Death Race 2000

Critics Consensus

Death Race 2000 is a fun, campy classic, drawing genuine thrills from its mindless ultra-violence.

83%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 35

64%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 25,846
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Movie Info

Cult hero Paul Bartel directed this low-budget satire in which America's passion for cars, violence, and sporting events are finally brought together in one convenient package. In the not-so-distant future, the United States has become a totalitarian regime overseen by the charming but sinister Mr. President (Sandy McCallum), who, in order to satisfy the masses' need for entertainment (and to quench their thirst for violence), has created a new national sport -- the Death Race, a nationwide road rally in which the winner is not determined by who finishes first, but by who scores the most points along the way by running over hapless pedestrians. Aspiring champions Machine Gun Joe Viterbo (Sylvester Stallone), Calamity Jane (Mary Woronov), Nero the Hero (Martin Kove), and Matilda the Hun (Roberta Collins) are all looking to take the top honors away from Frankenstein (David Carradine), a half-man/half-machine who has been built to be the best racer on Earth and can outrun and outkill anyone on the circuit. However, not everyone likes the Death Race, and revolutionary leader Thomasina Paine (Harriet Medin) wants to sabotage the event in the name of restoring democracy; her plan is to foil Frankenstein's expected victory by smuggling her daughter Annie (Simone Griffeth) into Frankenstein's race car as his navigator. Featuring David Carradine at the height of his Kung Fu fame (and Sylvester Stallone a year before Rocky), Death Race 2000 was a major drive-in hit in 1975; Bartel and Carradine teamed up for another road race movie, Cannonball, a year later, and a semi-sequel, Death Sport, appeared in 1978. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

Cast

David Carradine
as Frankenstein
Sylvester Stallone
as Machine Gun Joe Viterbo
Simone Griffeth
as Annie Smith
Mary Woronov
as Calamity Jane
Roberta Collins
as Mathilda The Hun
Martin Kove
as Nero the Hero
Don Steele
as Junior Bruce
Joyce Jameson
as Grace Pander
Paul Laurence
as Special Agent
Harriet Medin
as Thomasina Paine
Bill Morey
as Deacon
Fred Grandy
as Herman the German
Sandy Ignon
as FBI Agent
Roger Rook
as Radio Operator
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News & Interviews for Death Race 2000

Critic Reviews for Death Race 2000

All Critics (35) | Top Critics (6) | Fresh (29) | Rotten (6)

  • I was torn between walking out immediately and staying to witness a spectacle more dismaying than anything on the screen: the way small children were digging gratuitous bloodshed.

    Apr 29, 2018 | Rating: 0/4 | Full Review…
  • Behold the power of cheese!

    Jun 17, 2010 | Rating: B- | Full Review…
  • The story, about a road race in the not-too-distant future for which the drivers are given points for running down pedestrians, becomes an elaborate and telling fantasy about our peculiar popular entertainments. Fine work carved from minimal materials.

    Mar 28, 2007 | Full Review…
  • Script, from an Ib Melchior story, makes its satirical points economically, and director Paul Bartel keeps the film moving quickly.

    Mar 28, 2007 | Full Review…

    Variety Staff

    Variety
    Top Critic
  • Overall the movie isn't as synchromeshed as it might be; the rivalry between champions Carradine and Stallone isn't very interesting, and some of the gags aren't sick or funny enough. But it's a great audience film.

    Jan 26, 2006 | Full Review…
    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • In the end, it reveals itself to have nothing to say beyond the superficial about government or rebellion. And in the absence of such a statement, it becomes what it seems to have mocked -- a spectacle glorifying the car is an instrument of violence.

    May 9, 2005 | Rating: 2.5/5 | Full Review…
    New York Times
    Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Death Race 2000

  • Feb 26, 2015
    If anyone ever asks you what a "Cult Classic" is, you can just tell them to Google it-- I mean, show them this film. Death Race 2000 is great 1970's cheese with a ripper of a Stalone role thrown in for good measure.
    Gimly M Super Reviewer
  • Feb 19, 2015
    The kind of film you wish was better as it felt very cheap and rushed and it's more silly than anything, Having said that there was some nice violent kills plus Stallones character was brilliant and funny, It's short run time isn't too bad as it does tend to run out of steam quickly but it's ok for its time.
    Jamie C Super Reviewer
  • Jun 29, 2013
    The cult classic '70s exploitation film Death Race 2000 is a provocative, ultra-violent rampage. In a dystopian future an annual cross-country race is put on to entertain the masses in which racers score points by running down and killing pedestrians, but the tables are turned when a rebellion attempts to takeout the racers. The film explores some very interesting issues, such as the culture of violence, the power of the media, and domestic terrorism. David Carradine and Sylvester Stallone lead the cast and give strong performances; especially Stallone, who brings a lot of charisma to the film. However, the production value is extremely low-budget, which is typical for a Roger Corman film. Death Race 2000 is an edgy thriller that tackles some controversial issues, but the filmmaking style holds it back.
    Dann M Super Reviewer
  • Mar 01, 2013
    Mr. President: The drivers are ready, the world is watching. Once more, I give you what you want. "A Cross Country Road Wreck!" Death Race 2000 is another Roger Corman produced film. It has a pretty good cult following and why, I don't really know. It's also another dystopian film that uses sporting events to control the masses and also to spread the love of violence. The dialogue is beyond bad, the acting(besides Carradine is awful), and the movie is just down right stupid. I can see why some people would have fun with it and I did for about 20 minutes, but as it ran on, the fun diminished for me more each second. Luckily the movie only comes in at an hour and nineteen minutes, which allows the film to have easy watchability. As with any Corman produced film you know what he's selling. He's going to rip-off other movies, he's going to show breasts, it's going to be bloody, and it's going to be bad. For some reason though, a lot of people actually think this is a good movie. In Corman standards, it's a lot better than most, but it's also less fun than most in my mind. I wouldn't go as far as to say I hated the movie completely. It had its moments and there were some funny parts. I still didn't like it though.
    Melvin W Super Reviewer

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