on the whole was largely trounced by critics. But action fans enjoyed them, and their support allowed the franchise to last well into The '90s.
First Installment Wins: From a critical and filmmaking point of view, the first Death Wish was the best received film of the series. The rest of the sequels fell under a bad case of Sequelitis (they still have their fans, but usually for their So Bad, It's Good nature).
Germans Love David Hasselhoff: The movies are very popular in Mexico, to the grade the Spanish title of the movie, El Vengador Anonimo (The Anonymous Avenger) is synonymous of a cop who fights crime outside the law.
About ten years after the movie came out, Bernie Goetz would gun down four muggers in the New York subway in a similar manner as Paul Kersey does.
Iron Woobie: The only woman who survived being related to Paul Kersey is the one who abandoned him. Being a friend of Paul is no guarantee of survival, either. But Paul Kersey only grieves for a short while... and then gets even. With interests.
Sequelitis: The film started as a grounded, down-to-earth crime drama where Paul Kersey brought about a cynical analysis of the attitudes of Americans regarding the crime waves of the 1970s, and stood out as unique in the action genre at the time. Its four sequels however became progressively less grounded in reality and increasingly over the top, with Kersey resorting to excessive means in dispatching one typical action movie villain after another and dropping the social commentary that magnified the first film's impact.
The Woobie: Kersey's poor daughter just could not catch a break...