The Death Race franchise is a series of films that are about a prison reality show set in a dystopian world in which inmates race each other in cars to gain their freedom.
The first film, Death Race 2000, was released in 1975. The movie quickly became a cult favourite and produced a remake, prequels, and sequels.
One thing that all of the Death Race films have in common is the protagonist, Frankenstein. In each movie, Frankenstein is an alias taken on by one (or more than one) racer. There are six Death Race movies to date.
But are they all part of the same storyline? Does the chronological timeline follow the order in which they were released? In what order should you watch the movies?
Death Race Movies in Release Order
Here are the Death Race movies in order of their release:
- Death Race 2000 (1975)
- Death Race (2008)
- Death Race 2 (2010)
- Death Race 3: Inferno (2013)
- Death Race 2050 (2017)
- Death Race: Beyond Anarchy (2018)
Although these are all a part of the same series, the six movies do not follow the same storyline. Thus, the six films are divided into two different continuities.
The first continuity consists of the original Death Race 2000, released in 1975, and Death Race 2050.
The second continuity consists of the Death Race remake, released in 2008, Death Race 2 and 3, and Death Race: Beyond Anarchy.
In What Order Should You Watch the Death Race Movies?
The Death Race movies should be watched in their chronological timeline order, by continuity. This is not the release order. You may watch the films in release order; however, watching them chronologically by continuity is the best way to understand each story.
The first continuity is the original Death Race movie (Death Race 2000) and Death Race 2050, its sequel.
The second continuity contains the other four movies. Death Race 2 and Death Race 3 are prequels to Death Race, which was released in 2008.
The last movie to be released in the series, Death Race: Beyond Anarchy, is the sequel to Death Race.
So the watch order of the second continuity is as follows:
- Death Race 2
- Death Race 3
- Death Race
- Death Race: Beyond Anarchy
Keep reading for a plot summary of every Death Race film in the series.
Let’s look at the first Death Race continuity movies, Death Race 2000 and Death Race 2050.
Death Race 2000
Death Race 2000 was released in 1975 and is the original Death Race film. The screenplay for this movie was based on a short story entitled “The Racer” by Ib Melchior.
Death Race 2000 is set in the future. The Death Race is a sport where drivers race across the country and earn points for running people over. The sport is so popular that people sacrifice themselves for their favourite drivers. There is a resistance group that is trying to sabotage the race.
David Carradine plays Frankenstein.
Death Race 2050
Set fifty years after the original Death Race film (and released almost that long after), Death Race 2050 is a sequel to the first movie. Both Death Race 2000 and Death Race 2050 were produced by Roger Corman.
The Death Race now serves as entertainment and population control to an overpopulated world. The Resistance Group is still out to get the drivers and end the race.
Manu Bennett is this film’s Frankenstein.
The remaining movies, Death Race, Death Race 2, Death Race 3, and Death Race: Beyond Anarchy, make up the second continuity. The movies are listed below in chronological order.
Death Race 2
This movie was released in 2010 and is a prequel to the Death Race remake.
Carl Lucas is captured in a high-speed chase trying to flee police after a robbery gone wrong. He is sentenced to serve time on Terminal Island, where the Death Race occurs.
Luke Goss portrays Frankenstein in this film.
Death Race 3
This instalment, released in 2013, is a sequel to Death Race 2 and a prequel to Death Race.
The owner of the Death Race sold the rights to the race, and the new owner wants to relocate it. Carl Lucas is one win away from freedom, but the former Death Race owner wants Lucas to lose intentionally.
Both Luke Goss and Dougray Scott play Frankenstein.
This film was released in 2008 but is set in 2012. It is a loose remake of the first film.
In this movie, high unemployment and crime rates lead to privatized prisons. The prisons hold a televised for-profit event called the Death Race, where the prisoners much race each other through pressure plates on a closed track. The reward for winning (and surviving) these races is freedom.
Jason Statham plays Frankenstein in this instalment.
Death Race: Beyond Anarchy
Released in 2018, this movie is a sequel to Death Race and is the last instalment in the series (to date).
The new prison warden has made the Death Race illegal. Frankenstein has a new nemesis in Connor, an inmate who is a great fighter and even better racer.
Zach McGowan plays Connor, and Velissav Pavlov plays Frankenstein.