The Purge

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The Purge
The Purge-logo.png
Created by James DeMonaco
Original work The Purge (2013)
Films and television
Television series

The Purge is an American horror franchise, consisting of four films and a television series. The films are based on a future dystopian America, where all crime is made legal once a year. The concept was created by James DeMonaco, who also directed the first three films, wrote all the movies, and has written the first episode of the television series so far.

The Purge series has received a generally mixed critical reception, and has grossed over $447 million[1] in the worldwide box office against a combined budget of $35 million.


Film U.S. release date Director(s) Screenwriter(s) Producer(s)
The Purge June 7, 2013 (2013-06-07) James DeMonaco James DeMonaco Jason Blum, Michael Bay, Andrew Form,
Brad Fuller, Sebastien Lemercier
The Purge: Anarchy July 18, 2014 (2014-07-18)
The Purge: Election Year July 1, 2016 (2016-07-01)
The First Purge July 4, 2018 (2018-07-04) Gerard McMurray Jason Blum, Michael Bay, Andrew Form,
Brad Fuller, Sebastien Lemercier, James DeMonaco

The Purge (2013)[edit]

The Purge stars Ethan Hawke, Lena Headey, Max Burkholder, Adelaide Kane, Edwin Hodge, Tony Oller, Rhys Wakefield and Arija Bareikis.

An affluent Los Angeles neighborhood is home to the Sandin family. On Purge night 2022, the family becomes a target of a masked gang of young criminals due to their actions in helping a wounded stranger being targeted by Purgers to take shelter in their home. The sadistic gang leader unmasks himself to threaten the family via the cameras that they would be murdered if they don't surrender the man within an hour. The stranger later helps the Sandins when the purging gang and the hateful neighbors invade the household and attempt to kill them.

Despite mixed reviews, the film grossed $89.3 million during its run, far surpassing its $3 million budget. The film was turned into a scare zone for 2014's annual Halloween Horror Nights due to its success.

The Purge: Anarchy (2014)[edit]

The Purge: Anarchy, released worldwide on July 18, 2014,[2] stars Frank Grillo, Carmen Ejogo, Zach Gilford, Kiele Sanchez, Zoë Soul and Michael K. Williams while Edwin Hodge reprises his role of "The Stranger" from the first movie.[3] Unlike the first Purge film, which was set entirely in one house during the carnage, Anarchy takes viewers out to the Los Angeles area and shows more of what happens to the surroundings during the Purge.

Off-duty Los Angeles Police Department sergeant Leo Barnes purges to avenge his son's death and becomes the protector of a married couple whose car breaks down on the Purge's commencement and a working-class mother and daughter who are kidnapped from their home. The wounded stranger from the first film is the partner of Carmelo Johns, leader of an anti-Purge resistance group that hacks into TV programs to broadcast messages challenging the system, stating that the Purge does not cleanse aggression, but rather eliminates the poor.

The film was met with generally mixed reviews, though many critics agreed it was a large improvement over the first film, and was a box office success, grossing $111.9 million compared to its $9 million budget.

The Purge: Election Year (2016)[edit]

The third film was released on July 1, 2016[4] in which Frank Grillo and Edwin Hodge reprise their roles from the previous film, and are joined by Elizabeth Mitchell, who plays Senator Charlie Roan. On October 6, it was announced that James DeMonaco would be back for the third film to write and direct, while producers Sébastien K. Lemercier, Blumhouse Productions' Jason Blum, and Platinum Dunes partners Michael Bay, Brad Fuller, and Andrew Form would also be back. Shooting began on September 16 in Woonsocket, Rhode Island.[5] Edwin Hodge and Frank Grillo reprise their roles from the previous film.

LAPD sergeant Leo Barnes is the chief of security for U.S. Senator and leading U.S. presidential candidate Charlie Roan, who vows to end the Purge, having witnessed the death of her family 18 years ago, during the events of the first film. In a bid to prevent this from happening, The New Founding Fathers of America (NFFA) takes the unprecedented step of abolishing the protection afforded to government officials of ranking 10, allowing the U.S. public to target all government officials for the first time since the purge's creation. After a betrayal within the government targets her for death minutes after the Purge's commencement, Barnes must protect Roan while on the run for safety until they meet and form an alliance with some of her supporters; two shopkeepers, an EMT, and an anti-Purge rebel team headed by the wounded Stranger from the first two films, whose real name is Dante Bishop. The group are also aided by the notorious Crips gang to avoid an NFFA-loyal neo-Nazi/white supremacist paramilitary team from capturing the senator. Meanwhile, the NFFA candidate and Roan's rival, Minister Edwidge Owens, who has been set up as a candidate to maintain the status quo, leads the NFFA in committing more acts of violence during Purge night as rebels try to protect more citizens.

