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How to watch all The Purge movies in order

James DeMonaco's horror movies aren't the easiest to follow, so here's how to watch all The Purge movies in order of release and chronologically ahead of 6.

Frank Grillo in Skyline

How do you watch The Purge movies in order? The dystopian movies about a deadly American holiday have thrilled us for years. No one can deny that The Purge movies are a gory treat. Packed with violence, wacky murderous masks, and some political commentary, you’ll struggle to find a horror universe as fun as this.

But let’s be honest, The Purge can be a tricky franchise to keep track of, with lots of new movies, a TV series, and a muddled release order. Like some of the best horror movies (Halloween and the Alien timeline, we’re looking at you) the chronology of The Purge movies isn’t simple, but The Digital Fix is here to help.

Here are the best ways to watch The Purge movies in order, including the chronological and release order.

How to watch all the Purge movies in chronological order:

  • The First Purge
  • The Purge
  • The Purge: Anarchy
  • The Purge TV series
  • The Purge: Election Year
  • The Forever Purge

The Purge movies in order: Y'lan Noel as Dimitri in The First Purge

The First Purge (2018)

Where to watch: Amazon Prime, and Apple TV

Narratively, it all began in 2014, when the diabolical political party, The New Founding Fathers of America, won the US election. Being literally the worst, the NFFA sets out to destroy the lower economic class in the US and maintain political control through fear and blood. The movie’s plot kicked off in 2017 when the NFFA decided to use Staten Island as the testing ground for their new social experiment to “get rid of crime.”

The experiment involves allowing all crimes to be legal for 12 hours. If participation levels met expectations, the NFFA would roll out the new national blood bath as a national holiday.

However, we witness that right from the start, the experiment has been rigged. The political party begins sending out hired killers, white supremacists, and violent fascists to the area once they realize that people just typically don’t want to turn into bloodthirsty maniacs.

Thanks to their interference, the NFFA manages to pass the experiment as a success, and the annual 12 hours of mayhem is turned into a state-sanctioned holiday. Here we learn how The Purge came to be, and see how it has always been used as a weapon against the underprivileged and marginalized in society.

The Purge movies in order: wealthy killers wearing Purge masks

The Purge (2013)

Where to watch: Amazon Prime, and Apple TV

It is five years later, and The Purge is now an established American holiday. Yep, that terrifying 12-hour-long bloodbath we saw in Staten Island is now an annual event. However, in this film, we witness The Purge through the eyes of well-off suburbanites.

Unsurprisingly, rich people tend to fare better during The Purge, safe behind their expensive armed houses, while the poor are targeted on the streets. It’s almost like the NFAA is deliberately trying to get rid of certain people in the population (nudge, nudge).

The movie follows James Sandin, played by Ethan Hawke, a security salesman who has made a fortune off the Purge. However, even he isn’t safe from the killing spree. James ends up taking in a homeless man named Dante (remember that name), who is running from a group of murderous, wealthy killers.

In the process of doing so, James also becomes a target, and he and his family must fight to survive. Here we are also introduced to religion in the series, as the wealthy use Purge Night to cleanse the streets and release “the beast within.” The Purge is seen as a sacred act that just so happens to favor the extremely privileged. A bit wild, isn’t it? Well, don’t worry; it gets crazier.

The Purge movies in order: a wealthy family killing a man

The Purge: Anarchy (2014)

Where to watch: Max, and Apple TV

In 2023, only a year after the Sandin’s Purge plight, we see some pushback to the NFFA, when a Purge rebellion has taken to the streets of LA. Leading this anti-Purge resistance group are Carmelo Johns and Dante, from The Purge (2013). Along with showing the mounting pressure on the NFFA, this entry also introduces another important figure into the franchise — Leo Barnes, a cop who sets out on Purge night to murder the man who killed his son.

The Purge: Anarchy shows that the NFFA is still doing all the underhanded tricks that they did back in the First Purge, as the government uses the night for nefarious population murder. It’s revealed that the party is hiring more killers and racists to murder innocent people in the housing projects. Leo can’t leave the citizens in need and ends up spending the 12 hours leading innocents to safety and assisting the anti-Purge resistance, despite wanting to engage in some Purge-related bloodshed himself.

