Mad Max

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Mad Max
Official franchise logo since 2015
Created by
Original workMad Max (1979)
OwnerWarner Bros. Entertainment
Years1979–1985; 2015; 2024–present
Print publications
  • Mad Max (1979)
  • Mad Max 2 (1982)
  • Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985)
ComicsMad Max: Fury Road (2015)
Films and television
Video game(s)

Mad Max is a media franchise created by George Miller and Byron Kennedy. It centers on a series of post-apocalyptic and dystopian action films. The franchise began in 1979 with Mad Max, and was followed by three sequels: Mad Max 2 (1981, released in the United States as The Road Warrior), Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985) and Mad Max: Fury Road (2015); Miller directed or co-directed all four films. Mel Gibson portrayed the title character Max Rockatansky in the first three films, while Tom Hardy portrayed the character in Mad Max: Fury Road.

The series follows Max, initially a police officer in a future Australia which is experiencing societal collapse due to war, critical resource shortages, and ecocide.[1] When his wife and child are murdered by a vicious biker gang, Max kills the gang in revenge and becomes a drifting loner in the Australian Wasteland. As Australia devolves further into barbarity, Max finds himself increasingly more isolated yet still willing to help pockets of civilisation, initially for his own self-interest, though his motives always drift into more altruistic ones.

The series has been well received by critics; Mad Max 2 and Fury Road in particular have been ranked among the best action films ever made. 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, winning six of its ten nominations.


Mad Max (1979)[edit]

Mad Max is a 1979 Australian action film directed by George Miller. Written by Miller and James McCausland from a story by Miller and producer Byron Kennedy, set "a few years from now". 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,[2] and has been credited for further opening the global market to Australian New Wave films.[3][4]

Mad Max 2 (1981)[edit]

Mad Max 2 (released as The Road Warrior in the United States) is a 1981 Australian post-apocalyptic action film directed by George Miller. This sequel to Miller's Mad Max was a worldwide box office success that further boosted 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.[5]

Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985)[edit]

Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome is a 1985 film, the third installment 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.[6]

Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)[edit]

Mad Max: Fury Road, the fourth film of the franchise,[7] is a 2015 post-apocalyptic action film co-written and directed by George Miller. While location scouting was reported to be underway in May 2009,[8] 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.[9] 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.[10]

Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga (2024)[edit]

Miller and McCarthy found during the writing process for Mad Max: Fury Road that they had enough story material for two additional scripts.[11] In March 2020, it was announced that a spin-off film centered around Furiosa was in development with auditions via Skype, including Anya Taylor-Joy.[12] By May of the same year, the untitled prequel centered around Furiosa, was confirmed to be in active development. Miller explained that extensive backstories were created for the characters in Fury Road, and that with Furiosa an entire script was written. The filmmaker announced that the primary character will be recast. Though he had originally wanted to digitally de-age Theron to reprise the role, he decided against this after seeing The Irishman and deciding that technology has not yet overcome the uncanny valley. Colin Gibson and John Seale will return as production designer and cinematographer, respectively.[13] Chris Hemsworth and Tom Burke also star.[14] Filming began in June 2022[15][16] for a release date of May 24, 2024.[17] Filming officially wrapped on October 28, 2022.[18]

Mad Max: The Wasteland (TBA)[edit]

In March 2015, Hardy revealed that he was attached to star in three more Mad Max films, following Fury Road.[19] After the release of Fury Road, Miller announced that a sequel is in development, with the working title of Mad Max: The Wasteland.[20][21] By January 2016, and after misleading reports which stated that the franchise was over, Miller re-affirmed that he is working on follow up movies.[22] In July 2019, a question regarding unpaid earnings had to be resolved before moving forward with production which was resolved.[23]

Films summary[edit]

