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Mad Max

Original movie poster
Directed by George Miller
Produced by Byron Kennedy
Bill Miller
Written by George Miller
Byron Kennedy
James McCausland
Starring Mel Gibson
Steve Bisley
Joanne Samuel
Hugh Keays-Byrne
Tim Burns
Geoff Parry
Music by Brian May
Cinematography David Eggby
Editing by Cliff Hayes
Tony Paterson
Studio Kennedy-Miller Productions
Distributed by Village Roadshow Pictures
American International Pictures
(United States)
Warner Bros.
Release date(s) April 12, 1979
Running time 95 minutes
Country Australia
Language English
Budget AU$400,000 (estimated)[1]
Followed by Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior

Mad Max is a 1979 Australian dystopian action film directed by George Miller and written by Miller and Byron Kennedy. The film's starring role is played by the then relatively unknown Mel Gibson. Its narrative based around the traditional western genre, Mad Max tells a story of breakdown of society, murder and vengeance. It became a top-grossing Australian film and has been credited for further opening up the global market to Australian New Wave films. The movie was also notable for being the first Australian film to be shot with a widescreen anamorphic lens.

It has had a lasting influence on apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction. The first in the Mad Max franchise, Mad Max spawned sequels Mad Max 2 in 1981 and Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome in 1985. A third sequel, tentatively titled Mad Max 4: Fury Road, has been in production for over two decades but, as of early 2010, has still not been completed.



The film opens "A Few Years From Now..." in Australia, in a dystopian future where law and order has begun to break down. Berserk motorcycle gang member Crawford "Nightrider" Montizano has broken police custody and – with a punk woman by his side – is attempting to flee from the Main Force Patrol (MFP), the Federal highway police unit, in a stolen MFP Pursuit Special. Though he manages to elude his initial pursuers, the Nightrider then encounters the MFP's "top pursuit man," leather-clad Max Rockatansky (Mel Gibson). Max, the more skilled driver, pursues the Nightrider in a high-speed nerve-wracking chase which results in the death of the Nightrider and the woman in a fiery car crash.

Nightrider's Armalite motorcycle gang – led by the barbaric "Toecutter" (portrayed by Hugh Keays-Byrne) and his lieutenant Bubba Zanetti (Geoff Parry) – is running roughshod over a country town, vandalizing property, stealing fuel and terrorising the local population. Max and his fellow officer Jim 'The' Goose (Steve Bisley) are able to arrest the Toecutter's young protege, Johnny the Boy (Tim Burns), when Johnny lingers at the scene of one of the gang’s crimes, the rape of a young couple. However, when no witnesses show for his trial, the courts declare the case "no contest" and Johnny is released. A shocked Goose attacks Johnny and must be physically restrained; both Goose and Johnny shout threats of revenge at each other. After Bubba drags Johnny away, MFP Captain Fifi Macaffee (Roger Ward) frees his officers to pursue the gangs as they want, "so long as the paperwork's clean."

Shortly thereafter, Johnny sabotages Goose's MFP motorcycle; the motorcycle locks up at high speed the next day, throwing Goose from the bike. Goose is unharmed, though his bike is badly damaged; he borrows a ute to haul his bike back to civilization. However, Johnny and the Toecutter's gang are waiting further up the highway in ambush. Johnny throws a brake drum at Goose's windshield, causing him to run off the road; then – upon the Toecutter's insistence, and perhaps as a gang initiation – Johnny is instructed to throw a match at Goose's ute, which is leaking petrol from its ruptured fuel line. Johnny refuses, and the Toecutter starts to abuse him; in the ensuing argument, the lit match is thrown and lands in the wreckage of the ute, which erupts in flames.

The Goose is mortally wounded, and after seeing his charred body in the hospital's burn ward, Max becomes angry and disillusioned with the police force. Worried of what may happen if he stays in the job, and fearing he may become as savage and brutal as the gang members, Max announces to Fifi that he is resigning from the MFP with no intention of returning. Fifi convinces him to take a holiday first before making his final decision about leaving.

While on holiday at the coast, Max's wife, Jessie, (Joanne Samuel) and their son run into Toecutter's gang, who attempt to molest her. She flees, but the gang later manages to track them to the remote farm near the beach where she and Max are staying. While attempting to escape, Jessie and her son are run down and run over by the gang; their crushed bodies are left in the middle of the road. Max arrives too late to intervene.

