50 Best Sci-Fi Movies of the 1970s

From cosmic head trips to adventures in galaxies far, far away

29. 'Death Race 2000' (1975)

It's a miracle that society didn't disintegrate instantly upon the release of producer Roger Corman and director Paul Bartel's cheapozoid, gearhead cult classic. In the future (see title), the national pastime is a car race where the drivers are given extra points for all the innocent people they kill. (Folks in wheelchairs = 100 points.) David Carradine plays the longtime champion Frankenstein, while a pre-Rocky Sylvester Stallone is his psychotic runner-up. The All-American imagery, coexisting with occasional shots of swastikas and socially-sanctioned cruelty, give it the feel of a surreal, funny fever dream about national purpose gone horribly awry. And it's hard not to feel that many later blockbusters – including The Road Warrior, The Running Man, and The Hunger Games — owe more than a little debt to this little exploitation film that could. BE

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