Death Race 2000 is a 1975 American science fiction sports film produced by Roger Corman, directed by Paul Bartel, and starring David Carradine. The film takes place in a dystopian American society in the year 2000, where the murderous Transcontinental Road Race has become a form of national entertainment. The screenplay is based on the short story The Racer by Ib Melchior.
In a dystopian future, a cross country automobile race requires contestants to run down innocent pedestrians to gain points that are tallied based on each kill’s brutality.
After the “World Crash of ’79”, massive civil unrest and economic ruin occurs. The United States government is restructured into a totalitarian regime under martial law. To pacify the population, the government has created the Transcontinental Road Race, where a group of drivers race across the country in their high-powered cars and which is infamous for violence, gore, and innocent pedestrians being struck and killed for bonus points. In the year 2000, the five drivers in the 20th annual race, who all adhere to professional wrestling-style personas and drive appropriately themed cars, include Frankenstein, the mysterious black-garbed champion and national hero; Machine Gun Joe Viterbo, a Chicago tough guy gangster; Calamity Jane, a cowgirl; Matilda the Hun, a Neo-Nazi; and Nero the Hero, a Roman gladiator. Machine Gun Joe Viterbo, the second-place champion, is the most determined of all to defeat Frankenstein and win the race.