How to watch all The Purge movies in order

James DeMonaco's horror movies about the deadly American holiday are not the easiest to follow, so here is how to watch all The Purge movies in order.

How to watch The Purge movies in order

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, with multiple horror movies, a TV series, and a muddled release order, The Purge can be a tricky franchise to keep track of. The franchise is set in an alternate version of America, where a brutal annual holiday called the Purge is celebrated. In an effort to reduce crime, the government allows a 12-hour-long period of pure chaos, where all crime becomes legal. Only politicians and children are exempt from the Purge; everyone else is left to fend for themselves, leading to yearly nationwide carnage.

The chronology of The Purge movies ain’t simple, but The Digital Fix is here to help as we take a deep dive into The Purge’s timeline. Here’s how to watch all The Purge movies in order (don’t worry, we included the horror series). Warning, spoilers ahead!

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 Plus

Narratively, it all begins 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 kicks 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 (sound familiar). If participation levels met expectations, the NFFA would roll out the new national blood bath as a nationwide 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.

Hunted! The best thriller movies 

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 Plus

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.”

Unleash the beast: The best monster movies 

The Purge is seen as a sacred act that just so happens to favour the extremely privileged. A bit wild, isn’t it? Well, don’t worry; it gets crazier. The Purge ends with Dante saving the family, introducing him into the cinematic timeline to become a central figure in the later films.

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

The Purge: Anarchy (2014)

Where to watch: Amazon Prime, HBO Max, and Apple TV Plus

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 Plus

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 are behind this whole cult thing and is using it as another means to slaughter the ‘undesirables’ from society.

Besides the religious angle, the holiday has also sported twisted game shows, is 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.

Fight for your life: The best action movies 

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 Purge movies in order: Election Year Purge masks

The Purge: Election Year (2016)

Where to watch: Amazon Prime, and Apple TV Plus

As more opposition against the Purge continues, the NFFA are 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 are 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.

A scary future: The best science fiction movies 

But Charlie survives the night, and the NFFA is finally out of power (not for long, though). The film ends with a group of outraged NFFA loyalists reportedly protesting the election results, foreshadowing the events of the next movie — The Forever Purge.

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

The Forever Purge (2021)

Where to watch: Amazon Prime, HBO Max and Apple TV Plus

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.

Unfixable problems: The best drama movies 

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 in on itself.

YouTube Thumbnail

How to watch The Purge movies in release order:

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

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 and how to watch the Conjuring movies in order, as well the Texas Chainsaw Massacre timeline.

We’ve also got a list of all the new movies coming out in 2023 for you to enjoy, and the team’s put together an article breaking down the best movies of all time. Warning, we have some controversial opinions.