The First Purge (2018)[edit]

In September 2016, James DeMonaco, who wrote and directed every film in the series thus far, stated that the fourth film would be a prequel to the trilogy. The film shows how the United States got to the point of accepting the Purge.[6]

In February 2017, DeMonaco announced that a fourth installment was in development. DeMonaco returned to write the script, while Jason Blum, Michael Bay, Brad Fuller, and Andrew Form returning to produce the film with Sébastien K. Lemercier.[7] In July 2017 it was announced that Gerard McMurray was signed to direct the film, and shooting began in September 2017 in Buffalo, New York.[8] The film was released on July 4, 2018.[9]


In an interview with Scream, The Purge television series show runner Thomas Kelly stated that a heist film set on Purge Night has been considered.[10]

Television series[edit]

The Purge (2018)[edit]

A television series about the formation of the Purge is also hinted by DeMonaco. The series would possibly deal with how the New Founding Fathers were voted to office after overthrowing the U.S. Government during an economic collapse and social unrest and how they came up with the idea of the Purge. In May 2017, it was reported that Syfy and USA Network will premiere the series in 2018.[11] On February 26, 2018, it was announced that Gabriel Chavarria and Jessica Garza were cast as the leads in the upcoming series. Chavarria will portray Miguel, a US Marine who returns home on Purge Night after receiving a cryptic message from his sister, Penelope portrayed by Garza belonging to a Purge worshipping cult and has pledged to become a sacrifice at the will of their charismatic leader forcing Miguel to face the senseless violence on the streets alone in order to protect those he loves most – his family.[12] The series premiered on September 4, 2018.

Plot prologue[edit]

In 2014, following an economic collapse and rising social unrest, a political organization named "The New Founding Fathers of America" (NFFA) is formed, overthrows the government, and is voted into office. The organization establishes a new totalitarian government and a police state. In 2016, the NFFA devises a plan to help stabilize American society and later in 2017, the 28th Amendment to the U.S Constitution is ratified. This amendment establishes a 12-hour event known as "The Purge" which would take place from 7:00 in the evening of March 21 to 7:00 in the morning of March 22, wherein all crime including murder becomes legal. Before the Purge begins, the Emergency Broadcast System is activated with rules and a prayer saying "Blessed be our New Founding Fathers and America, a nation reborn" before ending with "May God be with you all".

The rules for the annual Purge are as follows:

  • Sirens blare throughout the land to signal the start and end of The Purge.
  • All police, fire, and medical emergency services remain unavailable or suspended for the twelve-hour Purge.
  • Government officials with "authorization levels" of ranking 10 or higher are granted immunity (revoked in Election Year to legalize the murder of a political opponent).
  • Weapons of "Class 4" and below are permitted for use while "Class 5" weaponry (explosive devices such as grenades, rocket launchers, bazookas, etc., weapons of mass destruction, and viral/biological and chemical agents) is prohibited.
  • Public hanging is the penalty for violators of any rules.

Below is how the Emergency Broadcast System announces the Purge' commencement in the first two films:

In The Purge: Election Year (taking place 20 years after the establishment of The Purge), the rule granting immunity to ranking 10 officials is revoked by the NFFA in order to assassinate Roan, a lawyer-turned-senator who has achieved parity in the polls with the NFFA candidate. This was done to prevent her from overturning the 28th Amendment. The line "And for the first time since its inception, no one has been granted special immunity for the Purge. No citizen or group will be exempt" was added to the emergency broadcast in this film.

Below is how the Emergency Alert System announces the Purge's commencement on NOAA Weather Radio:

and in 2040:

Within the film series, the Purge has resulted in crime and unemployment rates plummeting to 1% and a strong economy. Although it is thought to be used as an act of catharsis for the U.S. populace, it is actually used as a method of artificial population control, as the unemployed poor in slum neighborhoods as well as some working-class people are usually the main targets; in Election Year, a character notes that sneaking up on a black man on Purge night is a particularly foolish action, suggesting that black people are used to being targets on this night.


Character Film Television
The Purge The Purge:
The Purge:
Election Year
The First Purge The Purge
2013 2014 2016 2018 2018
Purge Emergency Broadcast System Cindy Robinson
Dante Bishop
The Stranger
Edwin Hodge  
James Sandin Ethan Hawke  
Mary Sandin Lena Headey  
Zoey Sandin Adelaide Kane  
Charlie Sandin Max Burkholder  
Polite Stranger Rhys Wakefield  
Grace Ferrin Arija Bareikis  
Sergeant Leo Barnes   Frank Grillo  
Eva Sanchez   Carmen Ejogo  
Shane   Zach Gilford  
Liz   Kiele Sanchez  
Cali Sanchez   Zoë Soul  
Carmelo Johns   Michael K. Williams Mentioned  
"Big Daddy"   Jack Conley  
"Ghoul Face"   Keith Stanfield  
Warren Grass   Brandon Keener  
Charlene "Charlie" Roan   Elizabeth Mitchell  
Joe Dixon   Mykelti Williamson  
Marcos   Joseph Julian Soria  
Laney Rucker
Le Pequeñe Muerte
  Betty Gabriel  
Earl Danzinger   Terry Serpico  
Minister Edwidge Owens   Kyle Secor  
Caleb Warrens   Raymond J. Barry  
Harmon James   Christopher James Baker  
Dmitri   Y'lan Noel  
Nya   Lex Scott Davis  
Isaiah   Joivan Wade  
Dolores   Mugga  
Luisa   Lauren Velez  
Selina   Kristen Solis  
Dr. May Updale