Filled with obsessive rage, Max dons his police leathers and takes a supercharged black Pursuit Special to pursue the gang. After torturing a mechanic for information on the gang, Max methodically hunts down and kills the gang members: several gang members are forced off a bridge at high speed; Max shoots and kills Bubba at point blank range with his shotgun; the Toecutter is forced into the path of a speeding semi-trailer truck and crushed. In the road battles, Max has his arm crushed when it is run over by Bubba Zanetti's motorbike, and receives a gunshot wound to his knee, which he braces with a makeshift splint. Becoming even more relentless and ruthless, he searches for the final members of the gang. When Max finds Johnny the Boy taking the boots off a dead driver at the scene of a crash, he handcuffs Johnny's ankle to the wrecked vehicle and sets a crude time-delay fuse. Throwing Johnny a hacksaw, Max leaves him the choice of sawing through either the hi-tensile steel of the handcuffs (which will take 10 minutes) or his ankle (which will take 5 minutes). As Max drives away, the vehicle explodes; an emotionless Max drives on further into the Outback without turning back.

Conception and production

George Miller was a medical doctor in Victoria, Australia, working in a hospital emergency room, where he saw many injuries and deaths of the types depicted in the movie. While in residency at a Melbourne hospital, he met amateur film maker Byron Kennedy at a summer film school in 1971. The duo produced 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 screenwriter James McCausland (who appears in the film as the bearded man in an apron in front of the diner). Some have speculated that Miller's medical background is reflected in the name of his chief character Max Rockatansky, which might be a reference to Baron Carl von Rokitansky, who developed the most common procedure used to remove the organs at autopsy [1].

Miller believed that audiences would find his violent story to be more believable if set in a bleak, dystopic future. The film was shot over a period of twelve weeks in Australia, between December 1978 and February 1979, in and around Melbourne. Many of the car-chase scenes for the original Mad Max were filmed near the town of Lara, just north of Geelong. The movie was shot with a widescreen anamorphic lens, the first Australian film to use one.

In a 2006 newspaper commentary on peak oil, James McCausland wrote the following in relation to Mad Max:

"In 1973, the Arab oil-producing nations convulsed most of the world by tightening the spigots on their wells and sharply reducing production. Corporations, and nations including Japan, went into crisis mode and many started to think of ways to lessen their reliance on petroleum products.

As the after-shock waves began to subside and black gold started to flow again, most enterprises kicked petroleum replacement well down the agenda.

Yet there were further signs of the desperate measures individuals would take to ensure mobility. A couple of oil strikes that hit many pumps revealed the ferocity with which Australians would defend their right to fill a tank. Long queues formed at the stations with petrol – and anyone who tried to sneak ahead in the queue met raw violence."


George and I wrote the script based on the thesis that people would do almost anything to keep vehicles moving and the assumption that nations would not consider the huge costs of providing infrastructure for alternative energy until it was too late.[2]

Mel Gibson, a complete unknown at this point, went to auditions with his friend and classmate Steve Bisley (who would later land the part of Jim Goose). Gibson went to auditions in poor shape, as the night before he had got into a drunken brawl with three men at a party, resulting in a swollen nose, a broken jawline, and various other bruises. Mel showed up at the audition the next day looking like a "black and blue pumpkin" (his own words). Mel did not expect to get the role and only went to accompany his friend. However, the casting agent liked the look and told Mel to come back in two weeks, telling him "we need freaks." When Gibson returned, he was not recognised because his wounds had healed almost completely; he received the part anyway.[3]

Due to the film's low budget, only Mel Gibson was given a jacket and pants made from real leather. All the other actors playing police officers wore vinyl outfits. The police cars were repeatedly repainted to give the illusion that more cars were used; often they were driven with the paint still wet.

The film's post-production was done at Kennedy's house, with Wilson and Kennedy editing the film in Kennedy's bedroom on a home-built editing machine that Kennedy's father, an engineer, had designed for them. Wilson and Kennedy also edited the sound there.


