Max Rockatansky

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Max Rockatansky
First appearance Mad Max (1979)
Created by George Miller
Byron Kennedy
Portrayed by Mel Gibson
Tom Hardy
Nickname(s) Mad Max
Aliases The Road Warrior
The Man with No Name
Occupation Police officer (formerly)
Spouse(s) Jessie (wife, deceased)
Children Sprog (son, deceased)

Max Rockatansky (known by his nickname Mad Max, and sometimes referred to as The Road Warrior, Raggedy Man and The Man with No Name) is a title character and the protagonist of the Mad Max franchise. He appears in the films Mad Max, Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior, and Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome. Max was created by director George Miller and producer Byron Kennedy, and is played by actor Mel Gibson. A 2015 film Mad Max: Fury Road is currently in post-production with Tom Hardy playing the character.


Mad Max[edit]

Main article: Mad Max

In Mad Max, Max Rockatansky is a Main Force Patrol officer fighting for peace on the roads of a dystopic Australia. Max is quiet, rarely speaking to any great extent, and never paying much attention to his steadily increasing reputation. He and his wife, Jessie, have an infant son, referred to only as "Sprog" (Australian slang for 'child') in the movie.

Though the best officer on the force, he is secretly afraid that he is becoming as cold and heartless as the criminals he pursues. He reaches a breaking point when a gang of bikers known as the Zed Runners attack his partner, Goose, and burn him alive inside a borrowed ute; Max announces that he is quitting the force and goes on holiday with Jessie and Sprog. The bikers, in their random rampage, encounter Jessie and her child. Jessie is able to fend them off however the bikers eventually catch back up, and Max is unable to prevent Jessie's and his child's murders. Overwhelmed with grief and rage, he goes AWOL from the MFP, stealing their Pursuit Special and systematically pursues and kills each gang member responsible. Max is injured in an ambush set for him by the Toe-Cutter, where he is shot in the left leg and has his right arm run over at the elbow, but he still manages to shoot Bubba Zanetti and, through sheer hatred and willpower, he gets into his car and chases the Toe-Cutter to his death before hunting down and killing Johnny the Boy. He is last seen driving out into the wasteland, leaving the fading remnants of civilization behind him.

Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior[edit]

In this film, set about five years after the first film, Max, while wandering the wasteland of the outback in his new home, the battle scarred Pursuit Special, discovers a besieged group of people manning a remote oil drilling station and refinery. After losing nearly all of his remaining worldly possessions, including his dog and his car, the Pursuit Special, Max, with few options left, agrees to help the refinery's denizens to escape through hordes of marauding motorcycle gang members.

In this film, although Max has lost everything, he is able to find, at least in part, his humanity once again. However, he still cannot form any significant bonds with others and chooses to continue wandering the Earth alone.

Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome[edit]

In this edition of the Mad Max series, it has been twenty years since Max Rockatansky left his life behind him following his revenge killings of the Toecutter and his gang, and fifteen years after his later defeat of Humungus. Since that time he has wandered through the outback, scavenging whatever he needed for survival. His hair has grown long, and very few remnants of his old police uniform remain recognizable.

In this movie, Max is able to finally complete the full circle. He regains his humanity and soul, once again, and sacrifices his own well being for the sake of others.

Physical appearance[edit]

Max Rockatansky is a man of average medium height, with a strong and lean build. In Mad Max, he is 23 years old; in Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior, he is 28 years old; and in Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, he is 43 years old.

In the first film, he left civilization still wearing his leather patrol uniform, which eventually became a sort of 'battle armor' for him the more it degraded. By the third film, his hair is long and unkempt, growing past his shoulders, and most of his clothes are mismatched; with only a single boot, his leather pants and jacket the only remnants of his once gallant MFP uniform.

Equipment and clothes[edit]

During the first two films, Max makes use of a Pursuit Special, though he drives a different vehicle (an MFP Interceptor) earlier in the first film. Between the second and third films, after the destruction of the Pursuit Special, Max acquires a camel-drawn wagon, which is later stolen from him. Though, later on, he steals it back and uses it during the final chase after it's been equipped (By Bartertown) to now run on its own power.

He is clad in black leather riding clothes which consist of a heavy duty jacket (after the events of the first film, he cuts off the right sleeve and added a football shoulder pad), trousers, gloves and engineer boots. In Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, his clothes show signs of damage and repairs. He wears a cowboy boot in his left foot, his old MFP boot on the other foot and doesn't wear gloves, at the beginning of the movie he dons a turban and cloak to shield himself from desert sandstorms and also wears a black cotton tunic with long sleeves under his jacket. All of this clothing gives him basic protection against light melee weapons and threats.

Max is armed with a Smith & Wesson Model 28 revolver (which he never uses, or even draws) during his time with the Main Force Patrol, though after the deaths of Jesse and Sprog, he favours a sawn-off Savage/Stevens 311A shotgun. In Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior, he wears a Sam Browne leather belt with shoulder strap, he carries a crescent wrench, a British Army knife, a lockpick, fire brigade tools, Binoculars, his aforementioned sawed-off shotgun and a Mark II combat knife in one of his boots. He gains several more weapons during the course of his time in the wasteland until they are confiscated upon his arrival in Bartertown.

In the third film, Max wears two belts. One is an old British police belt with ammunition shoulder straps attached to it. Hanging below the British belt is another belt with a pocket and bullet loops and is connected to a black leather holster. He is shown to have a plethora of weapons and some tools hidden on his person, including his shotgun, a Mauser C96, a Webley revolver, a Smith & Wesson Model 29 revolver, a crossbow, a collection of knives, and a geiger counter all of which are confiscated. He has one hidden weapon, referred to in the novelization as his "Livesaver", being a small knife carefully concealed in the handle of a flyswatter. He also carries a naval boatswain's pipe, which he later uses in his fight with Blaster during the Thunderdome challenge.


Max's most apparent skill is combative driving. At the time of Mad Max, he was considered the "top pursuit man" in the MFP. He can easily pursue or evade gangs in the wasteland, whether overrunning another vehicle at high speed or ramming vehicles off the road. This skill is apparent with trucks as well as automobiles. He drives a tractor-trailer truck after sustaining serious injuries in the second film. He can also shoot accurately with one hand while driving with the other.

Max displays fast reflexes in Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior by grabbing a snake before it can bite him. This leads Auntie Entity to choose him to kill Master Blaster in Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, as he was the only one to survive her "audition".

Max also displays a fair amount of mechanical and electronics ability, performing minor repairs on his own vehicle and rigging it to explode should someone tamper with his fuel tanks.

Rockatansky is a survivalist in the wasteland and can tolerate discomfort and pain in achieving a goal. But unlike many movie protagonists, Max is susceptible to realistic and sometimes permanent injury. His left knee is blown out by a gunshot towards the end of the first film. He walks with a slight limp with the help of a leg brace in the second film, and the knee is still tightly bandaged in the third film. An injury to his left eye as a result of the crash of the Pursuit Special in Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior is evident years later in Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome.


Entertainment Weekly ranked the character eleventh on its list of the top twenty "All-Time Coolest Heroes in Pop Culture" in April 2009. The magazine also listed the characters portrayed by Kevin Costner in Waterworld and The Postman as "copycat descendants" of Max Rockatansky.[1]


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