The Purge

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The Purge
The Purge poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by James DeMonaco
Produced by
Written by James DeMonaco
Music by Nathan Whitehead
Cinematography Jacques Jouffret
Edited by Peter Gvozdas
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release date
Running time
85 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $3 million[2]
Box office $89.3 million[3]

The Purge is a 2013 American dystopian horror film written and directed by James DeMonaco. The film stars Ethan Hawke, Lena Headey, Adelaide Kane, and Max Burkholder as a family held hostage during "The Purge", a 12-hour time in which all crime is legal.

The film grossed $89 million against a $3 million budget, becoming the lowest-budgeted film to finish first at the box office since 1988. It is the first (Chronologically, the second) installment in The Purge franchise with a sequel, titled Anarchy, was released worldwide on July 18, 2014, to even greater financial and critical success.[4] A third film, Election Year, was released July 1, 2016 while a prequel depicting the origins of the event, The First Purge, is scheduled to be released on July 4, 2018.[5][6]


In 2014, the New Founding Fathers of America, a totalitarian ultraconservative political party, are voted into office following an economic collapse. They pass a law that sanctions an annual national civic tradition called "The Purge". For 12 hours each year all crime is legal, except the murder of politicians, and all emergency services (law enforcement and medical) are unavailable. Any citizen who knowingly breaks the rules of the Purge faces a summary execution by hanging.

In 2022, James Sandin returns to his home in an affluent Los Angeles gated community to wait out the night with his wife Mary and their two children, 17-year-old Zoey and 14-year-old Charlie. The family is assured that the security system manufactured by James' company will keep them safe. While the family awaits the start of the purge, Zoey meets her boyfriend Henry, an older boy whom James dislikes due to his relentless pursuit of a relationship with Zoey. James enables the security system, and as the Purge begins, the family disperses in their home to go about their normal routines.

Zoey returns to her room to unexpectedly find Henry, who quietly snuck back in before the security system was engaged, and says that he plans to confront her dad about their relationship. Meanwhile, Charlie watches the security monitors, and sees a wounded man calling for help. He temporarily disables the system to allow the man into the house. James races to re-engage the system and holds the man at gunpoint as Henry comes downstairs and pulls a gun on James. Henry fires at James and misses, but James fires back, mortally wounding and eventually killing Henry. During the chaos, the wounded man disappears and hides.

Through the surveillance cameras at the front of the Sandins’ house, the family witness a gang of masked, heavily armed young adults arriving at the front lawn. After announcing that the subject of the night's purge that they are hunting escaped their captivity, The Leader politely warns them that failure to surrender the wounded man within a given time limit will result in the gang, later nicknamed by Mary ‘The Freaks’, breaking into their home and killing them all. Mary asks James if the security system will protect them, but James admits the system will not actually resist a planned and heavy assault. As their time passes, Mary and James decide to find the man and surrender him to ‘The Freaks’ counting down the time they have left outside. Charlie witnesses ‘The Freaks’ surrounding the house, through the surveillance cameras, as they taunt the family in the process of waiting for the family's time to be up. After capturing the wounded man, the Sandins realize they are no better than ‘The Freaks’. They decide to spare the man, and make the decision to defend themselves against ‘The Freaks’.

With their deadline having passed, ‘The Freaks’ secure chains to the metal plating on the home's entrances and to a truck, forcefully disabling the security system. Defensively, James fights back with a shotgun, shooting and killing one of the ‘Freaks’ after they attempt to kill Charlie. Attempting to save his family, he kills several ‘Freaks’, including the love interest of The Leader, before The Leader ambushes and fatally stabs James. James is reunited with Mary and Charlie before dying in the arms of his family. Charlie views the surveillance cameras, and notices their neighbors leaving their homes. The neighbors ambush the gang members outside before killing them with pistols. Elsewhere, Mary is subdued by two ‘Freaks’, one of whom tickle tortures her before almost killing her, before the neighbors arrive and shoot the attackers dead with pistols. As The Leader prepares to kill the remaining Sandins with a shotgun, Zoey arrives and opens fire on him with Henry's gun, killing The Leader and saving the family.

Mary thanks their neighbors for their support, but one of them, Grace Ferrin, reveals their hatred for the Sandins due to the wealth acquired at their expense. They tie Mary, Charlie, and Zoey up with duct tape, pulling them out into the hallway to kill them; Mary resists but backs down when one of the neighbors threatens to shoot Charlie. The man who Charlie allowed into the house appears; after killing a neighbor with a handgun, he holds Grace hostage, forcing the neighbors to free the Sandins. He asks if Mary wishes to kill the neighbors, but Mary spares them, supposedly in return for saving the family from the gang, and chooses to have everybody wait until the purge is over. In the morning, just before the Purge is to end, Grace attempts to seize a shotgun from Mary. Mary manages to gain the upper hand, striking and breaking Grace's nose with the gun's stock and throwing her face against a glass table; Mary angrily reminds her there will be no more violence in the remaining minutes of the Purge. Once the sirens sound off, thus ending the Purge, Mary demands the neighbors to leave and they do so without incident. Mary then thanks the man for his help, and he bids the Sandins good luck before leaving.

