Death Race (franchise)

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The Death Race series is a car combat franchise encompassing a series of films and other media centered on a reality show set in a prison, where inmates race against each other in order to win their freedom.


Role Films
Death Race 2000 Death Race Death Race 2 Death Race 3: Inferno Death Race 2050 Death Race:
Beyond Anarchy
1975 2008 2010 2013 2017 2018
Director Paul Bartel Paul W. S. Anderson Roel Reiné G. J. Echternkamp Don Michael Paul
Producer(s) Roger Corman
Jim Weatherill
Paul W. S. Anderson
Jeremy Bolt
Roger Corman
Paula Wagner
Paul W. S. Anderson
Jeremy Bolt
Mike Elliott
Roger Corman Mike Elliott
Greg Holstein
Screenwriter(s) Robert Thom
Charles Griffith
Paul W. S. Anderson Screenplay by
Tony Giglio
Story by
/Paul W. S. Anderson
Tony Giglio
G. J. Echternkamp
Matt Yamashita
Screenplay by
Tony Giglio
Don Michael Paul
Story by
Paul W. S. Anderson
Tony Giglio
Composer Paul Chihara Paul Haslinger Trevor Morris Gunter Brown
Cindy Brown
Frederik Wiedmann
Director(s) of
Tak Fujimoto Scott Kevan John McKay Wayne Shields Juan Durán Alexander Krumov
Editor(s) Tina Hirsch Niven Howie Radu Ion
Herman P. Koerts
Michael Trent
Radu Ion
G. J. Echternkamp
Steve Ansell
Vanick Moradian
Production companies N/A Relativity Media
Cruise/Wagner Productions
Impact Pictures
N/A Universal 1440 Entertainment
New Horizons Pictures
Universal 1440 Entertainment
Distributor New World Pictures Universal Pictures Universal Studios Home Entertainment
Runtime 80 minutes 111 minutes 100 minutes 105 minutes 93 minutes 111 minutes
Release date April 27, 1975 August 22, 2008 December 27, 2010 January 22, 2013 January 17, 2017 October 2, 2018

Original series (1975–2017)[edit]

Death Race 2000 (1975)[edit]

Death Race 2000 is a 1975 cult action film. In the near future, the ultimate sporting event is the Death Race. Contestants get score points for running people down as they speed across the country. The sport has crazed fans who sacrifice themselves to the drivers. A covert group is trying to bring an end to the immoral Death Race and has infiltrated one of their followers into the race as a navigator of the top driver. In the end, the lives of the competitors, the President and the Death Race itself are in peril.

The screenplay was based on the short story "The Racer" by Ib Melchior.[1]

Death Race 2050 (2017)[edit]

Corman made Death Race 2050, a sequel to his original film, shooting in Peru starting in February 2016. It stars Malcolm McDowell, Manu Bennett, Burt Grinstead, Marci Miller, Folake Olowofoyeku, Anessa Ramsey, Yancy Butler, and Charlie Farrell, and was directed by G. J. Echternkamp.[2] The film was released in the United States on DVD and Blu-ray on Jan 17, 2017, with three making of documentaries: The Making of 2050, Cars! Cars! Cars!, and The Look of 2050.[3]

Remake series (2008–2018)[edit]

Death Race (2008)[edit]

Death Race is a 2008 remake (although director Paul W. S. Anderson stated in the DVD commentary that he thought of the film as a prequel) of Death Race 2000. In the year 2012, the economy of the US collapses, causing unemployment and crime rates to skyrocket, and a sharp increase of convicted criminals, which leads to privatized prisons for profit. Claire Hennessey (Joan Allen), the warden of Terminal Island Penitentiary, earns profits from the pay-per-view broadcast of a modern gladiator game called the "Death Race", with the prisoners as the players. The racers, along with their navigators, drive a three-part race over three days on a closed track at Terminal Island, with various pressure plates: swords activate the racers' offensive weapons, shields activate defensive weapons such as oil, smoke, and napalm, and skulls ("Death Heads") activate deadly metal traps which rise up from the track. The reward for the drivers is that if one racer wins five races, they will be granted their freedom by Warden Hennessey.

Death Race 2 (2010)[edit]

Death Race 2 is a prequel to the 2008 film, Death Race. Getaway driver Carl "Luke" Lucas (Luke Goss) is arrested after a robbery for his crime boss Markus Kane (Sean Bean) goes wrong. As his accomplices are robbing the bank, two police officers casually enter the building. Luke tells his accomplices to abort, but they refuse; Luke intervenes, resulting in the death of one of the three accomplices. Luke shoots and kills one of the officers and dumps off his accomplices in order to fulfill Markus's wishes. In doing so, Luke is eventually captured by the police following a high-speed chase and sentenced to serve time on Terminal Island. Markus, worried that Luke will trade info on his crimes for immunity, discovers his location and orders his men to take Luke out.

Death Race 3: Inferno (2013)[edit]

Death Race owner Weyland (Ving Rhames) has been forced to sell the rights to Niles York (Dougray Scott), a British billionaire who acquired the rights by hostile takeover. York reveals that he intends to relocate the Death Race to the deserts of Africa. Before leaving, Weyland arranges Lucas to have surgery to heal the infected and deadly scars on his face sustained from the previous film Death Race 2. With Carl Lucas, a.k.a. Frankenstein (Luke Goss), one win away from gaining his freedom, York coaches Lucas to lose his race and threatens his life if he fails to comply.

