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Charles Bronson
Charles Bronson Biography, Filmography

Charles Bronson

The archetypal screen tough guy with weatherbeaten features, one film critic described Charles Bronson's rugged looks as "a Clark Gable that had been left out in the sun too long". Born Charles Buchinski, one of 14 children of struggling Lithuanian immigrant parents (his father was a coal miner), Bronson completed high school and joined his father in the Pennsylvannia coal mines (an experience that resulted in his having a fear of enclosed spaces for the rest of his life) and then served in WWII. After his return from the war, Bronson used the GI Bill Of Rights to study art (a passion he continued until his death), then enrolled at the Pasadena Playhouse in California. One of his teachers was impressed with the young man and recommended him to director Henry Hathaway, resulting in Bronson making his film debut in You're in the Navy Now (1951). He appeared on screen often early in his career, although often uncredited; however, he made an impact on audiences as the evil assistant to Vincent Price in the 3-D thriller House of Wax (1953). His sinewy yet muscular physique got him cast in action-type roles, often without a shirt to highlight his manly frame. He received positive feedback from critics for his performances in Vera Cruz (1954), Target Zero (1955) and Run of the Arrow (1957). Indie director Roger Corman cast Bronson as the lead in his low-budget gangster flick Machine-Gun Kelly (1958), then Bronson scored the lead in his own TV series, "Man with a Camera" (1958). The 1960s proved to be where Bronson made his reputation as a man of few words but much action. Director John Sturges cast him as half Irish/half Mexican gunslinger Bernardo O'Reilly in the smash hit western The Magnificent Seven (1960), and hired him again as tunnel rat Danny Velinski for the WWII POW epic The Great Escape (1963). Several more strong roles followed, then once again Bronson was back in military uniform, alongside Lee Marvin and Ernest Borgnine in the testosterone-filled The Dirty Dozen (1967). European audiences had really taken a shine to his minimalist acting style, and he headed to the Continent to star in several action-oriented films, including Bataille de San Sebastian, La (1968) (aka "Guns for San Sebastian"), the cult western C'era una volta il West (1968) (aka "Once Upon a Time in The West"), Passager de la pluie, Le (1969) (aka "Rider On The Rain") and, in one of the quirkier examples of intenratinal casting, alongside Japansese screen legend 'Toshiro Mifune' in the oriental western Soleil rouge (1971) (aka "Red Sun"). American audiences were by now keen to see Bronson back on US soil, and he returned triumphantly in the early 1970s to take the lead in more hard-edged crime and western dramas, including The Valachi Papers (1972) and the revenge western Chato's Land (1972). Bronson then hooked up with British director Michael Winner to star in several highly successful urban crime thrillers, including The Mechanic (1972) and Stone Killer, The (1973)_ . However, the film that proved to be a breakthrough for both Bronson and Winner came in 1974 with the release of the highly controversial Death Wish (1974). The US was at the time fearful of rising street crime, and audiences flocked to see a story about a meek architect who seeks revenge on hoods, rapists and killers by gunning them down on the streets of New York City. So popular was the film that it spawned four (inferior) sequels over the next 20 years.

Action fans could not get enough of tough guy Bronson, and he appeared in what many fans, and critics, consider his best role--as Depression-era streetfighter Chaney alongside James Coburn in the superb Hard Times (1975). That was followed by the somewhat slow but beautifully photographed western Breakheart Pass (1975) (with wife Jill Ireland), the light-hearted romp From Noon Till Three (1976), and as Soviet agent Grigori Borsov in director Don Siegel's Cold War thriller Telefon (1977). Bronson remained busy throughout the 1980s, with most of his films taking a more violent tone, and he was pitched as an avenging angel eradicating evildoers in films like 10 to Midnight (1983), The Evil That Men Do (1984), Assassination (1987) and Kinjite: Forbidden Subjects (1989). Bronson then put in an interesting performance in the Sean Penn-directed The Indian Runner (1991), and surprised everyone with his appearance as compassionate newspaper editor Francis Church in the family film Yes Virginia, There Is a Santa Claus (1991) (TV).

Bronson's final film roles were as police commissioner Paul Fein in the well-received trio of crime/drama TV movies Family of Cops (1995) (TV), Breach of Faith: Family of Cops II (1997) (TV) and Family of Cops III (1999) (TV). Unfortunately, ill health began to take its toll; he suffered from Alzheimers disease for several years, and he finally passed away from pneumonia at Cedars-Sinai Medical Centre in August 2003. Bronson was a true icon of international cinema; critics usually had few good things to say about his films, but he remained a fan favorite in both the US and abroad for 50 years, a claim that not very many other film stars can make.

