Mad Max (franchise)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Mad Max
Mad Max (logo).png
Official franchise logo
Created by
Original workMad Max (1979)
Print publications
ComicsMad Max: Fury Road (2015)
Films and television
Video game(s)Mad Max (1990)
Mad Max (2015)
FestivalsWasteland Weekend

Mad Max is an Australian dystopian action 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, released in the United States as The Road Warrior), Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985) and Mad Max: Fury Road (2015). Mel Gibson starred in the first three films and Tom Hardy took over as Max 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, including being nominated for Best Picture and Best Director for Miller, and winning six of its ten nominations.


Mad Max (1979)[edit]

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)[edit]

Mad Max 2 (released as The Road Warrior in the United States) 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 that 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)[edit]

Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome is a 1985 film, the third instalment in the 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)[edit]

Mad Max: Fury Road the fourth film and a “revisit” to the franchise (as described by Miller),[6] 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,[7] 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.[8] 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.[9]

Mad Max: Furiosa (2022)[edit]

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.[10] 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.[11] After the release of Fury Road, Miller announced that he would like to make a follow-up titled Mad Max: The Wasteland,[12] which he later clarified was "just a working title".[13] Miller reaffirmed his intent to continue the franchise after reports to the contrary surfaced following an interview in January 2016.[14] In March 2020, Mad Max: Furiosa was confirmed to be in active development, with Anya Taylor-Joy approached for a role and an intent to shoot in 2021 for a 2022 release date.[15]

Cast and crew[edit]

Principal cast[edit]

List indicator(s)
  • A dark grey cell indicates that the character was not in the film or that the character's presence in the film has yet to be announced.
  • An O indicates a role as an older version of the character.
  • An A indicates a role represented with archival footage or stills.
Characters Films Video Game
Mad Max Mad Max 2 Mad Max
Beyond Thunderdome
Mad Max:
Fury Road
Mad Max:
Mad Max
1979 1981 1985 2015 2022 2015
"Mad" Max Rockatansky
The Road Warrior
Mel Gibson Tom Hardy TBA Bren Foster
Toecutter Immortan Joe Hugh Keays-Byrne Hugh Keays-Byrne Fred Tatasciore
Benno Swaisey
Broken Victim
Max Fairchild
Jim "Goose" Rains
The Humungus
Steve Bisley Kjell Nilsson
Jessie Rockatansky Joanne Samuel Joanne SamuelA
Sprog Rockatansky Brendan Heath Brendan HeathA
Gyro Captain Bruce Spence
Jedediah the Pilot
Imperator Furiosa Charlize Theron
Glory the Child Coco Jack Gillies Madison Carlon
Bubba Zanetti Geoff Parry
Johnny the Boy Tim Burns
May Swaisey Sheila Florence
Nightrider Vincent Gil
Wez Vernon Wells
The Feral Kid Emil Minty Harold BaigentO
Warrior Woman Virginia Hey
Pappagallo Michael Preston
Aunty Entity Tina Turner
Savannah Nix Helen Buday
Jedediah Jr. Adam Cockburn
Pig Killer Michael Grubb
Ironbar Bassey Angry Anderson
Nux Nicholas Hoult
Splendid Angharad Rosie Huntington-Whiteley
Capable Riley Keough
The Dag Abbey Lee
Toast the Knowing Zoë Kravitz
Cheedo the Fragile Courtney Eaton
Rictus Erectus Nathan Jones
Slit Josh Helman
The People Eater John Howard
The Bullet Farmer Richard Carter
The Doof Warrior iOTA
The Valkyrie Megan Gale
Keeper of the Seeds Melissa Jaffer
The Organic Mechanic Angus Sampson Fred Tatasciore
TBA Anya Taylor-Joy
Chumbucket Jason Spisak
Scabrous Scrotus Travis Willingham

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 different aviators in two of the films, first the Gyro Captain in Mad Max 2 and then Jedediah the Pilot in Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome.[16] Hugh Keays-Byrne has taken antagonist roles twice: he played Toecutter in Mad Max and Immortan Joe in Mad Max: Fury Road.[17] Max Fairchild appeared as Benno Swaisey in Mad Max and as "Broken Victim" of the Humungus's gang in Mad Max 2.[18]

Additional crew[edit]

Crew/Detail Film
Mad Max Mad Max 2 Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome Mad Max: Fury Road
1979 1981 1985 2015
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


Box office performance[edit]

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 [19][20][21]
Mad Max 2 24 December 1981 A$10,847,491 $23,667,907 N/A N/A A$4.5 million [19][22]
Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome 10 July 1985 A$4,272,802 $36,230,219 N/A N/A A$12 million [19][23][24]
Mad Max: Fury Road 15 May 2015 A$21,606,347 $153,121,629 $221,100,000 $374,221,629 US$150 million [25]
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 and public response[edit]

Film Rotten Tomatoes Metacritic
Mad Max 90% (61 reviews)[26] 73 (14 reviews)[27]
Mad Max 2 95% (43 reviews)[28] 77 (15 reviews)[29]
Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome 80% (49 reviews)[30] 71 (18 reviews)[31]
Mad Max: Fury Road 97% (399 reviews)[32] 90 (51 reviews)[33]

Audiences surveyed by CinemaScore gave Mad Max: Fury Road a grade "B+" on scale of A to F.[34]