The Architect

  Marisa Tomei  
Miguel Guerrero   Gabriel Chavarria
Jane Barbour   Amanda Warren
Jenna Batencourt   Hannah Anderson
Rick Batencourt   Colin Woodell
Penelope Guerrero   Jessica Garza
Lila Stanton   Lili Simmons
Good Leader Tavis   Fiona Dourif
David Ryker   William Baldwin
Albert Stanton   Reed Diamond
Joe   Lee Tergesen
Alison   Jessica Miesel


Box office performance[edit]

Film Release date Box office gross Budget Ref(s)
North America Other
The Purge June 7, 2013 $64,473,115 $24,855,512 $89,328,627 $3 million [13]
The Purge: Anarchy July 18, 2014 $71,962,800 $39,965,565 $111,928,365 $9 million [14]
The Purge: Election Year July 1, 2016 $79,213,375 $39,374,505 $118,587,880 $10 million [15]
The First Purge July 4, 2018 $69,086,325 $67,125,653 $136,211,978 $13 million [16]
Total $284,112,750 $162,795,582 $446,908,332 $35 million [17]

Critical and public response[edit]

Film Rotten Tomatoes Metacritic CinemaScore
The Purge 38% (145 reviews)[18] 41 (33 reviews)[19] C[20]
The Purge: Anarchy 56% (130 reviews)[21] 50 (32 reviews)[22] B[20]
The Purge: Election Year 53% (145 reviews)[23] 55 (31 reviews)[24] B+[20]
The First Purge 52% (126 reviews)[25] 54 (39 reviews)[26] B–[20]

See also[edit]

  • "The Return of the Archons", a 1967 episode of Star Trek that revolves around an event by the "Lawgivers" known as the "Festival", in which violence, destruction, and sexual aggressiveness are allowed for 12 hours.
  • Kronia, an Ancient Greek holiday in which limitations are temporarily lifted.


  1. ^ Lloyd, Robert. "Review: Does 'The Purge' translate as TV? Wake us up and we'll tell you - Los Angeles Times". Retrieved 2018-09-21.
  2. ^ "Universal Re-Slots The Purge: Anarchy". 28 February 2014. Retrieved 1 March 2014.
  3. ^ "The Purge 2 Promo Art". 1 January 2014. Retrieved 2 January 2014.
  4. ^ Natalie Stone (8 January 2015). "'The Purge 3' Gets 2016 Release Date". The Hollywood Reporter.
  5. ^ Fleming Jr, Mike (October 6, 2014). "'The Purge' Scares Up Third Film With Director James DeMonaco". Retrieved October 7, 2014.
  6. ^ "This Is What The Purge 4 Will Be About - CINEMABLEND". 29 September 2016.
  7. ^ "New 'Purge' Movie Gets Summer 2018 Release Date". February 17, 2017. Retrieved February 17, 2017.
  8. ^ "'Purge 4' Finds Director in 'Burning Sands' Filmmaker Gerard McMurray". 20 July 2017.
  9. ^ "Warning: The Next Purge Will Take Place on July 4, 2018". February 17, 2017. Retrieved February 17, 2017.
  10. ^ Scream Issue #50 - Horror TV: On Set for The Purge
  11. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (15 May 2017). "'Purge': Premise Of Companion TV Series Revealed". Deadline. Retrieved 8 June 2017.
  12. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (February 26, 2018). "'The Purge': Gabriel Chavarria & Jessica Garza To Star In TV Series For USA & Syfy". Deadline. Retrieved February 27, 2018.
  13. ^ "The Purge". Box Office Mojo. January 9, 2015.
  14. ^ "The Purge: Anarchy". Box Office Mojo. January 9, 2015.
  15. ^ "The Purge: Election Year (2016)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved September 1, 2016.
  16. ^ "The First Purge (2018)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved July 5, 2018.
  17. ^ "The Purge Movies at the Box Office". Box Office Mojo. July 3, 2018.
  18. ^ "The Purge (2013)". Rotten Tomatoes. Warner Bros. Retrieved September 28, 2013.
  19. ^ "The Purge". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved June 16, 2013.
  20. ^ a b c d "CinemaScore". Retrieved March 12, 2015.
  21. ^ "The Purge: Anarchy". Rotten Tomatoes. July 17, 2014. Retrieved October 7, 2014.
  22. ^ "The Purge: Anarchy". Metacritic. Retrieved 2014-10-07.
  23. ^ "The Purge: Election Year". Rotten Tomatoes. June 30, 2016. Retrieved July 1, 2016.
  24. ^ "The Purge: Election Year". Metacritic. June 30, 2016. Retrieved July 1, 2016.
  25. ^ "The First Purge (2018)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved July 5, 2018.
  26. ^ "The First Purge Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved July 5, 2018.

External links[edit]