Ranking “The Purge” movies from Best to Worst

“Commencing at the siren, any and all crime, including murder, will be legal for 12 continuous hours…”

Since I’m running low on new programming for television, I thought it would be the perfect time to go back and binge-watch all of The Purge films. I’m a huge fan of the franchise and I also absolutely loved the television series. I’m still disappointed that it was canceled, but I’m looking forward to seeing Purge 5, even though I’m sure the release will be delayed for some time.

There’s just something about these films. They are highly entertaining and addicting! The masks are creepy, the death scenes are cringe-worthy, and the characters truly make you want to root for them. Each film reveals another aspect of Purge Night, which prevents these movies from feeling repetitive while still keeping you on the edge of your seat.

Please note some spoilers are ahead.

Without any further delay, let’s find out exactly how I ranked The Purge films and why.

1

The Purge: Anarchy

The Purge Anarchy 1
Images courtesy of Blumhouse Productions

The sequel is rarely better than the original movie, but I absolutely adore the second film in the franchise and it is my absolute favorite one. Released in 2014, The Purge: Anarchy stars Frank Grillo, Carmen Ejogo, Kiele Sanchez, and Zoë Soul.

While the first movie focused on a home invasion, the second film gives us a chance to see Purge Night on the streets. We follow Frank Grillo’s character, Leo, who is the ultimate bad-ass of this franchise. Leo is looking to Purge after losing his son, but he runs into a group of strangers and decides to intervene to help save them.

Standout Purger:

Who can forget the Purger in the creepy God mask? The wave really seals the deal and makes you want to run for your life. I absolutely love that the mask later appeared in The Purge series (season 2), giving us a fun Easter Egg and a bit of an origin story.

2

The Purge

The Purge 1
Images courtesy of Blumhouse

The original Purge film really came out of nowhere. It was a lower budget film and it ended up being very successful. Released in 2013, The Purge stars Ethan Hawke, Lena Headey, Edwin Hodge, and Adelaide Kane.

Hawke’s character, James, designed the security system for their home, as he stays in with his family on Purge Night, confident that they will be safe. However, things take a drastic turn when his son lets a bloody stranger into their home to save him, which angers some local Purgers.

The original film has a completely different feel from the other films. We focus on one individual family and their fight for survival. The film is chilling and extremely entertaining and we really connect with this family.

Standout Purger:

The Purge 1 2
Images courtesy of Blumhouse

The leader of this group of twisted Purgers is quite sinister. He even takes off his mask and tries to reason with James and his family. However, once he doesn’t get what he wants, he proves to be quite ruthless and a worthy opponent.

3

The Purge: Election Year

The Purge 3
Images courtesy of Blumhouse

In the third film, we finally take some time to look into the mysterious NFFA and their ties with the government. Released in 2016, The Purge: Election Year stars Frank Grillo, Elizabeth Mitchell, Mykelti Williamson, and Betty Gabriel.

Once again, the amazing Leo is back and better than ever. He has somehow landed a job as the head of security for Senator Charlie Roan, giving us even more bad-ass fight scenes. Seriously, he’s unstoppable. Senator Charlie Roan is running for presidency and wants to put an end to Purge Night, but the loyal followers of the NFFA refuse to give up without a fight.

After an assassination attempt is made on Charlie’s life, she and Leo end up on the streets and run into some characters who try to help protect her, recognizing what is at stake. The third film has quite a lot of action, but there is a lot going on and it gets carried away at some points.

Standout Purger:

The Purge 3 1
Images courtesy of Blumhouse

Who could forget the candy girls? I mean, it seems like a stretch for someone to Purge over a candy bar, but these girls are ready to seek out revenge on Joe’s deli and they show up dressed to the nines in a car covered in twinkling lights. Talk about making an entrance…

Fun fact: Elizabeth Mitchell starred in my favorite show, Lost, and the infamous Apollo Bar is the candy bar in question. Gotta love a great Easter Egg!

4

The First Purge

First Purge
Images courtesy of Blumhouse

The annual Purge had to start somewhere, right? The First Purge is a prequel to the franchise, allowing us to witness the first actual Purge that took place. Released in 2018, the film stars Y’lan Noel, Lex Scott Davis, Joivan Wade, and Marisa Tomei.

The prequel focuses on an experiment in Staten Island. Residents are offered $5000 to stay home on Purge Night and others are given incentive to actually participate. After the dismal results, The NFFA decides to send in some guns for hire to make it appear that Purge Night is more successful than it actually is, as a group of characters fight for survival throuhgout the night.

The film has a lot of set-up, which gives it a much slower feel. However, the main action sequence toward the end of the movie featuring a raid on the apartment is extremely well done and may be my favorite scene of the entire franchise.

Standout Purger:

First Purge 1

They really nailed the creepy vibe and then some with Skeletor. He is the first official Purger in history and let’s just say that he is having the time of his life…

So, what’s next for The Purge? Well, the television series has been canceled, but I highly recommend that you watch it. It was a lot of fun! Purge 5 is in the works so hopefully we will get a release date soon!

Where to watch The Purge films: As of June 2020, films 1-4 can be rented on Amazon Prime & Vudu. The television series is available to stream on Hulu.

Which films did YOU enjoy most?

I hope you enjoyed the list and feel free to post your own thoughts and theories on The Purge films in the comments section below. Thank you so much for reading and happy viewing!

Best,

Amy Koto, TV Fanatic Girl

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Amy Koto, TV Fanatic Girl

I live in Long Island, NY. I am obsessed with TV, movies, reading and writing! My top TV shows are Lost, Breaking Bad, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Prison Break, Charmed, Veronica Mars, and Beverly Hills 90210. My dog, Honey, loves TV too!

5 thoughts on “Ranking “The Purge” movies from Best to Worst”

  1. I only ever saw Election Year and I was surprised that I liked it honestly. I think they had a really good story with Charlie on that one. I do still want to get to the first one of these days!

  2. I completely agree with your rankings. The First Purge is definitely the weakest entry. Ironically, it’s the only one I’ve seen in the theater. I remember seeing the original Purge when it first hit a Redbox, but it wasn’t until the other two were already available at home that a friend convinced me to binge them all before The First Purge came out. I still haven’t watched the series, though. I’ll add it to the list.

  3. I absolutely agree with you, in The Purge Series, every sequel is better than the previous one…..except for the prequel.. lol

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