Mad Max is an Australian dystopian action multi-media franchise created by George Miller and Byron Kennedy. It began in 1979 with Mad Max, and was followed by three films: Mad Max 2 (1981), Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985) and Mad Max: Fury Road (2015). Mel Gibson starred in the first three films and Tom Hardy took over the titular role in the fourth film.

The series follows the adventures of Max Rockatansky, a police officer in a future Australia which is experiencing societal collapse due to war and critical resource shortages. When his wife and child are murdered by a vicious biker gang, Max kills them in revenge and becomes a drifting loner in the Wasteland. As Australia devolves further into barbarity, this skilled warrior of the road finds himself helping pockets of civilisation, initially for his own self-interest, but his motives always drift into more idealistic ones. The series has been well received by critics, with each film marked "Certified Fresh" on the film review aggregate site Rotten Tomatoes; Mad Max 2 and Fury Road in particular have been ranked among the best action films ever made. Furthermore, the series has also had a significant influence on popular culture, most notably apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction, and encompasses works in additional media, including video games and comic books. In 2016, Fury Road became the first film of the Mad Max franchise to receive Academy Award recognition, being nominated for Best Picture and Best Director for Miller, and winning six of its ten nominations.


Mad Max (1979)

Main article: Mad Max

Mad Max is a 1979 Australian dystopian action film directed by George Miller. Written by Miller and James McCausland from a story by Miller and producer Byron Kennedy, it tells a story of societal breakdown, murder, and revenge. The film, starring the then little-known Mel Gibson, was released internationally in 1980. It became a top-grossing Australian film, while holding the record in the Guinness Book of Records for decades as the most profitable film ever created,[1] and has been credited for further opening the global market to Australian New Wave films.[2][3]

Mad Max 2 (1981)

Main article: Mad Max 2

Mad Max 2 (also known as The Road Warrior in the US, and Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior) is a 1981 Australian post-apocalyptic dystopian action film directed by George Miller. This sequel to Miller's Mad Max was a worldwide box office success that further launched the career of Mel Gibson. The film's tale of a community of settlers moved to defend themselves against a roving band of marauders follows an archetypal "Western" frontier movie motif, as does Max's role as a hardened man who rediscovers his humanity. It also opens with a previously unexplained backstory on the tragic events that led to those in the original film.[4]

Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985)

Main article: Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome

Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (also known as Mad Max 3: Beyond Thunderdome or simply Mad Max 3) is a 1985 film, the third instalment in the dystopian/action movie Mad Max franchise. The film was directed by George Miller and George Ogilvie, and starred Mel Gibson and Tina Turner. The original music score was composed by Maurice Jarre. While Miller initially lost interest in the project after his friend and producer Byron Kennedy was killed in a helicopter crash, he later agreed to move forward with the assistance of Ogilvie.[5]

Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)

Main article: Mad Max: Fury Road

Mad Max: Fury Road (also known as Mad Max 4: Fury Road or simply Mad Max 4), the fourth film and a reboot of the franchise, is a 2015 post-apocalyptic dystopian/action film co-written and directed by George Miller. While location scouting was reported to be underway in May 2009,[6] production was delayed until June 2012 due to unusually high levels of rain in the Australian desert which detracted from the post-apocalyptic feeling that Miller wanted. Shooting ultimately took place in Namibia the following year.[7] The film was released on 15 May 2015. It features British actor Tom Hardy as Mad Max and Charlize Theron as Imperator Furiosa. Gibson was originally attached to star in Fury Road during its failed 2003 production attempt.[8]


Miller and McCarthy found during the writing process for Mad Max: Fury Road that they had enough story material for two additional scripts. One of these, entitled Mad Max: Furiosa, had already been completed, and Miller hoped to film it after the release of Fury Road.[9] In March 2015, during an interview with Esquire magazine, Hardy revealed that he was attached to star in three more Mad Max films following Fury Road.[10] After the release of Fury Road, Miller announced that he would like to make a follow-up titled Mad Max: The Wasteland,[11] which he later clarified was "just a working title".[12] Miller reaffirmed his intent to continue the franchise after reports to the contrary surfaced following an interview in January 2016.[13]