Family of Cops III (1999) (TV) .... Paul Fein
Breach of Faith: Family of Cops II (1997) (TV) .... Commissioner Paul Fein
... aka Family of Cops II (Canada: English title) (Canada: French title) Family of Cops (1995) (TV) .... Paul Fein
... aka Une famille de flics (Canada: French title)
Death Wish V: The Face of Death (1994) .... Paul Kersey
... aka Death Wish 5: The Face of Death (UK: video box title)
... aka Death Wish: The Face of Death (USA: DVD box title)
Donato and Daughter (1993) (TV) .... Sgt. Mike Donato
... aka Dead to Rights
... aka Under Threat (UK)
The Sea Wolf (1993) (TV) .... Capt. Wolf Larsen
Yes Virginia, There Is a Santa Claus (1991) (TV) .... Francis Church
The Indian Runner (1991) .... Mr. Roberts
Kinjite: Forbidden Subjects (1989) .... Lt. Crowe
Messenger of Death (1988) .... Garret Smith
Death Wish 4: The Crackdown (1987) .... Paul Kersey
Assassination (1987) .... Jay Killion
Act of Vengeance (1986) (TV) .... Joseph 'Jock' Yablonski
Murphy's Law (1986) .... Jack Murphy
Death Wish 3 (1985) .... Paul Kersey
The Evil That Men Do (1984) .... Holland/Bart Smith
10 to Midnight (1983) .... Leo Kessler
Death Wish II (1982) .... Paul Kersey/Paul Kimmel/Dr. Carter
Death Hunt (1981) .... Albert Johnson
Borderline (1980) .... Jeb Maynard
Caboblanco (1980) .... Gifford Hoyt
Love and Bullets (1979) .... Charlie Congers
Telefon (1977) .... KGB Agent Grigori Borzov
The White Buffalo (1977) .... Wild Bill Hickok (James Otis)
... aka Hunt to Kill (USA: TV title)
Raid on Entebbe (1977) (TV) .... Brig. Gen. Dan Shomron
St. Ives (1976) .... Raymond St Ives
From Noon Till Three (1976) .... Graham Dorsey
Breakheart Pass (1975) .... John Deakin (John Murray, Secret Service agent)
Hard Times (1975) .... Chaney
... aka The Streetfighter (UK)
Breakout (1975) .... Nick Colton
Death Wish (1974) .... Paul Kersey
Mr. Majestyk (1974) .... Vince Majestyk
Valdez, il mezzosangue (1973) .... Chino Valdez
... aka Chino (France) (USA)
... aka Caballos salvajes (Spain)
... aka The Valdez Horses
... aka Valdez the Halfbreed (UK)
... aka Valdez, il mezzosangue (Italy)
... aka Wild Horses
The Stone Killer (1973) .... Detective Lt. Lou Torrey
... aka Assassino di pietra, L' (Italy)
The Mechanic (1972) .... Arthur Bishop
... aka Killer of Killers
Chato's Land (1972) .... Pardon Chato
The Valachi Papers (1972) .... Joe Valachi
... aka Carteggio Valachi (Italy)
... aka Cosa Nostra
... aka Dossier Valachi, Le (France)
... aka Joe Valachi
... aka Segreti di Cosa Nostra, I
The Bull of the West (1971) (TV) .... Ben Justin
... aka Hot Lead
... aka Vengeance Is the Spur (USA)
Quelqu'un derrière la porte (1971) .... The Stranger
... aka Someone Behind the Door (USA)
... aka Two Minds for Murder (UK)
Soleil rouge (1971) .... Link Stuart
... aka Red Sun (USA)
... aka Sol rojo (Spain)
... aka Sole rosso (Italy)
De la part des copains (1970) .... Joe Martin a.k.a. Joe Moran
... aka Cold Sweat (USA)
... aka Uomo dalle due ombre, L' (Italy)
... aka Vrienden laten groeten, De (Belgium: Flemish title)
Città violenta (1970) .... Jeff Heston
... aka Cité de la violence, La (France)
... aka The Family (USA)
... aka Violent City
You Can't Win 'Em All (1970) .... Josh Corey
... aka Soldiers of Fortune (USA: video title)
... aka The Dubious Patriots
Passager de la pluie, Le (1969) .... Col. Harry Dobbs
... aka Rider on the Rain (USA)
... aka Uomo venuto dalla pioggia, L' (Italy)
Twinky (1969) .... Scott Wardman
... aka Lola (USA)
... aka London Affair (USA)
... aka Statutory Affair
