The Purge

The Purge is an American media franchise centered on a series of dystopian action horror films distributed by Universal Pictures and produced by Blumhouse Productions and Platinum Dunes, mainly created by James DeMonaco. The films present a near-future dystopian America which celebrates an annual national holiday known as the Purge, in which all crimes, including murder, are legal for a 12-hour period.

The Purge-logo.png
Created byJames DeMonaco
Original workThe Purge (2013)
Owned byUniversal Pictures
Films and television
Television seriesThe Purge (2018–2019)

The event began in 2013 with The Purge, directed by the franchise creator DeMonaco, who also directed two of the sequels and wrote the screenplays for all, including the yet-unnamed Purge 5 which, he has hinted in interviews, could be the end of the franchise.[1] In addition to films, the franchise has spawned a television series which premiered on September 4, 2018; DeMonaco wrote its pilot episode.

The franchise has received a generally mixed critical reception, mainly for the screenwriting and clichéd stories, but was praised for the concept, acting, style, and action sequences. The franchise has grossed overall over $446 million against a combined production budget of $35.5 million.


Overview of The Purge films
Film U.S. release date Director Screenwriter Producers
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
The Forever Purge July 9, 2021 (2021-07-09) Everardo Gout[2] 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.

The film follows the experience of the Sandin family on Purge night of the year 2022. The family of four lives in an affluent Los Angeles neighborhood and, along with their neighbors, show their patriotism and support for the national holiday by displaying blue flowers on their front stoops. The Sandins bunker down into their home to wait out the ensuing violence of the next 12-hours caused by revelers "purging" their unproductive emotions of hate, jealousy, and rage in a flurry of state-sanctioned mayhem, destruction, and murder. Citizens rationalize the suffering, which critics call socio-economically unbalanced, by citing the country's unprecedented peace, prosperity, and wealth.

The Sandin home, protected by an ostensibly high-quality security system sold far and wide by the family's father and head of household, becomes the target of a masked group of young holiday "Purgers" whose economically disadvantaged and severely wounded victim, referred to as homeless by the leader, escapes and is given refuge by the youngest child of the Sandin family. Frustrated by the interruption of their ritual sacrifice, the sadistic gang leader unmasks himself and threatens the entire family with murder if they don't surrender the man within the hour, or whenever reinforcements arrive with the equipment they need to bust through the barricades. After initially trying to capture the man and leave him to suffer his fate with the purgers, the family decides to help the man whose pain is no longer remote and can't be ignored, thus opening themselves up to accusations of unpatriotism. The purgers manage to break in and brutal fighting ensues with casualties on both sides. Losing their advantage, the family is about to be killed until they are "saved" by their neighbors, who blast away the remaining purgers to then announce that the Sandins' lives are their neighbors' to take. Facing execution by former friends, the stranger, who managed to escape most of the fighting, helps the Sandins by disarming the jealous neighbors. Faced with the choice of killing their neighbors, which in this world would be well within their rights, the family decides to hold them hostage until Purge night is over, further highlighting their unwillingness to participate in the killing holiday.

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 in 2014 for Universal Parks & Resorts annual Halloween Horror Nights due to its success.

The Purge: Anarchy (2014)Edit

The Purge: Anarchy, released worldwide on July 18, 2014,[3] 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.[4] 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[5] 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 Derin Jacob 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.[6]

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 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. Meanwhile, NFFA candidate and Roan's rival, Minister Edwidge Owens, leads the NFFA in committing more acts of violence during Purge night as rebels try to protect more citizens.

The film received mixed reviews from critics and went on to gross over $118 million worldwide against a budget of $10 million, becoming the second highest-grossing film of the series.

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.[7]

Sometime after the New Founding Fathers are elected, they devise an experiment, which would later become known as the Purge. The Purge starts its trial run in the year 2017, confined only on Staten Island, New York. While only small crimes take place during the event, a corrupt official in the NFFA tampers with the experiment by adding mercenaries to increase casualties and to gain more favor.