Cast and crew


The series' protagonist, Max Rockatansky, was portrayed through the first three films by Mel Gibson. Tom Hardy took over the role for 2015's Fury Road. The series features a few recurring cast members in different roles. Bruce Spence played an aviator in two of the films, first the Gyro Captain in Mad Max 2 and then Jedediah the Pilot in Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome.[14] Hugh Keays-Byrne has taken antagonist roles twice: he played Toecutter in Mad Max and Immortan Joe in Mad Max: Fury Road.[15] Max Fairchild appeared as Benno Swaisey in Mad Max and as "Broken Victim" of the Humungus's gang in Mad Max 2.[16]


Crew/Detail Film
Mad Max
Mad Max 2
Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome
Mad Max: Fury Road
Director George Miller George Miller
George Ogilvie
George Miller
Writer(s) George Miller
Byron Kennedy
James McCausland
Terry Hayes
George Miller
Brian Hannant
Terry Hayes
George Miller
George Miller
Brendan McCarthy
Nico Lathouris
Producer(s) Byron Kennedy
Bill Miller
Byron Kennedy Terry Hayes
George Miller
Doug Mitchell
George Miller
Doug Mitchell
P. J. Voeten
Composer Brian May Maurice Jarre (score)
Lyle/Britten/Knight (songs)
Tom Holkenborg (Junkie XL)
Cinematographer David Eggby Dean Semler John Seale
Editor(s) Cliff Hayes
Tony Paterson
David Stiven
Michael Balson
Tim Wellburn
Richard Francis-Bruce Margaret Sixel
Production Company Kennedy Miller Productions
Mad Max Films
Kennedy Miller Productions Village Roadshow Pictures
Kennedy Miller Mitchell
RatPac-Dune Entertainment
Distributor Roadshow Distributors (Australia)
American International Pictures (US)
Warner Bros. Pictures (International)
Warner Bros. Pictures Roadshow Films (Australia)
Warner Bros. Pictures (International)
Release date 12 April 1979 24 December 1981 10 July 1985 15 May 2015
Running time 93 minutes 96 minutes 107 minutes 120 minutes


Script error

Box office performance

Film Release date Box office gross Budget Ref(s)
Australia North America Other
Mad Max 12 April 1979 A$5,355,490 $8,750,000 ~$91,250,000 ~$100,000,000 A$380,000 [17][18][19]
Mad Max 2 24 December 1981 A$10,847,491 $23,667,907 N/A N/A A$4.5 million [17][20]
Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome 10 July 1985 A$4,272,802 $36,230,219 N/A N/A A$12 million [17][21][22]
Mad Max: Fury Road 15 May 2015 A$21,606,347 $153,121,629 $221,100,000 $374,221,629 US$150 million [23]
Total A$36,547,536 $221,769,755 N/A N/A US$150 million

+A$17 million

List indicator(s)
  • A dark grey cell indicates the information is not available for the film.

Critical response

Film Rotten Tomatoes Metacritic
Mad Max 90% (58 reviews)[24] 67 (7 reviews)[25]
Mad Max 2 98% (42 reviews)[26] 76 (9 reviews)[27]
Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome 81% (47 reviews)[28] 80 (12 reviews)[29]
Mad Max: Fury Road 97% (355 reviews)[30] 90 (51 reviews)[31]


Many licensed products are based on the Mad Max franchise. Products include novels, comic books, video games, and other materials.[32] Novelizations of the first three films have also been published by QB Books. The first two novelisations were written by Terry Hayes, who ended up co-writing the script for the second film after getting along well with Miller.[33] A novelisation for the third film was written by Joan D. Vinge.[34]

Video games

Main article: Mad Max (1990 video game)