C'era una volta il West (1968) .... Harmonica
... aka Once Upon a Time in the West (USA)
... aka There Was Once the West (USA: literal English title)
Adieu l'ami (1968) .... Franz Propp
... aka Due sporche carogne (Italy)
... aka Farewell, Friend (USA)
... aka Honor Among Thieves (USA: reissue title)
... aka Tecnica di una rapina (Italy)
Villa Rides (1968) .... Rodolfo Fierro
Bataille de San Sebastian, La (1968) .... Teclo
... aka Cañones de San Sebastián, Los (Mexico)
... aka Cannoni di San Sebastian, I (Italy)
... aka Guns for San Sebastian (USA)
The Meanest Men in the West (1967) (TV) .... Harge Talbot Jr.
The Dirty Dozen (1967) .... Joseph T. Wladislaw
This Property Is Condemned (1966) .... J.J. Nichols
Battle of the Bulge (1965) .... Maj. Wolenski
The Sandpiper (1965) .... Cos Erickson
Guns of Diablo (1964) (TV) .... Linc Murdock
"Empire" (1962) TV Series .... Paul Moreno (1963)
... aka Big G (UK)
"The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters" (1963) TV Series .... Linc Murdock (1963-1964)
4 for Texas (1963) .... Matson
The Great Escape (1963) .... Flight. Lt. Danny 'The Tunnel King' Velinski
This Rugged Land (1962) .... Paul Moreno
Kid Galahad (1962) .... Lew Nyack
X-15 (1961) .... Lt. Col. Lee Brandon
A Thunder of Drums (1961) .... Trooper Hanna
Master of the World (1961) .... John Strock
The Magnificent Seven (1960) .... Bernardo O'Reilly
Never So Few (1959) .... Sgt. John Danforth
... aka Campaign Burma (USA: alternative title)
"Man with a Camera" (1958) TV Series .... Mike Kovac (1958-1960)
When Hell Broke Loose (1958) .... Steve Boland
Gang War (1958) .... Alan Avery
Machine-Gun Kelly (1958) .... George R. 'Machine Gun' Kelly
Ten North Frederick (1958) (uncredited) .... Bit Part
Showdown at Boot Hill (1958) .... Luke Welsh
... aka Shadow of Boot Hill
Run of the Arrow (1957) .... Blue Buffalo
... aka Hot Lead (USA: video title)
Jubal (1956) .... Reb Haislipp
Target Zero (1955) .... Vince Gaspari
Big House, U.S.A. (1955) .... Benny Kelly
Vera Cruz (1954) (as Charles Buchinsky) .... Pittsburgh
Drum Beat (1954/I) .... Kintpuash, aka Captain Jack
... aka Delmer Daves' Drum Beat (USA: complete title)
Apache (1954) (as Charles Buchinsky) .... Hondo
Riding Shotgun (1954) (as Charles Buchinsky) .... Pinto
Tennessee Champ (1954) (as Charles Buchinsky) .... Sixty Jubel
Crime Wave (1954) (as Charles Buchinsky) .... Ben Hastings
... aka The City Is Dark (UK)
Miss Sadie Thompson (1953) (as Charles Buchinsky) .... Pvt. Edwards
House of Wax (1953) (as Charles Buchinsky) .... Igor
Off Limits (1953) (uncredited) (as Charles Buchinsky) .... Russell
... aka Military Policemen (UK)
Torpedo Alley (1953) (uncredited) .... Submariner
... aka Down Periscope (USA)
The Clown (1953) (uncredited) .... Eddie, Dice Player
Bloodhounds of Broadway(1952) (as Charles Buchinski) .... Phil Green, aka 'Pittsburgh Philo'
Battle Zone (1952) (uncredited) .... Private
Diplomatic Courier (1952) (uncredited) .... The Russian
Pat and Mike (1952) (as Charles Buchinski) .... Henry 'Hank' Tasling
My Six Convicts (1952) (as Charles Buchinsky) .... Jocko
The Marrying Kind (1952) (uncredited) .... Eddie
Red Skies of Montana (1952) (uncredited) .... Neff
... aka Smoke Jumpers
The Mob (1951) (uncredited) .... Jack, a longshoreman
... aka Remember That Face (UK)
The People Against O'Hara (1951) (uncredited) .... Angelo Korvac
You're in the Navy Now (1951) (as Charles Buchinski) .... Wascylewski
... aka U.S.S. Teakettle (USA
Charles Bronson
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