Max's yellow Interceptor was a 1974 Ford Falcon XB sedan (previously, a Melbourne police car) with a 351ci Cleveland V8 engine and many other modifications.[4]

Mad Max Interceptor replica outside the Boston, MA Area

The Big Bopper, driven by Roop and Charlie, was also a 1974 Ford Falcon XB sedan and former Victorian Police car, but was powered by a 302cid V8.[5] The March Hare, driven by Sarse and Scuttle, was an in-line-six-powered 1972 Ford Falcon XA sedan (this car was formerly a Melbourne taxi cab).[6]

Replica Mad Max Pursuit Special vehicle outside the Silverton Hotel

The most memorable car, Max's black Pursuit Special—erroneously known as "The Last of the V8 Interceptors" based on a mechanic's quote in Mad Max 2 was a limited GT351 version of a 1973 Ford XB Falcon Hardtop (sold in Australia from December 1973 to August 1976) which was primarily modified by Murray Smith, Peter Arcadipane and Ray Beckerley.[7] After filming of the first movie was completed, the car was handed over to Murray Smith. When production of Mad Max 2 (The Road Warrior) began the car was again purchased back by George Miller for use in the sequel. Once filming was over the car was left at a wrecking yard and was bought and restored by Bob Forsenko, and is currently on display in the Cars of the Stars Motor Museum in Cumbria, England.[8]

The Nightrider's vehicle, another Pursuit Special, was a 1972 Holden HQ LS Monaro coupe.[9]

The car driven by the young couple that is destroyed by the bikers is a 1959 Chevrolet Impala sedan.[10]

Of the motorcycles that appear in the film, 14 were Z1000s donated by Kawasaki. All were modified in appearance by Melbourne business La Parisienne - one as the MFP bike ridden by 'The Goose' and the balance for members of the Toecutter's gang, played in the film by members of a local Victorian motorcycle club, the Vigilantes.[11]

By the end of filming, fourteen vehicles had been destroyed in the chase and crash scenes, including the director's personal Mazda Bongo (the small, blue van that spins uncontrollably after being struck by the Big Bopper in the film's opening chase).


The film initially received a mixed reaction from critics. Tom Buckley of the New York Times called it "ugly and incoherent",[12] though Variety magazine praised the directorial debut by Miller.[13] The film currently has a 95% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.[14]

Though the film had a limited run in the United States and earned only $8 million there, it did very well elsewhere around the world and went on to earn $100 million worldwide.[15] Since it was independently financed with a reported budget of just $400,000 AUD, it was a major financial success. For thirty years, the movie held a record in Guinness Book of Records as the highest profit-to-cost ratio of a motion picture, conceding the record only in 2009 to Paranormal Activity. The film was awarded three Australian Film Institute Awards in 1979 (for editing, sound, and musical score).[16]


When the film was first released in the United States, all the voices, including that of Mel Gibson's character, were dubbed by U.S. performers at the behest of the distributor, American International Pictures, for fear that audiences would not take warmly to actors speaking entirely with Australian accents. Much of the Australian slang and terminology was also replaced with American usages (examples: "See looks!" became "See what I see?", "windscreen" became "windshield", "very toey" became "super hot", and "proby" -probationary officer- became "rookie"). AIP also altered the operator's duty call on Jim Goose's bike in the beginning of the movie (it ended with "Come on, Goose, where are you?"). The only dubbing exceptions were the voice of the singer in the Sugartown Cabaret (played by Robina Chaffey), the voice of Charlie (played by John Ley) through the mechanical voice box, and Officer Jim Goose (Steve Bisley), singing as he drives a truck before being ambushed.

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 in the U.S. on DVD with both the US and Australian soundtracks on separate tracks).

Since Mel Gibson was not well known to American audiences, trailers and TV spots in the USA emphasized the film's action content.

Both New Zealand and Sweden initially banned the film.

See also


External links


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Mad Max is an Australian apocalyptic action thriller film from 1979 directed by George Miller and written by Miller and Byron Kennedy.