Mad Max is a 1990 NES game developed and published by Mindscape Inc. based on the film Mad Max 2. The object of the game is to survive life in the post-apocalyptic world by battling survivalists and collecting resources. The game is similar to Outlander which was released in 1992 for Sega Genesis and SNES. Later, in June 2013, it was revealed at E3 that developer Avalanche Studios would be developing a video game based on the setting of Mad Max. The game was released in September 2015 for Linux, OS X, PlayStation 4, Microsoft Windows and Xbox One, with the titular character being voiced by Bren Foster.[35]

Comic book series

Main article: Mad Max: Fury Road (comic book)

Mad Max: Fury Road is a limited comic book series created by George Miller, Nico Lathouris, and Mark Sexton. Serving as a prequel to the 2015 film of the same name, the series focuses on several of the film's characters.

The series consists of four issues. Beginning in May 2015, Vertigo published one issue per month, ending in August. A single-volume collection of all of the issues was published on 26 August. Reception of the series has been mixed; some consider it unnecessary and poorly executed, and many harshly criticised the issue centred on Imperator Furiosa. However, the issue focused on Nux and Immortan Joe and the two issues focused on Max Rockatansky were received more positively.



  1. "5 Things You Might Not Know About 'Mad Max'". The Playlist. Retrieved on 24 May 2015.
  2. (1 April 2012) Peter Weir: A Creative Journey from Australia to Hollywood. Bristol: Intellect Ltd, page 79. Retrieved on 13 May 2015. 
  3. "Mad Max: from the Ozploitation wilderness to the mainstream". The Guardian (7 May 2015). Retrieved on 13 May 2015.
  4. Script error
  5. "SXSW 2015 Interview: George Miller on Mad Max, ‘Fury Road’ and the Apocalypse". CraveOnline (23 March 2015). Retrieved on 14 May 2015.
  6. "All revved up for Max's return". Herald Sun (18 May 2009). Retrieved on 8 April 2015.
  7. Steadman, Ian (5 March 2013). "Fragile Namibian deserts 'damaged' by Mad Max film crew".. Wired UK. Retrieved on 12 May 2015.
  8. "Charlize Theron shaves it all off for Mad Max 4".. (13 June 2012). Retrieved on 8 April 2015.
  9. George Miller's new script The Australian Financial Review (25 November 2011). Retrieved on 8 April 2015.
  10. Miranda Collinge (30 March 2015). "Tom Hardy Is Esquire's May Cover Star".. Retrieved on 3 April 2015.
  11. George Miller Promises 'More Max,' Starting With 'Mad Max: The Wasteland' Variety (18 May 2015). Retrieved on 19 May 2015.
  12. "No Furiosa in Mad Max Fury Road sequel". (12 October 2015).
  13. "Crisis Averted: George Miller Will Return for More 'Mad Max'". (14 January 2016).
  14. Returning to the road with Mad Max's original adventures GamesRadar (12 May 2015). Retrieved on 14 May 2015.
  15. How this actor ended up playing 2 different villains in the 'Mad Max' franchise 36 years apart Business Insider (12 May 2015). Retrieved on 14 May 2015.
  16. Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior Trivia. Retrieved on 14 May 2015.
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 Film Victoria – Australian Films at the Australian Box Office (PDF). Retrieved on 7 April 2015.
  18. "Mad Max (1980)".. Retrieved on 17 May 2015.
  19. (2014) "Mad Max (1979)", The Routledge Encyclopedia of Films. Routledge, page 323–326. ISBN 9781317682615. 
  20. "The Road Warrior". Box Office Mojo. Internet Movie Database. Retrieved on 7 April 2015.
  21. "Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome". Box Office Mojo. Internet Movie Database. Retrieved on 7 April 2015.
  22. "Crack in the Net – Facts". Mad Maxed. Retrieved on 7 April 2015.
  23. "Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)". Box Office Mojo. Internet Movie Database. Retrieved on 13 August 2015.
  24. "Mad Max".. Flixster. Retrieved on 18 May 2015.
  25. "Mad Max".. Metacritic. Retrieved on 15 May 2015.
  26. "Mad Max 2".. Flixster. Retrieved on 18 May 2015.
  27. "The Road Warrior".. Metacritic. Retrieved on 15 May 2015.
  28. "Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome".. Flixster. Retrieved on 18 May 2015.
  29. "Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome".. Metacritic. Retrieved on 15 May 2015.
  30. "Mad Max: Fury Road".. Flixster. Retrieved on 18 May 2015.
  31. "Mad Max: Fury Road".. Metacritic. Retrieved on 14 May 2015.
  32. "Mad Max Memorabilia".. Retrieved on 8 April 2015.
  33. (1990) The Avocado Plantation: Boom and Bust in the Australian Film Industry. Macmillan Publishers, page 82. ISBN 0-73-2902509. 
  34. (25 October 2005) Historical Dictionary of Australian and New Zealand Cinema. Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press, page 400. 
  35. "E3 2013: Mad Max Announced for PlayStation 4". IGN. Ziff Davis (10 June 2013). Retrieved on 8 April 2015.

