EXTREME USA | Offscreen
Michael Winner's "Death Wish" and John Milius' "Red Dawn" are two ambiguous movies that were considered fascist upon release. They reflected the American paranoia and security, linked to the second amendment.
The screenplay of "Death Wis"h excited Winner because "it had no moral whatsoever," whereas Charles Bronson was enthused by the idea of "killing the rogues." This gave birth to one of the most morally suspicious genres, the vigilante or 'self-defense' movie, in which a normal citizen takes justice into his own hands through the use of violence. The film's success was such that four sequels followed, each one even more cartoon-like and extreme than the one before. After a while, Bronson couldn't stand the director's sadism and his complacency during violent scenes anymore and finishes his career with more virtuous directors.
John Milius is mainly known for his legendary "Conan the Barbarian". Two years after "Conan", he directed "Red Dawn", a cult hit among American survivalists, mixing teen comedy à la Ferris Bueller's Day Off with a serious war theme and an achromatic and patriotic anti-communist fervor – a strange cocktail worthy of the era's Reaganism. Red Dawn has always been considered one of the most violent Hollywood blockbusters ever made. Its ultra-right propaganda was exacerbated by director Milius' outrageous statements upon release, categorizing him as extremely right-wing. It even put him on the Hollywood blacklist for a couple of years.
Following the assault on his wife and daughter, Paul Kersey takes matters into his own hands. When night falls, he roams the streets of New York, killing every mugger crossing his path. A transposition of the violence of westerns to the American cities of the 1970s.
"Red Dawn" has always been considered one of the most violent Hollywood blockbusters ever. It's a cult hit among American survivalists, mixing teen comedy like "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" with a serious war theme, and achromatic and patriotic anti-communist fervor – a strange cocktail worthy of the Reaganism of the time.