Film Release date Directed by Screenplay by Story by Produced by Status
Mad Max April 12, 1979 (1979-04-12) George Miller James McCausland and George Miller George Miller and Byron Kennedy Byron Kennedy Released
Mad Max 2 December 24, 1981 (1981-12-24) Terry Hayes, George Miller and Brian Hannant
Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome July 10, 1985 (1985-07-10) George Miller
and George Ogilvie
Terry Hayes and George Miller George Miller
Mad Max: Fury Road May 15, 2015 (2015-05-15) George Miller George Miller, Brendan McCarthy and Nico Lathouris Doug Mitchell, George Miller and PJ Voeten
Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga May 24, 2024 (2024-05-24) George Miller and Nico Lathouris Doug Mitchell and George Miller

Cast and crew[edit]


List indicator(s)

This section includes characters who will appear or have appeared in the franchise.

  • An empty, dark grey cell indicates the character was not in the film, or that the character's official presence has not yet been confirmed.
  •  A indicates an appearance through archival footage or audio.
  •  O indicates an older version of the character.
  •  Y indicates a younger version of the character.
Mad Max Mad Max 2 Mad Max
Beyond Thunderdome
Mad Max:
Fury Road
A Mad Max Saga
Mad Max
(video game)
1979 1981 1985 2015 2024 2015
Max Rockatansky Mel Gibson Tom Hardy Jacob Tomuri Bren Foster
Benno Swaisey
Broken Victim
Max Fairchild
Jessie Rockatansky Joanne Samuel Joanne SamuelA
Sprog Rockatansky Brendan Heath Brendan HeathA
Gyro Captain Bruce Spence
Jedediah the Pilot
Toecutter Hugh Keays-Byrne
Jim "Goose" Rains Steve Bisley
Bubba Zanetti Geoff Parry
Johnny the Boy Tim Burns
May Swaisey Sheila Florence
Nightrider Vincent Gil
The Humungus Kjell Nilsson
Wez Vernon Wells
The Feral Kid Emil MintyY Harold BaigentO
Warrior Woman Virginia Hey
Pappagallo Michael Preston
Aunty Entity Tina Turner
Savannah Nix Helen Buday
Jedediah Jr. Adam Cockburn
Pig Killer Robert Grubb
Ironbar Bassey Angry Anderson
Imperator Furiosa Charlize Theron Anya Taylor-Joy
Alyla BrowneY
Immortan Joe Hugh Keays-Byrne Lachy Hulme
Glory the Child Coco Jack Gillies Madison Carlon
Rictus Erectus Nathan Jones
The Organic Mechanic Angus Sampson Fred Tatasciore
The People Eater John Howard
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
Slit Josh Helman
The Bullet Farmer Richard Carter
The Doof Warrior iOTA
The Valkyrie Megan Gale
Keeper of the Seeds Melissa Jaffer
Warlord Dementus Chris Hemsworth
Praetorian Jack Tom Burke
War Boy Daniel Webber
Mary Jo Bassa Charlee Fraser
Chumbucket Jason Spisak
Scabrous Scrotus Travis Willingham


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$200,000 [24][25][26]
Mad Max 2 24 December 1981 A$10,847,491 $23,667,907 $21,000,000R $36,000,000R A$4.5 million [24][27][28][29]
Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome 10 July 1985 A$4,272,802 $36,230,219 $16,000,000R $52,000,000R A$12 million [24][30][31][28][29]
Mad Max: Fury Road 15 May 2015 A$21,606,347 $154,109,060 $261,152,322 $415,261,382 US$150 million [32]
Total A$36,547,536 $222,757,186 $37 millionR
+$326 million
A$72 millionR
+US$515 million
A$17 million
+US$150 million
List indicator(s)
  • A dark grey cell indicates the information is not available for the film.