Other media[edit]


Many licensed products are based on the Mad Max franchise. Products include novels, comic books, video games, and other materials.[35] 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.[36] A novelisation for the third film was written by Joan D. Vinge.[37]

Video games[edit]

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.[38]

Comic book series[edit]

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. It 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.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Lyttelton, Oliver. "5 Things You Might Not Know About 'Mad Max'". The Playlist. Archived from the original on 14 July 2015. Retrieved 24 May 2015.
  2. ^ Formica, Serena (1 April 2012). Peter Weir: A Creative Journey from Australia to Hollywood. Bristol: Intellect Ltd. p. 79. Retrieved 13 May 2015.
  3. ^ Conterio, Martyn (7 May 2015). "Mad Max: from the Ozploitation wilderness to the mainstream". The Guardian. Retrieved 13 May 2015.
  4. ^ Leonard Maltin. Introduction by Leonard Maltin (Videotape). Warner Home Video. Retrieved 14 May 2015.
  5. ^ Bibbiani, William (23 March 2015). "SXSW 2015 Interview: George Miller on Mad Max, 'Fury Road' and the Apocalypse". CraveOnline. p. 4. Archived from the original on 21 May 2015. Retrieved 14 May 2015.
  6. ^ Davis, Erik (14 May 2015). "Interview: Director George Miller Answers All Your Big 'Mad Max: Fury Road' Questions". Fandango. Retrieved 9 June 2018.
  7. ^ "All revved up for Max's return". Herald Sun. 18 May 2009. Retrieved 8 April 2015.
  8. ^ Steadman, Ian (5 March 2013). "Fragile Namibian deserts 'damaged' by Mad Max film crew". Wired UK. Retrieved 12 May 2015.
  9. ^ Vaughan, Owen (13 June 2012). "Charlize Theron shaves it all off for Mad Max 4". Retrieved 8 April 2015.
  10. ^ Turner, Brook (25 November 2011). "George Miller's new script". The Australian Financial Review. Archived from the original on 7 April 2014. Retrieved 8 April 2015.
  11. ^ Miranda Collinge (30 March 2015). "Tom Hardy Is Esquire's May Cover Star". Esquire. Archived from the original on 31 March 2015. Retrieved 3 April 2015.
  12. ^ McNary, Dave (18 May 2015). "George Miller Promises 'More Max,' Starting With 'Mad Max: The Wasteland'". Variety. Archived from the original on 19 May 2015. Retrieved 19 May 2015.
  13. ^ "No Furiosa in Mad Max Fury Road sequel". 12 October 2015.
  14. ^ "Crisis Averted: George Miller Will Return for More 'Mad Max'". Collider. 14 January 2016.
  15. ^
  16. ^ "Returning to the road with Mad Max's original adventures". GamesRadar. 12 May 2015. Archived from the original on 14 May 2015. Retrieved 14 May 2015.
  17. ^ Guerrasio, Jason (12 May 2015). "How this actor ended up playing 2 different villains in the 'Mad Max' franchise 36 years apart". Business Insider. Archived from the original on 14 May 2015. Retrieved 14 May 2015.
  18. ^ "Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior Trivia". Archived from the original on 26 March 2015. Retrieved 14 May 2015.
  19. ^ a b c "Film Victoria – Australian Films at the Australian Box Office" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 9 February 2014. Retrieved 7 April 2015.
  20. ^ "Mad Max (1980)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 17 May 2015.
  21. ^ Haenni, Sabine; Barrow, Sarah; White, John, eds. (2014). "Mad Max (1979)". The Routledge Encyclopedia of Films. Routledge. pp. 323–326. ISBN 9781317682615.
  22. ^ "The Road Warrior". Box Office Mojo. Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 7 April 2015.
  23. ^ "Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome". Box Office Mojo. Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 7 April 2015.
  24. ^ "Crack in the Net – Facts". Mad Maxed. Archived from the original on 24 August 2015. Retrieved 7 April 2015.
  25. ^ "Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)". Box Office Mojo. Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 13 August 2015.
  26. ^ "Mad Max". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved 18 May 2015.
  27. ^ "Mad Max". Metacritic. Retrieved 15 May 2015.
  28. ^ "Mad Max 2". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved 18 May 2015.
  29. ^ "The Road Warrior". Metacritic. Retrieved 15 May 2015.
  30. ^ "Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved 18 May 2015.
  31. ^ "Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome". Metacritic. Retrieved 15 May 2015.
  32. ^ "Mad Max: Fury Road". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved 18 May 2015.
  33. ^ "Mad Max: Fury Road". Metacritic. Retrieved 14 May 2015.
  34. ^ CinemaScore Archived from the original on 9 August 2019. Retrieved 9 August 2019. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  35. ^ "Mad Max Memorabilia". Retrieved 8 April 2015.
  36. ^ Stratton, David (1990). The Avocado Plantation: Boom and Bust in the Australian Film Industry. Macmillan Publishers. p. 82. ISBN 0-73-2902509.
  37. ^ Vieth, Errol; Moran, Albert (25 October 2005). Historical Dictionary of Australian and New Zealand Cinema. Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press. p. 400.
  38. ^ Goldfarb, Andrew (10 June 2013). "E3 2013: Mad Max Announced for PlayStation 4". IGN. Ziff Davis. Retrieved 8 April 2015.