Mad Max (franchise)

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Mad Max
Mad Max (logo).png
Created by
Original work Mad Max (1979)
Print publications
Comics Fury Road
Films and television
Video game(s) Mad Max (1990)
Mad Max (2015)

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 degenerates 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)[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 vengeance. 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 (also known as The Road Warrior in the U.S., 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)[edit]

Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (also known as Mad Max 3: Beyond Thunderdome or simply Mad Max 3) is a 1985 film, the third installment 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)[edit]

Mad Max: Fury Road (also known as Mad Max 4: Fury Road or simply Mad Max 4), the fourth film 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 May 15, 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[edit]


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 Entertainment Warner Bros.
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 [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]
Beyond Thunderdome 10 July 1985 A$4,272,802 $36,230,219 N/A N/A A$12 million [17][21][22]
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[edit]

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]
Beyond Thunderdome 81% (47 reviews)[28] 80 (12 reviews)[29]
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 novelizations were written by Terry Hayes, who ended up co-writing the script for the second film after getting along well with Miller.[33] A novelization for the third film was written by Joan D. Vinge.[34]

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 Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC, with the titular character being voiced by Bren Foster.[35]


  1. ^ Lyttelton, Oliver. "5 Things You Might Not Know About 'Mad Max'". The Playlist. 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. Guardian Media Group. 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. Evolve Media. p. 4. Retrieved 14 May 2015. 
  6. ^ "All revved up for Max's return". Herald Sun. The Herald and Weekly Times. 18 May 2009. Retrieved 8 April 2015. 
  7. ^ Steadman, Ian (March 5, 2013). "Fragile Namibian deserts 'damaged' by Mad Max film crew". Wired UK. Retrieved May 12, 2015. 
  8. ^ Vaughan, Owen (13 June 2012). "Charlize Theron shaves it all off for Mad Max 4". News Corp Australia. Retrieved 8 April 2015. 
  9. ^ Turner, Brook (25 November 2011). "George Miller's new script". The Australian Financial Review. Fairfax Media. Archived from the original on 7 April 2014. Retrieved 8 April 2015. 
  10. ^ Miranda Collinge (30 March 2015). "Tom Hardy Is Esquire's May Cover Star". Esquire. Retrieved 3 April 2015. 
  11. ^ McNary, Dave (18 May 2015). "George Miller Promises 'More Max,' Starting With 'Mad Max: The Wasteland'". Variety. Penske Media Corporation. Archived from the original on 19 May 2015. Retrieved 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. Future plc. 12 May 2015. Archived from the original on 14 May 2015. Retrieved 14 May 2015. 
  15. ^ 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. 
  16. ^ "Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior Trivia". Archived from the original on 26 March 2015. Retrieved 14 May 2015. 
  17. ^ 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. 
  18. ^ "Mad Max (1980)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 17 May 2015. 
  19. ^ Haenni, Sabine; Barrow, Sarah; White, John, eds. (2014). "Mad Max (1979)". The Routledge Encyclopedia of Films. Routledge. pp. 323–326. ISBN 9781317682615. 
  20. ^ "The Road Warrior". Box Office Mojo. IMDB. Retrieved 7 April 2015. 
  21. ^ "Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome". Box Office Mojo. IMDB. Retrieved 7 April 2015. 
  22. ^ "Crack In The Net - Facts". Mad Maxed. Retrieved 7 April 2015. 
  23. ^ "Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)". Box Office Mojo. IMDB. Retrieved 13 August 2015. 
  24. ^ "Mad Max". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved 18 May 2015. 
  25. ^ "Mad Max". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 15 May 2015. 
  26. ^ "Mad Max 2". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved 18 May 2015. 
  27. ^ "The Road Warrior". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 15 May 2015. 
  28. ^ "Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved 18 May 2015. 
  29. ^ "Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 15 May 2015. 
  30. ^ "Mad Max: Fury Road". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved 18 May 2015. 
  31. ^ "Mad Max: Fury Road". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 14 May 2015. 
  32. ^ "Mad Max Memorabilia". Retrieved 8 April 2015. 
  33. ^ Stratton, David (1990). The Avocado Plantation: Boom and Bust in the Australian Film Industry. Macmillan Publishers. p. 82. ISBN 0-73-2902509. 
  34. ^ Vieth, Errol; Moran, Albert (25 October 2005). Historical Dictionary of Australian and New Zealand Cinema. Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press. p. 400. 
  35. ^ Goldfarb, Andrew (10 June 2013). "E3 2013: Mad Max Announced for PlayStation 4". IGN. Ziff Davis. Retrieved 8 April 2015. 

See also[edit]