Mad Max

From Academic Kids

For other uses, see Mad Max (disambiguation).Template:Infobox Movie

Mad Max is an Australian science fiction film starring Mel Gibson as Max Rockatansky. Released in 1979, it was directed by George Miller, and written by James McCausland with Miller and producer Byron Kennedy.

Plot summary

The film is set in a dystopic Australian outback. The beginning of the film only hints that the story takes place "a few years from now", and the reasons behind the state of the society are never fully explained, although the sequel, Mad Max 2, (known in the U.S. as The Road Warrior), more fully explains this film's backstory.

The overriding theme of this story is revenge. A police officer, Max Rockatansky (Mel Gibson), is tasked with controlling the increasingly bold and lawless gangs on the desolate highways of the outback. He inadvertently kills a gangmember during a pursuit, the brother of the gang's leader. When his partner is hunted down and brutally tortured by the gang, Max becomes disillusioned, and quits the police force to settle down with his family. The gang leader still thirsts to get revenge against Max, and hunts him down as he flees to a remote beachfront area. With their motorcycles, the gang runs down and then runs over Max's wife and son, crushing them to death as Max arrives too late to intervene. After this, he decides to get revenge. He steals a supercharged V8 Ford XB Falcon police car (specifically built to seduce him to stay a police officer), with the sole intent to seek murderous vigilante justice against his family's killers. By the end of the picture he claims his revenge, and continues racing the highways alone.


Whilst in residency at a Melbourne hospital, Dr. George Miller met amateur film maker Byron Kennedy at a summer film school in 1971. The duo went on produce the short film Violence in the Cinema, Part 1, which was screened at a number of film festivals and won several awards.

Eight years later the duo created Mad Max, with the assistance of first time screen writer James McGausland. George Miller was an M.D. in Australia who worked in the Emergency Room of a hospital, who had seen many of the injuries and deaths of the type depicted in the movie, and felt that the audience would not believe such things were happening today, so he decided to write the story instead as taking place in a dystopic future.

The film was shot over a period of twelve weeks, between December 1978 and February 1979, just outside Melbourne. Many of the car chase scenes for the original Mad Max were filmed near the town of Lara, just north of Geelong (Victoria, Australia). The movie was shot with a widescreen anamorphic lens, making it the first Australian film to do so.

Due to the film's low budget, the post-production was done in Miller's house, with George editing the film in the kitchen and Byron Kennedy editing the sound in the lounge room.


The film achieved incredible success, holding a record in Guinness Book of Records as the highest profit-to-cost ratio of a motion picture, and only losing the record in 2000 to The Blair Witch Project. The film was totally financed independently and had a reported budget of $300,000 AUD - of which $15000 was paid to Mel Gibson for his performance - and went on to earn $100 million world wide. The film was awarded four Australian Film Institute Awards in 1979.

When the film was first released in America, all the voices, including that of Mel Gibson's character, were dubbed with US accents at the behest of the distributor, American International Pictures, for fear that audiences would not take warmly to actors speaking entirely with Australian accents. The only exception was the singer in the Sugartown Cabaret, played by Robina Chaffey. The original Australian dialogue track was finally released in the U.S. in 2000 in a limited theatrical reissue by MGM, the film's current rights holders (it has since been released domestically on video).

Two sequels followed, Mad Max 2 (known in North America as The Road Warrior), and Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, while a fourth movie, Mad Max 4: Fury Road, is in hiatus.


Due to the film's low budget, all the vehicles in the film were just modified vehicles of that era.

Max's yellow Interceptor was a 1973 Ford Falcon XB sedan (previously, a Melbourne police car) with a 300bhp 351C (Cleveland) V8 engine, with a GS/GT specification hood, grille, driving lights, and other modifications. Likewise the black Pursuit Special (often erroneously known as an Interceptor due to the line "its the last of the V8 interceptors" in a scene from mad max 2) was a limited, GT351 version of a Ford XB Falcon Hardtop, sold in Australia from December 1973 to August 1976, which was modified by the film's art director Jon Dowding. Big Bopper, driven by Roop and Charlie was also a Ford Falcon XB sedan, but was powered by an engine unique to Australia, the 302 Cleveland V8. March Hare, driven by Sarse and Scuttle was an inline six-powered Ford Falcon XA sedan (this car was formerly a Melbourne taxi cab).

Of the motorcycles that appear in the film, fourteen were donated by Kawasaki and were driven by a local Victorian motor cycle gang, the Vigilantes, who appeared as members of Toecutter's Gang. By the end of filming, fourteen vehicles had been destroyed as a result of all the stunts.


  • To the Max - Behind the Scenes of a Cult Classic, Mad Max DVD (Village Roadshow)

External links

Mad Max Movies

Mad Max - Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior - Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome - Mad Max 4: Fury Road

de:Mad Max

fr:Mad Max sv:Mad Max


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