In a 14 February 2006 interview with producer Jeremy Thomas by producer Sanford Lieberson at the Berlinale Talent Campus, Thomas said of this film: "...I went to Australia, and that was a good idea because I managed to produce my first independent film Mad Dog Morgan (1976). The film starred Dennis Hopper, we got Dennis Hopper somehow to be in it and I think there were something like 120 speaking parts and only $400,000 to make the film, which was very much in awe of Sam Peckinpah. We made a Western in Australia. And the film got selected for a side-bar event in Cannes; a film festival as usual came to my rescue. So I moved back to Europe having had the hands-on experience of making a film. The budget was made on a piece of paper, just page after page, and that is how the budget was constructed, never having made a film before, and a lot of the people who worked on the film were complete amateurs. I don't know how it was completed or done because we were very irresponsible, but I think it is a very good way to start with a colleague or friend."
This film was originally shot in the 2.35:1 aspect ratio. However, the 2005 American DVD release from Troma Entertainment presents the film in a 1.66:1 aspect ratio print cropped directly from the "pan and scan" full-screen print that was made for VHS releases. The film now has been released in Australia in its original 2.35:1 aspect ratio, the first time since its theatrical release.
Apparently, the real-life Daniel Morgan's real name at birth was John Fuller. He was also apparently known as Jack Fuller and John Smith as well as the nicknames of Billy the Native and Down-the-River Jack. There is also apparently some debate as to his "Mad" nickname i.e. as Mad Dog or as Mad Dan.
Publicity for this picture from producer Jeremy Thomas and writer-director Philippe Mora stated that this movie was "the first big adventure saga with accurately researched and reproduced Australian backgrounds".
During promotion for this movie's theatrical release, director Philippe Mora said of this film: "Although the Australian bush-ranger is a unique figure in the annals of outlawry, his standing has been obscured by the proliferation of legendary bandits like Dick Turpin, Jesse James, and Billy the Kid. With "Mad Dog", we are laying a claim for the bush-ranger to rank high in the world's history of rebellion".
Generally and wherever possible, authentic locations were utilized. As such, this picture was filmed in the same region that bush-ranger Daniel Morgan actually roamed in. This was the district around the Victoria-New South Wales border in Australia. The movie was mainly filmed around Holbrook, New South Wales, Australia, which is north of Albury in the same state. Moreover, filming also took place at the actual cave hide-out in the Yambla Range bush of New South Wales that bush-ranger Daniel Morgan hid out in when he was wounded and looked after by Billy (played in the film by David Gulpilil).
This movie was retitled 'Mad Dog' for television. This film was also publicized in the July/August 1976 edition of Australian 'Movie News' magazine as 'Mad Dog'. The film is equally well known under two titles, as both 'Mad Dog' and 'Mad Dog Morgan'.
This film was made and released about two years after Margaret Carnegie's source book 'Morgan: The Bold Bushranger' was first published in 1974. This book was based on twelve years of research. Carnegie is credited for the film for both story and research.
The purple flowers in the fields are not wildflowers, but an invasive or noxious weed known variously as "Paterson's Curse" or "Salvation Jane". It is a European plant (Echium plantagineum - Purple Viper's Bugloss), native to western and southern Europe. It is also called Blueweed, Lady Campbell Weed or Riverina Bluebell.