In the roar of an engine, he lost everything. And became a shell of a man, a burnt-out, desolate man, a man haunted by the demons of his past, a man who wandered out into the wasteland. And it was here, in this blighted place, that he learned to live again...
A series of films that constitute the most famous things to come out of Australia since kangaroos and sexy women with accents. Created by George Miller, and starring Mel Gibson in his Australian accent as the title character 'Mad' Max Rockatansky.The first film, Mad Max, is set "A Few Years From Now" at a time where scarcity of oil is beginning to cause the collapse of civilisation — law and order is barely holding on within the towns while the highways are controlled by the outlaw gangs. Max Rockatansky is a Main Force Patrol cop, held in high regard by his boss and peers, with a happy home with his wife and young son — until run-ins with the motorcycle gang led by the villainous charismatic Toecutter cause his life to fall apart. Max famously goes on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge at the film's climax, but by the end he has lost everything. Made with practically no money and released in 1979, the film was surprisingly successful in Australia — however, it was barely noticed in America, where it was only given limited release and all the characters' voices had been dubbed with American accents because distributors thought the audience wouldn't understand what they were saying.The second film, Mad Max 2 (retitled The Road Warrior in America), follows Max into the wastelands of the Outback, where a few years later he is now Walking the Earth with his dog in his Cool Car. He runs into a small ragtag group of survivors occupying an isolated oil refinery, who are surrounded and terrorised by a vicious gang of biker bandits led by the mysterious masked Lord Humongous. After at first resisting their pleas for him to help them, Max ends up assisting them in their plan for escape to the north, exorcising some of his own personal demons. Released in 1981, the film is almost unanimously regarded as better than the first — in America, where it was renamed so that people wouldn't realise it was a sequel, it was a surprise hit. Mad Max 2, a.k.a. The Road Warrior, is the film that made Mad Max (and Mel Gibson) famous.The third film, Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome, is the first one to be set unambiguously After the End in the aftermath of a nuclear holocaust. Many years after the first two films, Mad Max becomes involved in a power struggle over control of the fledgling new society of Bartertown, between its founder Aunty Entity and the duo "MasterBlaster" who control its energy supply. Making a deal with Aunty Entity to recover his stolen vehicle, Max must fight Blaster in the Thunderdome where "two men enter, one man leaves". This eventually leads to Max running into a society of wild children in a hidden valley who were survivors of a plane crash, and believe him to be the pilot they have been waiting for to take them home. Released in 1985, this film was an American co-production and a Dolled-Up Installment: the original idea centred around a man encountering a post-apocalyptic society of wild children, before George Miller decided to have Mad Max be that man.A fourth film — a prequel, set in the time when society was just starting to collapse, called Mad Max: Fury Road — has been in Development Hell for years. It was scheduled to begin filming by the end of 2010, but was delayed due to higher-than-normal amounts of rainfall, resulting in the area around Broken Hill being too green, which forced filming to be moved to Africa. A 3D anime adaptation is also under development and may be released in addition to the live action film.
A Dog Named Dog: His Australian Cattle Dog in the second film. Its name is never given, and the script just calls it dog.
All There in the Manual: Max's line "May, call The Dark One" after Jessie is chased through the woods and the man they take Cundallini's severed hand to after they find it hanging from the van. Originally, he was Max's partner and May Swaisey's husband (you can still see "M. Rockatansky" and "The Dark One" on the Interceptor's fender), but for whatever reason this was left out of the finished product.
Beam Me Up, Scotty!: Max's black coupe. It is a Pursuit Special, but is often mistakenly called the Interceptor, the designation of his yellow patrol car (and most MFP patrol cars for that matter), by fans, because it sounds cooler.
Big "NO!": Savannah screams and sobs "Oh, no! NO!" when her friend is consumed by the sinkhole.
Canon Discontinuity: Bruce Spence's character Jedediah in the third film is not the same Gyro Captain who appeared in Mad Max 2, but caused confusion to fans of the second film. However, it's just an example of George Miller hiring many of the same actors, including the mechanic (who was a disabled good guy and killed in The Road Warrior).
Central Theme: In Thunderdome, children. Aside from the obvious, Master is the height of a child, while Blaster is essentially a grown child. Tina Turner's songs bring up the notion of children in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, and Savannah Nix states at the end that they "does the Tell" so that their children and their children's children can pass on the story of their heritage.
Chainmail Bikini: Aunty Entity sports the slightly more sensible chainmail one-piece, which is probably a sensible investment given her position.
Chain of People: The children trying to rescue one of their own from quicksand in Beyond Thunderdome. It doesn't work.
In Beyond Thunderdome. "Two men enter, one man leaves."
"Bust a deal, face the wheel."
Cool Car: Max's Pursuit Special, "last of the V8 Interceptors."
Cooldown Hug: In The Road Warrior, Humungus "hugs" his lieutenant Wez as he is about to go on a premature, suicidal killing spree.
