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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.

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(screenplay), (screenplay) (as Charles Griffith) | 1 more credit »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Frankenstein
... Annie Smith
... Machine Gun Joe Viterbo
... Calamity Jane
... Matilda the Hun
... Nero the Hero
... Myra
... Junior Bruce (as The Real Don Steele)
... Grace Pander
Carle Bensen ... Harold
Sandy McCallum ... Mr. President
Paul L. Ehrmann ... Special Agent (as Paul Laurence)
... Thomasina Paine
Vince Trankina ... Lt. Fury
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:

In The Year 2000 Hit And Run Driving Is No Longer A Felony. It's The National Sport! See more »

Genres:

Action | Comedy | Sci-Fi | Sport

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Release Date:

27 April 1975 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Frankensteins Todesrennen  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$300,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$8,000,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

| | | |

Color:

(Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Director Paul Bartel had Jane Ruhm design the opening titles using money from the budget without getting Roger Corman's permission first. See more »

Goofs

As Harold announces the new scoring system he says woman are ten points, more than men in all age brackets. After going through teens and toddlers he says elderly people are 100 points, no matter what sex they are. 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 »

Connections

Referenced in CSI: Crime Scene Investigation: Dune and Gloom (2012) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A Missing Piece From My Childhood
14 October 2006 | by See all my reviews

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 kills brutality. Starring David Carradine and Sylvester Stallone.

When I was younger and my family would go for a drive, my father would often make the remark that if he swerved and hit someone, it would be worth twenty points. In my youth, I never really understood where he picked it up from, but now I think it is safe to say that "Death Race 2000" was his source.

While this movie is fairly cheesy, it is fun in a way most other films simply are not. I would not even call it a "dark comedy" because the violence is not dark, it is just campy. Beverly Gray calls it "comically macabre".

There is some strong underlying message about American values that could be interpreted differently by different people: is America an inherently violent nation? Or are we a nation trying to maximize our freedoms? (This dispute comes into play when "rebels" show up who wish to end the race and restore the old America.) What is interesting is that Corman was known to be anti-authority, so he should be saying that this race is barbaric. Yet, he clearly understands that the viewer enjoys the death scenes... without them, the film would be nothing. What does this say about us, or about him?

Stallone has a surprisingly small role, despite being the secondary character. He does not speak much and seems to be in the movie for no other reason than to use violence against women. In the vernacular, he "keeps his pimp hand strong".

David Carradine, who never busts out many a karate move in this film, is the real hero. He plays the race's most popular character ("Frankenstein") who has allegedly been pieced back together year after year. His bondage gear outfit and smooth Carradine attitude make him a clear favorite for movie viewers, as well.

All in all, this film is a cult classic and deserves to be. Corman wanted to compete with "Rollerball" (1975) for a fraction of the cost, so he purchased Ib Melchoir's "The Racer" and went from there. I think he succeeded. I do not know how much money each film made, but I know of nobody today who is out there calling "Rollerball" the better film.


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