Death Race: Beyond Anarchy (2018)[edit]

Death Race: Beyond Anarchy is a sequel to the 2008 film, Death Race, being directed by Don Michael Paul and features the return of Danny Trejo and Frederick Koehler. It also stars Zach McGowan, Christine Marzano, Danny Glover, and Lorina Kamburova.[4][5]

Cast and characters[edit]

Character Original series Remake series
Death Race 2000 Death Race 2050 Death Race Death Race 2 Death Race 3:
Death Race: Beyond Anarchy
1975 2017 2008 2010 2013 2018
"Frankenstein" David Carradine Manu Bennett Jason Statham & David Carradine voice-over Luke Goss Luke Goss & Dougray Scott Velislav Pavlov & Nolan North voice-over
Annie Smith Simone Griffeth Marci Miller  
"Machine Gun" Joe Viterbo Sylvester Stallone  
"Mr. President" Sandy McCallum Malcolm McDowell  
Myra Louisa Moritz  
Jed Perfectus   Burt Grinstead  
Minerva Jefferson   Folake Olowofoyeku  
Tammy   Anessa Ramsey  
Alexis Hamilton   Yancy Butler  
JB   Charlie Farrell  
Grace Tickle   Shanna Olson[6]  
The Commercial   Dick Ervasti (voice)  
Lists   Frederick Koehler
14K   Robin Shou  
Jensen Ames   Jason Statham  
Claire Hennessey   Joan Allen Photograph Archive footage  
Joseph Mason (a.k.a. Machine Gun Joe)   Tyrese Gibson  
Coach   Ian McShane   Photograph  
Case   Natalie Martinez  
Gunner   Jacob Vargas  
Ulrich   Jason Clarke  
Pachenko   Max Ryan  
Hector Grimm   Robert LaSardo  
Travis Colt   Justin Mader  
Niles York David Carradine Dougray Scott  
Carl "Luke" Lucas   Luke Goss  
Katrina Banks   Tanit Phoenix  
Goldberg   Danny Trejo
R. H. Weyland   Ving Rhames  
September Jones   Lauren Cohan  
Markus Kane   Sean Bean  
Big Bill   Deobia Oparei  
Medford Parks   Patrick Lyster  
Rocco   Joe Vaz  
Xander Grady   Henie Bosman  
Calin   Warrick Grier  
Hillbilly   Sean Higgs  
Apache   Chase Armitage  
The Sheik   Michael Solomon  
Scarface   Trayan Milenov-Troy  
Satana   Hlubi Mboya  
Razor   Bart Fouche  
Psycho   Jeremy Crutchley  
Nero   Eugene Khumbanyiwa  
Olga Braun   Michelle van Schaik  
Joker   Mark Elderkin  
Pretty Boy   Brandon Livanos  
Jackal   Anton David Jeftha  
Connor Gibson   Zach McGowan
Baltimore Bob   Danny Glover
Jane   Christine Marzano
Gipsy Rose   Yennis Cheung
Bexie   Cassie Clare
Carley   Lucy Aarden
Mr. Valentine   Terence Maynard
The Warden   Cameron Jack


Deathsport is a 1978 science fiction B-movie produced by Roger Corman, directed by Allan Arkush and Nicholas Niciphor.

In other media[edit]

Comic book series[edit]

A comic book sequel entitled Death Race 2020 was published in 1995 by Roger Corman's short-lived Roger Corman's Cosmic Comics imprint. It was written by Pat Mills of 2000 AD fame, with art by Kevin O'Neill. The pair had already worked together on several comics, including Marshal Law. The comic book, as the title indicates, took place 20 years after the film ended and dealt with Frankenstein's return to the race. New racer characters introduced included Von Dutch, the Alcoholic, Happy the Clown, Steppenwolf, Rick Rhesus, and Harry Carrie.

The comic book series lasted eight issues.

Video games[edit]

  • The 1976 video game Death Race was inspired by the film Death Race 2000. A remake of the same name was released in 1990.
  • The 1982 video game Maze Death Race for Sinclair ZX81 computers (and 1983 for Sinclair ZX Spectrum computers) resembles the film by its cover artwork, title, and car-driving content.[7]
  • The Carmageddon video game series (Carmageddon, Carmageddon 2: Carpocalypse Now and Carmageddon 3: TDR 2000) all borrow heavily from the plot, characters and car designs from the film Death Race 2000.


  • The 2017 TV show Blood Drive also draws from the Death Race series. Instead of killing people to earn points, people are sacrificed to the cars' engines, which have been modified to run off human blood rather than traditional fuel.[8]


  1. ^ Bosnan, John & Nichols, Peter "Death Race 2000" in Clute, John & Nichols, Peter eds. (1998) The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction (2nd edition) Orbit
  2. ^ Galuppo, Mia (2016-02-18). "Roger Corman Revs Up 'Death Race 2050' With Malcolm McDowell Starring". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2016-02-20.
  3. ^ Miska, Brad (January 9, 2017). "'Death Race 2050' Goes Full 'Idiocracy' in This Gory Exclusive Clip". Bloody Disgusting. Retrieved January 16, 2017.
  4. ^ Death race 4 hits home stretch
  5. ^ Death race 4 is coming
  6. ^ "Death Race 2050". Retrieved 2017-03-16.
  7. ^ "ZX81 Cassette Tape Information for Maze Death Race". Retrieved 2012-08-13.
  8. ^

External links[edit]