A wealthy family is held hostage for harboring the target of a murderous syndicate during the Purge, a 12-hour period in which any and all crime is legal.


James DeMonaco


James DeMonaco
1,736 ( 295)
2 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »





Complete credited cast:
Ethan Hawke ... James Sandin
Lena Headey ... Mary Sandin
Max Burkholder ... Charlie Sandin
Adelaide Kane ... Zoey Sandin
Edwin Hodge ... Bloody Stranger
Rhys Wakefield ... Polite Leader
Tony Oller ... Henry
Arija Bareikis ... Mrs. Grace Ferrin
Tom Yi ... Mr. Cali
Chris Mulkey ... Mr. Halverson
Tisha French ... Mrs. Halverson
Dana Bunch Dana Bunch ... Mr. Ferrin
Peter Gvozdas Peter Gvozdas ... Dr. Peter Buynak
John Weselcouch ... Freak Interrupting
Alicia Vela-Bailey ... Female Freak


In an America wracked by crime and overcrowded prisons, the government has sanctioned an annual 12-hour period in which any and all criminal activity-including murder-becomes legal. The police can't be called. Hospitals suspend help. It's one night when the citizenry regulates itself without thought of punishment. On this night plagued by violence and an epidemic of crime, one family wrestles with the decision of who they will become when a stranger comes knocking. When an intruder breaks into James Sandin's (Ethan Hawke) gated community during the yearly lockdown, he begins a sequence of events that threatens to tear a family apart. Now, it is up to James, his wife, Mary (Lena Headey), and their kids to make it through the night without turning into the monsters from whom they hide. Written by Universal Pictures

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Reminder all emergency services will be suspended for a 12-hour period during the purge. See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong disturbing violence and some language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


The purpose of the masks was for them to resemble Halloween masks, a metaphor for the fact that some people see the Purge as a holiday of celebration. See more »


After Mary slams Grace's face into the table, the blood on Grace's face changes shape between shots. See more »


James Sandin: Why did you let him in our home? We have no idea who's after him
See more »


References Zebraman 2: Attack on Zebra City (2010) See more »


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User Reviews

Painfully disappointing despite some curious beginnings...
20 October 2014 | by secondtakeSee all my reviews

The Purge (2013)

Well, this is either the stupidist movie ever or it's a mishmash of something audacious and creative and a slasher film with campy expectations. It doesn't make the grade as a great movie mostly because of an hour of redundant ax-wielding around a big suburban house. But the first half hour is really great—some potential here that went aground fast.

The premise is clear right away: it's the near future, maybe 2021, in the United States. Once a year for twelve hours everyone is allowed to be an ultra criminal without repercussion. None. Kind of like Devil's Night in Detroit without any cops. You can murder, destroy things, be a general naughty boy or girl, and have no criminal consequences the next day. Hurray!

Everything is just okay! Or not.

Well, the reason this works in the first half hour is the calm, steady, well appointed believablility of the acting and scenario in this fancy (upscale American) house. Ethan Hawke plays a great regular, successful, nice Dad. His wife (Lena Headey) is a sweetheart in the clichéd way (she is sadly the typical Hollywood female, incompetent but nice to have around). They have two children in the standard mode, talented and slightly disaffected.

So 7pm rolls around and the family has a fortress of a house (steel doors drop down in front of the windows and doors). So they watch on their monitors the calm and then the lack of calm on the nice street outside, at night. And things go sour badly.

Okay, so a great set up. Of course, if you think about it, it's about as believable as zombies. And so therefore you can go with it if you decide to. So the public can expunge their violence by killing a few people and the other 364 days are crime free. Great. Except, well, uh, really?? Yeah, it implies that we would kill without compunction, and that the next day you would walk by your neighbor, who just killed a few people during the Purge, and say, "Good morning Mrs. Johnson," as if all was fine. And there is no guilt. Or feeling. Or morality.

But that's if you think about it. A lot of Hollywood's idea of the future is not meant to be parsed out and logical. Look at "The Giver," or even (yes) "Avatar." Etc.

So on a simpler level we have the problem of a movie that turns into a slasher film. Because the bad people do, of course, get into the house (you saw that coming) and the family tries to defend itself. This part of the movie is not especially well made, or well acted, or original. It destroys all potential, and makes it a disturbing bore.

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Release Date:

7 June 2013 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Vigilandia See more »


Box Office


$3,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$34,058,360, 9 June 2013

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs




Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
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