Max Rockatansky

  • Jessie, I told you. The Goose wants me there early. What for, he didn't say. You know the Goose. Coffee's ready. (to his wife Jessie).
  • When do we go for a ride? (to Jim Goose and the MFP mechanic after they show him the modified pursuit vehicle).
  • I'm scared, Fif. It's that rat circus out there, I'm beginning to enjoy it. Look, any longer out on that road and I'm one of them, a terminal psychotic, except that I've got this bronze badge that says that I'm one of the good guys. (To Fifi McAffee about his resignation).
  • I'll say the names and you say yes or no. (to the mechanic who once assisted Max).
  • The chain in those handcuffs is high-tensile steel. It'd take you ten minutes to hack through it with this. Now, if you're lucky, you can hack through your ankle in five minutes. Go! (to Johnny the Boy after handcuffing him to a wrecked car spilling gas and making a time-delay fuse with the gas dripping from the car).

Jim the Goose

  • I don't know, man, I just got here myself. (to a driver after his accident)
  • Nothing a year in the tropics wouldn't fix. (to Max after his accident)
  • Hey fella! You're a turkey, you know that? (to the guy escaping from the place where his car was broken by the Toecutter's gang)
  • Jimmy the Goose, larger than life and twice as ugly! (after being assisted by Midge, the friend that gave him his car)

Fifi McAffee

  • So long as the paperwork's clean, you boys can do what you like out there. (to the MFP officers after Johnny the Boy was released from the Halls of Justice)
  • They say people don't believe in heroes anymore. Well, damn them! You and me, Max, we're gonna give them back their heroes. (to Max, trying to convince him to not to resign from the MFP)

The Toecutter

  • The Nightrider, that is his name. (...) Remember him when you look at the night sky. (to the train agent when getting to the Nightrider's coffin)
  • We have a problem here. She is not what she seems. Bubba Zanetti has it on good authority. She was sent by the bronze, full of treachery. Bronze, take ("kill" in American version) our pride! (to his gang after seeing Mudguts and Cundalini playing with the mannequin).
  • Well, well, well, it's our little mother. That there is Cundalini, and Cundalini wants his hand back. (...) Tell you what, I'll swap you. (to Jessie, as the Toecutter and the gang hold her son hostage)

Bubba Zannetti

  • We're here to meet a friend. Come in on a train. (to the agent asking for Nightrider's dead body)
  • Must have cut his heart out? (to the agent when seeing the small coffin)
  • Perhaps it's the result of an anxiety. (to a kid that asked a question about the broken car)
  • Joviality is a game of children. (to the Toecutter, commenting about the mannequin and two guys from the gang)
  • You just don't have the style, do you, chickenshit? Goes to water on a dummy. (to Johnny the Boy after he shot the mannequin)
  • Easy. I know what I'm doing. (to Toecutter, when fighting with Max on the road)

Johnny the Boy

  • If you're gonna waste the Bronze, you gotta do it big! (after shooting the mannequin)
  • You're mad, man! You think I look silly, don't ya? Ha ha... Don't bring me on this, man! Don't do this to me! Please, sweet Jesus, I was sick! (to Max, begging to not to leave him to die)


  • Rip the guts out of it. Give it the B-Jesus! (Roop preparing to fire to Nightrider's car)
  • Push me, shove you! Oh yeah, says who? (Mudguts and Cundalini making a little parody in the town)
  • That's what hurts. It's one of our V-8's. Pursuit Special on methane. Very toey! (Sarse telling Roof about the car that the Nightrider drives -"Super hot!", instead of "Very toey!" in the American version-).
  • I am a rocker, I am a roller, I am an out-of-controller! I'm a fuel-injected suicide machine! (Nightrider's rant over the police radio).

External links

Wikipedia has an article about:


Up to date as of February 01, 2010

From Wikia Gaming, your source for walkthroughs, games, guides, and more!

Mad Max

Developer(s) Mindscape
Publisher(s) Mindscape
Release date 1990
Genre Action
Mode(s) Single player
Age rating(s) N/A
Platform(s) NES
Credits | Soundtrack | Codes | Walkthrough

Mad Max is a game based on the movie Mad Max 2.

This article is a stub. You can help by adding to it.

Stubs are articles that writers have begun work on, but are not yet complete enough to be considered finished articles.

This article uses material from the "Mad Max" article on the Gaming wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.

Simple English

Mad Max is a 1979 film. It is an Australian action film directed by George Miller. It is the first role of Mel Gibson. Mad Max tells a story about life in an apocalyptic world.

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