Charles Bronson as Paul Kersey, architect and soon-to-be vigilante
Tucson, Arizona, and New York City, Winter 1974
Film: Death Wish
Release Date: July 24, 1974
Director: Michael Winner
Costume Designer: Joseph G. Aulisi
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
After a wave of films celebrating outlaws during the counterculture era of the late ’60s (i.e. Bonnie and Clyde and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid), an opposing wave crashed through American cinema at the start of the following decade, centered around a philosophy of vigilantism. The trend arguably kicked into high gear with Clint Eastwood’s renegade detective in Dirty Harry who despised the proverbial red tape preventing him from bringing deadly criminals to justice with his famed .44 Magnum. Within five years, Martin Scorsese had already evolved the focus from an endorsement of vigilantism into a cautionary tale with the release of Taxi Driver. Before the troubled Travis Bickle took it upon himself to “wash all this scum off the streets” of New York City, there was Paul Kersey.
Charlton Heston as Colonel Robert Neville, MD, former military scientist and resourceful survivor
Los Angeles, August 1977
Film: The Omega Man
Release Date: August 1, 1971
Director: Boris Sagal
Costumers: Margo Baxley & Bucky Rous
Tailor: Albert Mariani
The second of three adaptations of Richard Matheson’s 1954 novel I Am Legend, The Omega Man stars Charlton Heston as Robert Neville, a survivor of a global pandemic. “The last man on earth… is not alone!” exclaimed the film’s advertising, and indeed Neville is forced to fortify himself into his home each night, warding off attacks from The Family, a violent cult of fellow survivors who—without the experimental vaccine that saved Neville—were mutated by the effects of the plague into nocturnal albinos.
Sean Patrick Flanery and Norman Reedus as
Connor MacManus and Murphy MacManus (respectively), Irish-American blue-collar vigilante brothers
Boston, MA, March 1999
Film: The Boondock Saints
Release Date: January 22, 1999
Director: Troy Duffy
Costume Designer: Mary E. McLeod
Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
For most of us, St. Patrick’s Day is a celebration full of green beer, corned beef, and bad decisions. For the MacManus brothers, two cheeky but religious meat packers in South Boston, it usually means the same thing. Even Murphy MacManus uses the holiday to welcome a trio Russian mobsters to the neighborhood bar:
Yeah, it’s St. Paddy’s Day, everyone’s Irish tonight. Why don’t you just pull up a stool and have a drink with us?
Unfortunately, the Russkies aren’t as willing to throw a few back and celebrate, so the holiday leads to an eruption of violence that evolves the MacManus brothers into “The Boondock Saints”. Continue reading