The first installment of the Death Wish series is probably the most important, as it explains how and why Paul Kersey became the Vigilante. The film opens with the violent rape of his wife and daughter. His daughter, the only survivor is left in a psychologically induced coma. Meanwhile A land developer friend of his gives him a gun as a gift and sign of friendship for closing a deal on a architecture design for a new development on the west coast. At first Paul keeps taking the gun out and staring at it not sure what to do with it. But a deep feeling in his gut keeps haunting him until he knows at last what he must do. This is when We get to see Paul Kersy take his first life in an act of pure frustration against the violent criminals that roam the streets of his city.
We get to see the human side of Paul Kersey more deeply in this first death wish film, and the impact his first killing has on him. Upon his first killing Paul vomits as it sinks in what he has just done. His hands shake and he is in a cold sweat, his guts in a knot.
Paul soon realizes that the only way to stop the sick feeling from his first killing is to keep killing more violent criminals, and that is exactly what he does. After each killing Paul becomes more relaxed with his new life as a Vigilante and becomes more confident towards continuing the killings. One by one Paul Kersey takes out his gun and rids the world of the scum bags that hold his city in fear. But it is Paul who ends up being feared by the criminals of the streets.
They know he is out there, they know he is looking for them. Every crime they do could be their last as the Vigilante is coming for them.