RDistributor rental

Critical and public response[edit]

Film Rotten Tomatoes Metacritic
Mad Max 89% (65 reviews)[33] 73 (14 reviews)[34]
Mad Max 2 93% (58 reviews)[35] 77 (15 reviews)[36]
Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome 81% (54 reviews)[37] 71 (18 reviews)[38]
Mad Max: Fury Road 97% (438 reviews)[39] 90 (51 reviews)[40]
Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga 86% (111 reviews)[41] 80 (45 reviews)[42]

Audiences surveyed by CinemaScore gave Mad Max: Fury Road a grade "B+" on scale of A to F.[43]



Title U.S. release date Length Composer(s) Label
Mad Max (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) 30 April 1980 31:25 Brian May Varèse Sarabande
Mad Max 2 (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) 11 January 1982 35:08
Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) August 1985 44:27 Tina Turner and Maurice Jarre Capitol Records
Mad Max: Fury Road (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) 12 May 2015 71:01 Tom Holkenborg WaterTower Music

Other media[edit]

Many licensed products are based on the Mad Max franchise. Products include novels, comic books, video games, and other materials.[44]


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.[45] A novelisation for the third film was written by Joan D. Vinge.[46]

Video games[edit]

Mad Max is a 1990 video game for the Nintendo Entertainment System developed by Gray Matter and published by Mindscape. It is based on the film Mad Max 2, with the object of the game is to survive life in the post-apocalyptic world by battling survivalists and collecting resources. Mindscape did develop another Mad Max game originally titled The Road Warrior for Super Nintendo Entertainment System and Sega Genesis, but due to Mindscape losing the license before completion they changed the title to Outlander to avoid legal issues.[citation needed]

Mad Max is a 2015 video game developed by Avalanche Studios and published by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. It is based on the setting of Mad Max and was released for PlayStation 4, Windows, Xbox One, Linux, and macOS. The titular character was voiced by Bren Foster.[47]

Comic books[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.

Other appearances[edit]

  • The trailer for the 2021 film Space Jam: A New Legacy revealed the film's inclusion of Mad Max characters among other Warner Bros. characters in crowd scenes.[48] In the actual film, in addition to characters being spectators, Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner appear in the Mad Max world doing their classic chase with Wile E. as a War Boy, before Bugs Bunny and LeBron James show up to get them both. Footage from Fury Road is featured with the duo edited into it.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Valls Oyarzun, Eduardo; Gualberto Valverde, Rebeca; Malla García, Noelia; Colom Jiménez, María; Cordero Sánchez, Rebeca, eds. (2020). "17". Avenging nature: the role of nature in modern and contemporary art and literature. Ecocritical theory and practice. Lanham Boulder NewYork London: Lexington Books. ISBN 978-1-7936-2144-3.
  2. ^ 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.
  3. ^ Formica, Serena (1 April 2012). Peter Weir: A Creative Journey from Australia to Hollywood. Bristol: Intellect Ltd. p. 79. ISBN 9781841504773. Retrieved 13 May 2015.
  4. ^ Conterio, Martyn (7 May 2015). "Mad Max: from the Ozploitation wilderness to the mainstream". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 18 May 2015. Retrieved 13 May 2015.
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  6. ^ 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.
  7. ^ Davis, Erik (14 May 2015). "Interview: Director George Miller Answers All Your Big 'Mad Max: Fury Road' Questions". Fandango. Archived from the original on 12 June 2018. Retrieved 9 June 2018.
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  9. ^ Steadman, Ian (5 March 2013). "Fragile Namibian deserts 'damaged' by Mad Max film crew". Wired UK. Archived from the original on 18 May 2015. Retrieved 12 May 2015.
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  11. ^ 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.
  12. ^ Lang, Justin Kroll,Brent; Kroll, Justin; Lang, Brent (26 March 2020). "Hollywood's Biggest Movies Are Stuck in Limbo as Start Dates Remain Uncertain". Variety. Archived from the original on 26 March 2020. Retrieved 15 May 2020.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
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  19. ^ 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.
  20. ^ 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.
  21. ^ "No Furiosa in Mad Max Fury Road sequel". Digital Spy. 12 October 2015. Archived from the original on 14 November 2015. Retrieved 14 January 2016.
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