Cool Pet: Dog, proving that blue heelers are fierce (the dingo blood probably doesn't hurt).
Cozy Catastrophe - According to the second film's Opening Monologue, World War III began shortly after the first film, only semi-nuclear, destroying only what was left of modern industrial infrastructure, and people using up resources that they can't replace - mostly by fighting over the resources. The third is solidly After the End, 19 years in fact. RetConned years later, however, as the war happening between the second and third movies (which could be handwaved as poor memory for the Nostalgic Narrator), and society simply went to hell between the first and second movies.
Deliberate Values Dissonance: In Beyond Thunderdome, at least one of the girls (one among those who left the oasis) is indicated to be pregnant, and a number of the children at the oasis look a little bit too young to have been among the original survivors. Not much later, near the end, we see their still-teenaged leader holding a little baby in her lap and several other children holding babies as well. There's pretty much only one way their population could have increased this way. Of course, since their parents are gone (and probably dead) and it's basically up to them to repopulate the world, there's no social stigma associated with these youngsters having kids at their age.
The bikers in the first movie have distinctly homoerotic overtones, but still find time to stalk Max's wife, and are strongly implied to have gang-raped both a man and a woman whose car they assaulted.
Some of the villainous gang in the second movie were also shown raping women, though Wez in particular had an androgynous guy riding with him who was implied to be more than just a friend, and they all were dressed in BDSM-style homoerotic clothing (cheekless pants, black leather galore, lots of chains and studs, leather facial masks, etc.).
In the third movie, a lot of the bad guys are still wearing that BDSM-style clothing, and when Max claims to the manager at the trading post (who's just concluded a deal with a trapper for a night in the sack with a real woman in exchange for an animal pelt) that he's got skills to trade, the manager replies "The brothels are full."
Max himself after the bikers attack his family. It takes him up until towards the end of Mad Max 2 to regain some of his humanity.
It's heavily implied that, similar to Max, Humungus was a victim of this and chose to be bad; witness his "We have all lost someone we love" speech and the picture of himself and his wife (or, possibly his parents) that he keeps with his gun. Humungus was originally going to be Goose from the first film, having gone over to the dark side, but this was cut out of the finished script.
Development Hell: Fury Road has been planned for years. Filming finally began in July 2012, and ended in December.
Eat The Dog: The Gyro Captain in the second film raises snakes as a food source as well as guards for his vehicle.
Even Evil Has Standards: In the first film, Bubba Zanetti regards Johnny the Boy with disdain for being a drug-addicted little weasel who is implied to only be kept around as Toecutter's male lover. Meanwhile, Johnny freaks out and tries to refuse when Toecutter attempts to make him burn Goose alive in his crashed car.
Failure Is the Only Option / Pyrrhic Victory: At the end of each movie, Max has won the fight but lost everything he had. To really salt the wounds, in the second and third movie Max is left in the dirt while the people he's assisted go on to better lives. Whatever pleasure Max takes from helping others is left up to the viewer.
In a World: The original trailers played this trope straight
Incessant Music Madness: In Beyond Thunderdome, some of the kids have run off. The other kids are showing Max which direction they went, and are chanting a lament in the background. Eventually, Max yells, "Stop the noise, STOP THE NOISE!"
Lighter and Softer: Before you say Beyond Thunderdome, Mad Max 2 is this to the terminally grim Mad Max.
Loud of War: Max uses a dog whistle to defeat Blaster in the Thunderdome arena.
Locked into Strangeness: Over the course of the last two films, Max's sideburns become increasingly faded, presumably from the horrors he has witnessed or the great stress he is always under to survive. What with the apocalypse and all...
Pappagallo: What is it with you, huh? What are you looking for? C'mon, Max, everybody's looking for something. You're happy out there, are you? Eh? Wandering? One day blurring into another? You're a scavenger, Max. You're a maggot. Did you know that? You're living off the corpse of the old world. Tell me your story, Max. C'mon. Tell me your story. What burned you out, huh? Kill one man too many? See too many people die? Lose some family?
Pappagallo: Oh, so that's it, you lost your family? That makes you something special, does it? Do you think you're the only one that's suffered? We've all been through it in here. But we haven't given up. We're still human beings, with dignity. But you? You're out there with the garbage. You're nothing.
A split-second shot of Nightrider's bugged-out eyes as his car careens into an obstruction is an unusually disturbing example.
The Toecutter has time to rip off his goggles to reveal a similar look before being hit by a truck.
Only a Flesh Wound: Averted, and how! Max get shot in the leg in first film, rendering him into limping for rest of the series.
Peekaboo Corpse: Subverted in the second film, as Max doesn't even blink when the crashed semi's long-dead driver falls out of the cab.