See also

v - e - d
Mad Max (logo)
Original: Benno • Bubba Zanetti • Charlie • Clunk • Cundalini • Fifi Macaffee • Grinner • Jessie Rockatansky • Jim Goose • Johnny the Boy • Labatouche • Lair • Lair's partner • Max Rockatansky • May Swaisey • Mudguts • Nightrider's Girl • Roop • Sarse • Scuttle • Silvertongue • Sprog Rockatansky • Starbuck • The Nightrider • The Station Master • Toecutter • Ziggy

Second film: "Dog" • Bearclaw Mohawk • Curmudgeon • Feral Kid • Gyro Captain • Lord Humungus • Lord Humungus' Marauders • Mechanic Assistant • Nathan • Pappagallo • Pappagallo's tribe • The Captain's Girl • The Golden Youth • The Mechanic • The Toadie • Warrior Woman • Wez • Zetta
Third film: Aunty Entity • Bartertown security force • Blackfinger • Captain Walker • Dr. Dealgood • Ironbar • Jedediah • Jedediah Jr. • Master Blaster • Max's monkey • Savannah Nix • Scrooloose • Slake • The Collector • The Lost Tribe • Ton Ton Tattoo
Fourth film: Ace • Angharad • Black Mask • The Bullet Farmer • Capable • Cheedo the Fragile • Coma-Doof Warrior • Corpus Colossus • Crow Fishers • The Dag • Glory the Child • Glory the Child's Mother • Immortan Joe • Immortan Joe's fifth heir • Immortan Joe's fourth heir • Immortan Joe's Wives • Imperator Furiosa • Keeper of the Seeds • Miss Giddy • Morsov • Nux • The Organic Mechanic • The People Eater • Rictus Erectus • Slit • Toast the Knowing • The Valkyrie
2015 video game: Arkytekt • Blas Cap • The Buzzards • Chumbucket • Crow Dazzle • Deep Friah • Dinki-Di (dog) • Glory the Child • G cont. • Griffa • Gutgash • Hope • Jeet • Outcrier • Pink Eye • Roadkill • Roadkill Ranks • Scabrous Scrotus • Scrotus' War Boys • Stank Gum • Tenderloin • War Boys

Anarchie Road • Atomic Cafe • Bartertown • Bullet Farm • The Citadel • Dead Barrens Pass • Fat Nancy's Cafe • Gas Town • The Green Place • Halls of Justice • Highway 9, sector 26 • The Last Road • Magnum Opus Garage • May's Farm • Powder River • Rock Rider canyon • Sugartown Cabaret • Sun City • The Sunken City • The Badlands • The Great White • The Outer graves • The Parch Moon • Wee Jerusalem
Boomerang • Dinki-Di • Guzzolene • Max's MFP uniform • Mother's Milk • Sawn-off Shotgun • Thunderdome weapons
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