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.[8] In July 2017 it was announced that Derin Jacob was signed to direct the film, and shooting began in September 2017 in Buffalo, New York.[9] The film was released on July 4, 2018 to mixed reviews from critics and went on to gross over $137 million worldwide on a $13 million budget, becoming the highest grossing entry in the franchise.[10]

The Forever Purge (2021)Edit

In October 2018, Purge creator James DeMonaco stated that the fifth film will be the last in the series.

"I think I'm going to write it", DeMonaco said. "I think it's a great way to end it all. We want to end it all, I think, in this one, and I'm very excited. When I came up with the idea and pitched it to everybody, they seemed psyched, and I think it will be a really cool ending, how we take this one home".[11]

It was announced that Everardo Gout will direct the film.[2] The film was initially scheduled to be released in the United States on July 10, 2020, by Universal Pictures.[12] In May 2020, the film was delayed indefinitely not only due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but also following the announcement of movie theater chains ceasing distribution of Universal films.[13]

Television seriesEdit

The Purge (2018–2019)Edit

In May 2017, it was reported that Syfy and USA Network would premiere the series in 2018.[14] On February 26, 2018, it was announced that Gabriel Chavarria and Jessica Garza were cast as the leads in the upcoming series.[15] On November 6, 2018, USA Network renewed the show for a second season,[16] which premiered October 15, 2019 with 10 episodes and follows up from the events of the first season. In an interview with Scream, The Purge television series showrunner Thomas Kelly stated that a heist film set on Purge Night has been considered; this plot point was later used in the series' second season.[17] On May 13, 2020, the USA Network canceled the series after two seasons.[18]


In 2014, following an economic collapse and rising social unrest, a political organization named The New Founding Fathers of America (NFFA) is formed 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 PM on March 21 to 7 AM on March 22 wherein all crime 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 full 12-hour Purge.
  • Government officials of ranking 10+ are granted immunity (revoked in Election Year to legalize the murder of a political opponent).
  • "Classes 1-4" weaponry are permitted

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

This is not a test.

This is your emergency broadcast system announcing the commencement of the Annual Purge sanctioned by the U.S. Government. Weapons of class 4 and lower have been authorized for use during the Purge. All other weapons are restricted. Government officials of ranking 10 have been granted immunity from the Purge and shall not be harmed. Commencing at the siren, any and all crime, including murder, will be legal for 12 continuous hours. Police, fire, and emergency medical services will be unavailable until tomorrow morning at 7 a.m., when The Purge concludes. Blessed be our New Founding Fathers and America, a nation reborn.

May God be with you all.

— Purge Emergency Broadcast System

In The Purge: Election Year (taking place 20 years after establishment of The Purge), the rule granting immunity to ranking 10 officials is revoked by the NFFA in order to assassinate Roan, an anti-Purge Presidential candidate who runs on a platform of overturning the 28th Amendment which, to the NFFA's distress, has achieved parity in the polls with their candidate. This change is reflected in the announcement of the final Purge's commencement as follows:

This is not a test.

This is your emergency broadcast system announcing the commencement of the Annual Purge, sanctioned by the U.S. Government. Commencing at the siren, any and all crime, including murder, will be legal for 12 continuous hours. Weapons of class 4 and lower have been authorized for use during the Purge. All other weapons are restricted. Police, fire and emergency medical services will be unavailable until tomorrow morning at 7 am. And, for the first time since its inception, no one has been granted special immunity from the Purge. No citizen or group will be exempt. Blessed be our New Founding Fathers and America, a nation reborn.

May God be with you all.

— Purge Emergency Broadcast System

In The First Purge, taking place in 2017 on Staten Island, New York, which was blocked off from all contact due to the First Purge really being a social experiment conducted by the New Founding Fathers, providing monetary compensation of at least $5,000 to anyone who decides to stay on the island for the night, 1 year prior to the first nationwide Purge. Below shows the commencement speech as follows:

This is not a test.