Pop the Tires: In The Road Warrior, Wez shoots his wrist-mounted crossbow at the tires of the Mack truck supposedly carrying the precious fuel. Since it's such a huge and powerful vehicle, it doesn't accomplish much, and the truck keeps on going despite the flattened tires.
The Promised Land: In Mad Max 2, the villagers are trying to locate their own promised land. The kids in Beyond Thunderdome believe that Max is Captain Walker, who will rescue them and take them to Tomorrow-morrow Land, which also counts.
Ripped from the Headlines: George Miller has stated that the physical injuries he observed during his stint as a medical doctor would look more plausible if set in a post-apocalyptic setting. And co-writer James McCausland was inspired by his observations of the 1973 oil crisis on Australian motorists, who would resort to violence towards anyone who tried to jump the petrol queues.
Sacred Scripture: Not a paper book, but the tribe of children from Beyond Thunderdome paid comparable homage to a collection of photos they could examine with an old toy slide-viewer. When someone showed them how to work an old phonograph record, they repeated its words as if they, too, were sacred.
Sadistic Choice: Forcing Johnny to pick between sawing the handcuffs, which would take ten minutes, or sawing off his foot, which would take five. Reportedly inspired Saw.
Same Language Dub: The first movie was dubbed with American voice actors for the initial U.S. release, as the original actors' Australian accents were deemed too thick. Even Mel (who's American-born and moved to Australia as a teenager) re-recorded his lines in an American accent.
Sawed Off Shotgun: Max's signature weapon. The original script reveals he made it by modifying one of MFP's VG Bently shotguns.
Two Part Trilogy: The Road Warrior and Beyond Thunderdome are almost completely different from the first Mad Max film, to the point where the sequels are rarely ever labelled Mad Max 2 or 3, and if collectors edition of the trilogy are made, only the last two movies are included.
Weapon For Intimidation: Max's shotgun for most of the second movie. He uses it to bluff Wez into retreating at the start of the movie and rigs it up to keep the Gyro Captain captured. It's only when he searches some of the bodies by the autogyro and finds a single shotgun shell that we discover that the gun has been empty all along.
What Could Have Been: In Mad Max 2, it was originally going to be revealed near the end of the film that Lord Humungus was in fact Max's old Main Force Patrol partner Jim Goose, who was horribly burned (but not confirmed to be dead) in the first movie. While this didn't make it into the film, some elements of the final product might be leftover hints:
Humungus' scoped pistol is a very similar weapon to the standard sidearm used by the MFP (albeit a different model)*
for the record, MFP's issue weapon is a Smith and Wesson Model 28, the utility version of the Model 27, the first .357 Magnum revolver. Humungus uses a .44 Magnum Model 29.
, and other members of his pack use modified police patrol vehicles.
He appears to have terrible burn scars underneath his mask, as evidenced by the back of his head, though the rest of his body is completely unblemished.
His speeches about losing the people you care about and "ending the suffering" seem to hint at a more conflicted and tragic personality.
Mel Gibson got the part in the first movie because the night before he'd been in a bar fight and only showed up at the casting because he was supporting his friend who was auditioning. He was so beat up that when he came back a few weeks later, they almost didn't recognize him.
Once Max quits the force around halfway through the first movie, Fifi, Roop and Charlie are never seen again. Their absence may be explained by a Deleted Scene cited on the Mad Max Movies page. One scene claims that Fifi, Roop, and Charlie get killed in an attack by the bikers on the MFP headquarters. However, this footage has yet to be found.
Contrary to popular belief, Max's wife doesn't die in the first film. If you listen to the medical staff talking during Max's Heroic BSOD, the male doctor says that she'll probably survive and advises a nurse to tell Max that his wife will be alright. Because we never see her after the attack and the film ends immediately after Max goes on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge, her fate is left uncertain. She's certainly dead by the sequel, however.
Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: All MFP officers carry a S&W .357 Model 28 revolver at all times. This could have been very useful to Max when he dropped his shotgun while facing the bike gang.
Then again, his main hand has just been crushed and hitting someone with a shotgun is a lot easier (especially with your off hand) than with a revolver.
You Look Familiar: Bruce Spence plays the Gyro Captain in Mad Max 2, and plays Jedediah in Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome. While both characters fly airborne vehicles, they are not actually the same person — especially as the Gyro Captain ends up becoming the leader of the Great Northern Tribe.
Considering Max's Interceptor is miraculously resurrected - as well as the Great Northern Tribe's mechanic (who is also no longer lame) in Beyond Thunderdome, it could be an alternate universe.
Word Of God made it official that the Gyro Captain and Jebediah are NOT one and the same.
You No Take Candle: The tribe of children had only partial educations from their shellshocked parents before being abandoned. Their limited vocabulary, in spite of their intelligence, is an uncomfortable reminder to Max how much the world is still losing.
Master also speaks like this, but it's heavily implied to be a subversion — he's highly intelligent, but talks down to everyone, partly for Blaster's benefit.