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Mad Max (1979)

In a self-destructing world, a vengeful Australian policeman sets out to stop a violent motorcycle gang.

Director:

George Miller

Writers:

James McCausland (screenplay), George Miller (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
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Popularity
1,210 ( 223)

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4 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Mel Gibson ... Max
Joanne Samuel ... Jessie
Hugh Keays-Byrne ... Toecutter
Steve Bisley ... Jim Goose
Tim Burns ... Johnny the Boy
Roger Ward ... Fifi
Lisa Aldenhoven ... Nurse
David Bracks ... Mudguts
Bertrand Cadart ... Clunk
David Cameron ... Underground Mechanic
Robina Chaffey ... Singer
Stephen Clark Stephen Clark ... Sarse
Mathew Constantine Mathew Constantine ... Toddler
Jerry Day ... Ziggy
Reg Evans ... Station Master
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Storyline

Taking place in a dystopian Australia in the near future, Mad Max tells the story of a highway patrolman cruising the squalid back roads that have become the breeding ground of criminals foraging for gasoline and scraps. When his wife and child meet a grisly end at the hands of a motorcycle gang, Max sets out across the barren wastelands in search of revenge. Written by Cole Matthews

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The Film That Started It All See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

MGM Studios (us) | Official Facebook | See more »

Country:

Australia

Language:

English

Release Date:

21 March 1980 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Mad Max See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$350,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$8,750,000

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$100,000,000, 31 December 1982
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (special edition)

Sound Mix:

Mono | 4-Track Stereo (Japan theatrical release)

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In a 2015 interview with The Q&A with Jeff Goldsmith podcast, George Miller said that it was not the intention when the script was written, to set it in a post-apocalyptic world. This was done because they didn't have the money for extras and properly maintained buildings. In order to cover for this production value limitation, the title card was added to the beginning, explaining the story was set after a world war. This also accounts for why there is generally more of an established society in this film, than any of the sequels. See more »

Goofs

When Jessie finds Cundalini's hand hanging from the back of the van, a crew-members fingers can be clearly seen holding the chain up. See more »

Quotes

[the Kid is handcuffed to a car that's about to explode]
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 could hack through your ankle in five minutes. Go.
[the hacksaw is dropped next to The Kid, and Max limps off]
See more »

Alternate Versions

MGM's 2002 DVD release, called the "Special Edition," contains the original Australian English dialog track. There are also options that play the film with American International's replacement U.S. dubbed track as well as a pan and scan version. This DVD version runs 93 minutes. See more »

Connections

Edited into La classe américaine (1993) See more »

Soundtracks

Jessie's Theme
(uncredited)
Written by Nic Gazzana
Performed by Joanne Samuel
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
The Potential of the Australian Film Industry
8 April 2005 | by MrBenWhiteSee all my reviews

Dr. George Miller's low budget Mad Max franchise impacted on Australian culture and altered the perception of Australia and Australians overseas in a way that no other Australian film had done. The films explores themes such as 'man and the environment', 'fear provoking post-apocalyptic future, family', 'masculinity in crisis', 'good versus evil (Max as an iconic hero), Australian ethos and car culture; themes often featured within Australian films yet presented in a stark and dramatic way. The cinematographic impact is powerful; the human and emotional appeal is timeless.

Australia's barren deserts presented the ideal setting for a post-apocalyptic environment. The film set is more identifiable as Australia as it was filmed around the city of Melbourne. Long deserted roads feature significantly in the film and the cinematographic device of taking long distant shots of Max demonstrates how small he is in the scale of the environment that he is living. It is a relentless, unforgiving environment which demands defeat or survival and marks the characters which play upon its stage.

Just as the physical setting is stark and desolate, the time setting and its associated events create an atmosphere of fear and foreboding which plays on the minds and emotions of contemporary viewers. In this fear provoking post apocalyptic future the few survivors of the nuclear holocaust are in warfare with one another, the rebel bikers and the police.

Good versus evil is a dominant discourse in many film genres and one which embraces the Australian ethos. Max possesses some highly valued "Australian" traits; in particular, those of the underdog, the battler, the hero. External forces beyond his control stop him from "winning" completely. Contrary to the Hollywood hero, the Australian hero is a pawn in the game of others, which explains why Max can never quite "win" in absolute terms. There is little public glorification of success in Australia; heroes are remembered for their style rather than for their achievements. (Venkatasawmy, 1996) Mad Max represented a tradition hero, a hero to whom many diverse cultures are able to relate, as a story of a lone hero is a story that goes back through centuries of storytelling, and as a consequence the film achieved colossal success within Australian and around the world. The Australian cultures and lifestyles shown throughout these films give Australians an understanding of their country in the landscape, the language, and the way we treat people, life and life in exceptional circumstances.

Reference Venkatasawmy, R. (1996), Australian Film in the Reading Room: The Hybridity of Film-making in Australian National Cinema: Formulating a Cinematic Post-Diaspora. Retrieved March 14, 2005, from http://wwwmcc.murdoch.edu.au/ReadingRoom/rama/CHAPT4.htm


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