This is your emergency broadcast system announcing the commencement of the NFFA Social Experiment on Staten Island, New York. Weapons of class 4 and lower have been authorized for use during the experiment. Any and all crime, including murder, will be legal for 12 continuous hours. Blessed be our New Founding Fathers and America, a nation reborn.

May God be with you all.

— Staten Island Purge Emergency Broadcast System

Within the film series, the Purge has resulted in crime and unemployment rates plummeting to 1% and a strong economy. Although it's thought to be used as an act of catharsis for the U.S. populace, it's 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. By this time it has also increased tourism as foreigners enter the US solely to participate in the Purge.

The event is presumed to have ended 3 months later from the main events of the third film.

Main cast and charactersEdit

A Y indicates the actor/actress plays younger version of another actor's character.
A V indicates the actor/actress only provided their voice for their character.
A dark gray cell indicates the character not to have been in the medium.
Cast and characters of The Purge films
Characters Films Television series
The Purge The Purge: Anarchy The Purge: Election Year The First Purge The Purge
Season 1 Season 2
Megan Lewis
Purge Emergency Broadcast System
Cindy RobinsonV Cindy Robinson
Dante Bishop
The Stranger
Edwin Hodge
James Sandin Ethan Hawke Ethan Hawke
Leo Barnes
The Sergeant
  Frank Grillo
Carmelo Johns   Michael K. Williams Mentioned
Dr. May Updale
The Architect
Marisa Tomei   Mentioned
Bobby Sheridan Dermot MulroneyV Dermot Mulroney
Mary Sandin Lena Headey
Zoe Sandin Adelaide Kane
Charlie Sandin Max Burkholder
"Polite Stranger" Rhys Wakefield
Grace Ferrin Arija Bareikis
Eva Sanchez   Carmen Ejogo
Shane   Zach Gilford
Liz   Kiele Sanchez
Cali Sanchez   Zoë Soul
"Big Daddy"   Jack Conley
"Ghoul Face"   Lakeith Stanfield
Warren Grass   Brandon Keener
Charlie Roan Elizabeth Mitchell
Christy CocoY
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 Cimber Y'lan Noel  
Nya Charms Lex Scott Davis  
Isaiah Charms Joivan Wade  
Dolores Mugga  
Luisa Lauren Velez  
Selina Kristen Solis  
Miguel Guerrero Gabriel Chavarria
Jane Barbour Amanda Warren
Jenna Betancourt Hannah Anderson
Rick Betancourt Colin Woodell
Penelope Guerrero Jessica Garza
Lila Stanton Lili Simmons
Good Leader Tavis Fiona Dourif
David Ryker William Baldwin
Albert Stanton Reed Diamond
Joe Owens Lee Tergesen
Pete the Cop Dominic Fumusa
Marcus Moore Derek Luke
Ryan Grant Max Martini
Esmé Carmona Paola Núñez
Ben Gardner Joel Allen
Carson MinniearY


The Purge is considered the eighth highest grossing horror film franchise of all-time.

Box office gross of The Purge films
Film Release date Box office gross Budget
U.S. Non-U.S. Worldwide
The Purge[19] June 7, 2013 $64,473,115 $24,855,512 $89,328,627 $3 million
The Purge: Anarchy[20] July 18, 2014 $71,962,800 $39,965,565 $111,928,365 $9 million
The Purge: Election Year[21] July 1, 2016 $79,213,375 $39,374,505 $118,587,880 $10 million
The First Purge[22] July 4, 2018 $69,086,325 $67,125,653 $136,211,978 $13 million
Total[23][dead link] $284,112,750 $162,795,582 $446,908,332 $35 million
Critical and audience response to The Purge films
Films Rotten Tomatoes Metacritic CinemaScore
The Purge 40% (151 reviews)[24] 41 (33 reviews)[25] C[26]
The Purge: Anarchy 56% (137 reviews)[27] 50 (32 reviews)[28] B[26]
The Purge: Election Year 56% (158 reviews)[29] 55 (31 reviews)[30] B+[26]
The First Purge 55% (167 reviews)[31] 54 (39 reviews)[32] B–[26]


