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Mad Max (franchise)

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Mad Max (franchise)

Mad Max
Original work Mad Max (1979)
Print publications
Comics Fury Road
Films and television
Video games Mad Max (1990)
Mad Max (2015)

Mad Max is an Australian Byron Kennedy. It began in 1979 with Mad Max, and was followed by three films: Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (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 of the Main Force Patrol in a future Australia whose civilization is rapidly collapsing 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. As Australia degenerates further into barbarity, this skilled warrior of the road finds himself helping pockets of civilization 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 movie review aggregate site, Rotten Tomatoes. Furthermore, the series has also had a lasting influence on apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction.


Mad Max (1979)

Mad Max is a 1979 Australian dystopian action film directed by 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)

Mad Max 2 (also known as The Road Warrior in the U.S., and Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior) is a 1981 Australian 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)

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 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)

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, has already been completed, and Miller hopes 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]

Cast and crew


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 air pilot in two of the films, first as Gyro Captain in Mad Max 2 and then as Jedediah the Pilot in Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome.[12] Hugh Keays-Byrne has taken antagonist roles twice: he played Toecutter in Mad Max and Immortan Joe in Mad Max: Fury Road.[13] Max Fairchild appeared as Benno Swaisey in Mad Max and as "Broken Victim" of the Humungus's gang in Mad Max 2.[14]


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)
Junkie XL
Cinematographer David Eggby Dean Semler John Seale
Editor Cliff Hayes
Tony Paterson
David Stiven
Michael Balson
Tim Wellburn
Richard Francis-Bruce Margaret Sixel
Running time 93 minutes 96 minutes 107 minutes 120 minutes


Box office performance

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 [15][16][17]
Mad Max 2 24 December 1981 A$10,847,491 $23,667,907 N/A N/A A$4.5 million [15][18]
Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome 10 July 1985 A$4,272,802 $36,230,219 N/A N/A A$12 million [15][19][20]
Mad Max: Fury Road 15 May 2015 A$16,071,753 $153,121,629 $221,100,000 $374,221,629 US$150 million [21]
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

Film Rotten Tomatoes Metacritic
Mad Max 89% (56 reviews)[22] 67 (7 reviews)[23]
Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior 98% (42 reviews)[24] 76 (9 reviews)[25]
Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome 81% (47 reviews)[26] 80 (12 reviews)[27]
Mad Max: Fury Road 97% (303 reviews)[28] 89 (47 reviews)[29]
Average 92% 78


Many licensed products are based on the Mad Max franchise. Products include novels, comic books, video games, and other materials.[30]]

Novelizations of the first three films have 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.[31] A novelization for the third film was written by Joan D. Vinge.[32]

Video games

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.

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.[33]



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