The Purge movies in order: A group of people outside the Carnival of Flesh

The Purge TV series (2018-2019)

Where to watch: Amazon Prime, Peacock, and Apple TV

This is where the NFFA starts to lose control, and skepticism about the murderous holiday really reaches a boiling point. The year is 2027, and The Purge has fully married the concept of religion. A Purge cult has even formed, where people willingly become victims for the gruesome night, becoming martyrs on the holiest American holiday on their calendar. Of course, the NFFA is behind this whole cult thing and is using it as another means to slaughter the ‘undesirables’ from society.

Besides the religious angle, the holiday’s twisted game shows are a payday for assassins. And don’t even get me started about the Carnival of Flesh (talk about nightmare fuel). It’s safe to say that America has been consumed by The Purge at this point. But cracks in the NFFA’s authority and the ‘pureness’ of the holiday have begun to show.

The corrupt and discriminatory practices start to unravel as a bunch of government-sanctioned non-Purge night kills from the NFFA are exposed. On top of that, a video of the government killing after the 12-hour buzzer rings – so clearly breaking Purge rules — is broadcast across the country. Let’s just say people aren’t too happy about the revelations. The series lives up to the best movies in the timeline.

The Purge movies in order: Election Year Purge masks

The Purge: Election Year (2016)

Where to watch: Amazon Prime, and Apple TV

As more opposition against the Purge continues, the NFFA is in danger of losing power. Senator Charlene ‘Charlie’ Roan, an anti-Purge candidate, is gaining popularity, leading the NFFA to change their rules for purge night to off their big political opponent.

The no-politicians rule for the 12-hour killing spree is revoked, under the guise that the NFFA is trying to promote equality after that PR nightmare we saw at the end of the TV series. However, the rule change is simply due to the party’s plans to hunt down Charlie before the election results come in.

But Charlie isn’t going down without a fight as we see her protected by Leo – now leaving the police force to act as her head of security. Remember Dante, well it turns out that, like Leo, he is making a Purge comeback too, now as the leader of the Purge resistance group we met back in Anarchy. Lots of shooting matches happen, assassination attempts are made, and we even see a sacrificial purge mass held at a church.

The Purge movies in order: a flamethrower on a back of a buggy

The Forever Purge (2021)

Where to watch: Amazon Prime and Apple TV

As its name suggests, The Forever Purge shows the holiday evolving into a way of life in America. Finally, we have reached the point when after that 12-hour buzzer rings, the violence continues. Yep, we’re now at the tipping point in the franchise, as carnage and mayhem completely consume the country. If you haven’t guessed already, the NFFA has been re-elected into office following the discourse of Election Year and has reinstated the holiday as a result.

As always, white supremacists and sadistic serial killers wearing elaborate masks joyfully take to the streets. However, these extremists decide to keep their killing spree going to ‘cleanse the country’ once and for all. Basically, the racists have gone wild, and every sane person left in America begins to flee to the border. It isn’t about surviving 12 hours anymore; it is about surviving America itself, which has jumped off the deep end into hard division and brutal violence.

Seeing people purge in the daylight and the holiday wholly exposed as the corrupt practice that caters to Nazis and those in power (which it has always been) completely changes the franchise for good. Finally, the beast of a holiday has reached its ultimate form, and the country begins to implode. You can read our The Forever Purge review here.

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How to watch The Purge movies in release order:

  • The Purge (2013)
  • The Purge: Anarchy (2014)
  • The Purge: Election Year (2016)
  • The First Purge (2018)
  • The Purge TV series (2018-2019)
  • The Forever Purge (2021)

And there you have it. Now you know exactly how to watch The Purge movies in order. If you are after some more cinematic timelines, check out our guides on how to watch the Halloween movies in order, the Conjuring movies in order, and the Texas Chainsaw Massacre movies in order. We’ve also got lots of releases to look forward to, like Wednesday season 2, and a story on how The Purge 6 plot will give us the most horrifying future yet.

For a little more dystopia, you can also check out everything we know about the Five Nights at Freddy’s release date and Severance season 2 release date.