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Death Race 2000 (1975)

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In a dystopian future, a cross country automobile race requires contestants to run down innocent pedestrians to gain points that are tallied based on each kill's brutality.

Director:

Paul Bartel

Writers:

Robert Thom (screenplay), Charles B. Griffith (screenplay) (as Charles Griffith) | 1 more credit »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
David Carradine ... Frankenstein
Simone Griffeth ... Annie Smith
Sylvester Stallone ... Machine Gun Joe Viterbo
Mary Woronov ... Calamity Jane
Roberta Collins ... Matilda the Hun
Martin Kove ... Nero the Hero
Louisa Moritz ... Myra
Don Steele ... Junior Bruce (as The Real Don Steele)
Joyce Jameson ... Grace Pander
Carle Bensen Carle Bensen ... Harold
Sandy McCallum Sandy McCallum ... Mr. President
Paul L. Ehrmann Paul L. Ehrmann ... Special Agent (as Paul Laurence)
Harriet Medin ... Thomasina Paine
Vince Trankina Vince Trankina ... Lt. Fury
Bill Morey Bill Morey ... Deacon
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Storyline

A champion of a brutal cross-country car race of the future where pedestrians are run down for points has a change of heart while being hounded by rivals and a conspiracy seeking to stop the race. Written by Keith Loh <loh@sfu.ca>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Across the town the traffic is MURDER See more »

Genres:

Action | Comedy | Sci-Fi | Sport

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Release Date:

27 April 1975 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Frankensteins Todesrennen See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$300,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$8,000,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

New World Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono | Stereo | Dolby | Dolby Digital | DTS

Color:

Color (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Frankenstein's Alligator car and the Machine Gun car were re-bodied Volkswagens, and Matilda's Buzz Bomb was a VW Karmann-Ghia. The Roman Lion was built on a Fiat 850 Spider chassis. Calamity Jane's Bull was a Corvair. The white Resistance Army car that chases Frankenstein very briefly before crashing and blowing up was a 1965 or 1966 Ford Mustang. See more »

Goofs

The shot of the racers in Manhattan en route to the Lincoln Tunnel was clearly filmed in downtown Los Angeles. See more »

Quotes

[Opening; The United Provinces version of "The Star-Spangled Banner" is played at the fictional New York Memorial Raceway]
[first lines]
Deacon: O, great American multitude and sports fans everywhere, today we inaugurate the 20th Annual Trans-Continental Road Race. Today, the five bravest young men and women in this greatest of nations will risk their lives in the greatest sporting event since the day the Sparticus! Three days hence, a new American champion will be crowned for all the world to behold, in...
[...]
See more »

Alternate Versions

The original UK cinema version was cut by the BBFC to remove a head crushing scene and to edit shots of blood spurts from the car killings and a man's groin being stabbed with Joe's bayonet. All later releases were uncut. See more »

Connections

Featured in The Directors: The Films of Roger Corman (1999) See more »

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User Reviews

Carmageddon, or how I learned to stop worrying and love those crazy seventies
12 February 2002 | by rogierrSee all my reviews

'Mad Max' meets the 'Running Man' and they both drive over miss Daisy. 'Death Race 2000' is a disconcerting smithereen job, but also fun. It is unprobable to say the least: 'Frankenstein' as the embodiment of national virtue? Nice thought over a dose of mescaline maybe. With unbelievable music too. Everything seems 2 B possible: ethical correct splatter comedies? You've got it. The acting in this supposed SF (caricatures of the immoral society of the future) is absolutely horrible (apart from Carradine and Griffeth). Add some black humor and non-existing emotions and you have Death Race 2000: the obscure cult flick in which Sly gets slapped around some as driver Machine-Gun Joe Viterbo. And retrospectively one of his best roles, besides 'First Blood' and 'Rocky'.

Luckily there was room in the rating for some graphical splatter and nudity, which is why this has become a cult movie. And fat chance the uncut version will be banned where I live. It is more than questionable if the story is really about the fear of America becoming that chauvinistic and drenched in bloodlust. I get the impression that most of it is just a glorification of violence. But in a more thoroughly humorous way than e.g. Wild Bunch (1969) et al. Imagine the American president has a summer house in Peking, or driver Mathilda the Hun has a nazi-navigator Herman the German...

DR2k was appropriately filmed by the great cinematographer Tak Fujimoto (Badlands, Silence of the lambs, Sixth Sense, and last but not least Ferris Bueller's day off). Good for Paul Bartel that he made Death Race 2000 before George Miller made Mad Max (1978), because it would have been a completely obsolete cartoon otherwise: something like Evil Knievel vs Dick Dastardly. Nevertheless DR2k is quite enjoyable. This movie may be inspired by 'the Cars that ate Paris' (Weir, 1974) and seemed to have inspired 'Carmageddon' (VG) and Mad Max of course. Guys, it's been real. Jesus Chrysler, I'd almost rate this 6/10.


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