During the credits, news reports are heard, which state that this year’s purge was the most successful to date. Other stations broadcast that the stock market is booming due to the massive sales of weapons and security systems. A man’s voice is then heard, who states that both of his sons were killed the night before, and that his strong patriotism is now gone.


The Sandin family
The Neighbors
  • Arija Bareikis as Grace Ferrin
  • Dana Bunch as Mr. Ferrin
  • Chris Mulkey as Mr. Halverson
  • Tisha French as Mrs. Halverson
  • Tom Yi as Mr. Cali
The Purgers
  • Rhys Wakefield as Polite Leader
  • John Weselcouch as Interrupting Purger
  • Alicia Vela-Bailey as Female Tickling Purger
  • Aaron Kuban as Purger
  • Boima Blake as Purger
  • Nathan Clarkson as Purger
  • Chester Lockhart as Purger
  • Tyler Osterkamp as Purger
  • R. J. Wolfe as Purger
  • Trazariah Shells as Purger
  • Thomas Fuentelzar as Purger
Other characters


The film premiered at the Stanley Film Festival on May 2, 2013,[8] and released in cinemas on 31 May 2013 & 7 June 2013 in the United States.[9]

Home media[edit]

The Purge was released on DVD and Blu-ray Disc on October 8, 2013. A 4K UHD Blu-Ray release occurred on June 12 2018.[10]


Critical reception[edit]

Rotten Tomatoes records a rating of 38% based on 144 reviews for The Purge, with a weighted average of 5.1/10, with the site's consensus stating, "Half social allegory, half home-invasion thriller, The Purge attempts to make an intelligent point, but ultimately devolves into numbing violence and tired clichés."[11] The film holds a score of 41 out of 100 on Metacritic, based on 33 critics, signifying "mixed or average reviews".[12]

On io9, Charlie Jane Anders described it as "a clunky and implausible political screed in movie form."[13] Entertainment Weekly gave The Purge a B−, saying that it "clearly has a lot on its mind, but it never really manages to express it."[14]

Box office[edit]

In its opening weekend, The Purge topped the box office with $16.8 million on opening day and $34.1 million through the entire weekend.[15] The film has collected $64.5 million domestically and $24.9 million outside the United States, for a total of $89.3 million worldwide, with a production budget of $3 million.[16]

Sequels and prequel[edit]

Due to the success of the first film, a sequel, The Purge: Anarchy, was developed by Universal and Blumhouse. It was released worldwide on July 18, 2014 and is set in 2023, a year after the first film.[17][18] Edwin Hodge (The Stranger) was the only cast member to reprise a role.

A third film, The Purge: Election Year, was released on July 1, 2016.[19]

A fourth film, The First Purge, is set to be as a prequel in the franchise and will be released on July 4, 2018.[20]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The Purge' (15)". British Board of Film Classification. April 30, 2013. Retrieved April 30, 2013. 
  2. ^ Kaufman, Amy (2013-06-06). "Box office: Low-budget 'The Purge' expected to beat 'The Internship'". Los Angeles Times. Tribune Company. Retrieved 10 June 2013. 
  3. ^ "The Purge (2013) – Box Office Mojo". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved November 20, 2014. 
  4. ^ "The Purge Movies at the Box Office - Box Office Mojo". 
  5. ^ "Warning: The next Purge will take place on July 4, 2018". February 17, 2017. Retrieved February 19, 2017. 
  6. ^ "Purge 4 Director Will be Burning Sands' Gerard McMurray". 20 July 2017. 
  7. ^ The character's real name was revealed as "Dwayne" in The Purge: Anarchy.
  8. ^ Kit, Borys. "Ethan Hawke's The Purge to Open Inaugural Stanley Film Festival". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 22 April 2013. 
  9. ^ "The Purge (2013) – International Box Office Results". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 5 July 2013. 
  10. ^ "High Def Digest | Blu-ray and Games News and Reviews in High Definition". Retrieved 2018-05-01. 
  11. ^ "The Purge (2013)". Rotten Tomatoes. Warner Bros. Retrieved February 21, 2018. 
  12. ^ "The Purge". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved June 16, 2013. 
  13. ^ Anders, Charlie Jane (2013-06-07). "The Purge could be this year's most hamfisted political movie". io9. Gawker Media. Retrieved 10 June 2013. 
  14. ^ Nashawaty, Chris (2013). "The Purge". Entertainment Weekly (1263): 72. Retrieved 9 June 2013. 
  15. ^ "Weekend Box Office Results for June 7-9, 2013". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2013-06-16. 
  16. ^ "The Purge (2013) – Box Office Mojo". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 20 November 2014. 
  17. ^ "The Purge has a sequel in development". 10 June 2013. Retrieved 5 July 2013. 
  18. ^ "Universal Re-Slots The Purge:". 28 February 2014. Retrieved 1 March 2014. 
  19. ^ Mike Fleming Jr (6 October 2014). "'The Purge' Scares Up Third Film With Director James DeMonaco - Deadline". 
  20. ^ "This Is What The Purge 4 Will Be About - CINEMABLEND". 29 September 2016. 

External links[edit]