  1. ^ "'The Purge 5' to be released next year". Retrieved 2019-07-27.
  2. ^ a b "Next 'Purge' Installment Finds Director in 'Mars' Helmer (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. August 1, 2019. Retrieved August 2, 2019.
  3. ^ "Universal Re-Slots The Purge: Anarchy". 28 February 2014. Retrieved 1 March 2014.
  4. ^ "The Purge 2 Promo Art". 1 January 2014. Retrieved 2 January 2014.
  5. ^ Natalie Stone (8 January 2015). "'The Purge 3' Gets 2016 Release Date". The Hollywood Reporter.
  6. ^ Fleming Jr, Mike (October 6, 2014). "'The Purge' Scares Up Third Film With Director James DeMonaco". Retrieved October 7, 2014.
  7. ^ "This Is What The Purge 4 Will Be About - CINEMABLEND". 29 September 2016.
  8. ^ "New 'Purge' Movie Gets Summer 2018 Release Date". February 17, 2017. Retrieved February 17, 2017.
  9. ^ "'Purge 4' Finds Director in 'Burning Sands' Filmmaker Gerard McMurray". 20 July 2017.
  10. ^ "Warning: The Next Purge Will Take Place on July 4, 2018". February 17, 2017. Retrieved February 17, 2017.
  11. ^ Collis, Clark (23 October 2018). "The Purge creator says he's thought of a 'really cool' way to end film franchise". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 23 September 2019.
  12. ^ Sandwell, Ian (23 July 2019). "The Purge 5: Release date, plot and everything you need to know". Digital Spy. Retrieved 23 September 2019.
  13. ^ Rubin, Rebecca (2020-05-15). "'Purge 5' Pulled From July Theatrical Release". Variety. Retrieved 2020-05-15.
  14. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (15 May 2017). "'Purge': Premise Of Companion TV Series Revealed". Deadline. Retrieved 8 June 2017.
  15. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (February 26, 2018). "'The Purge': Gabriel Chavarria & Jessica Garza To Star In TV Series For USA & Syfy". Deadline. Retrieved February 27, 2018.
  16. ^ Otterson, Joe (November 6, 2018). "The Purge Renewed for Season 2 at USA Network". Variety. Retrieved November 6, 2018.
  17. ^ Scream Issue #50 - Horror TV: On Set for The Purge
  18. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (May 13, 2020). "'The Purge' & 'Treadstone' Canceled By USA Network Amid Programming Strategy Shift". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved May 13, 2020.
  19. ^ "The Purge". Box Office Mojo. January 9, 2015.
  20. ^ "The Purge: Anarchy". Box Office Mojo. January 9, 2015.
  21. ^ "The Purge: Election Year (2016)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved September 1, 2016.
  22. ^ "The First Purge (2018)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved July 5, 2018.
  23. ^ "The Purge Movies at the Box Office". Box Office Mojo. July 3, 2018.
  24. ^ "The Purge (2013)". Rotten Tomatoes. Warner Bros. Retrieved March 14, 2020.
  25. ^ "The Purge". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved June 16, 2013.
  26. ^ a b c d "CinemaScore". Retrieved March 12, 2015.
  27. ^ "The Purge: Anarchy". Rotten Tomatoes. July 17, 2014. Retrieved March 14, 2020.
  28. ^ "The Purge: Anarchy". Metacritic. Retrieved 2014-10-07.
  29. ^ "The Purge: Election Year". Rotten Tomatoes. June 12, 2020. Retrieved March 14, 2020.
  30. ^ "The Purge: Election Year". Metacritic. June 30, 2016. Retrieved October 27, 2019.
  31. ^ "The First Purge (2018)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved June 12, 2020.
  32. ^ "The First Purge Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved July 5, 2018.

External linksEdit