- Alternate Character Interpretation: Is Lord Humungus genuine in his attempt to get the refinery settlers to walk away or was he lying? This is actually discussed in universe as there is a division amongst the settlers as to what to do until Max offers to bring them a truck. Papagallo does note it's irrelevent, retorting "Go where?"
- Anti-Climax Boss: Lord Humungus, as he and Max are never directly face-to-face at any point until Max smashes into his vehicle with the tanker truck.
- Awesome Music: The music for the opening narration is both bleak and stirring at the same time.
- Even Better Sequel: The first was impressive for a low-budget action film to come out of Australia, though by today's standards is rather slow-paced and tedious (despite some excellent auto-stunts). The second film practically popularized the Scavenger World and The Apunkalypse in film, filled with balls to the wall action and was the best remembered film in the series until Fury Road (itself a loose remake of this film) 30+ years later.
- Fanon: There's a growing movement that believes that Max from Fury Road is the Feral Kid from Road Warrior. Jossed by George Miller.
- Foe Yay: Wez seems to develop something of an obsession with Max after Max fends him off during the opening chase. The line "YOU! You can run, but you can't hide!" could be interpreted in a certain way.
- Franchise Original Sin: Complaints of Max taking a secondary role and advancing someone else's story began in Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome and were a major complaint from detractors of Mad Max: Fury Road. Nobody seems to complain about it in Road Warrior, where Max has even less to do with the plan.
- Harsher in Hindsight: All the talk of Max driving the tanker takes on a much darker tone when we learn that the tanker is full of sand. The townsfolk are clearly in on the plan so they are recruiting him for what was probably seen as a suicide mission. This is reinforced by the concern shown for Papagallo when he announced that he would drive the tanker.
- Ho Yay: No, not Wez and Golden Boy — that's almost text. The way Lord Humungous calms Wez down after the Boy's death is downright tender, in a BDSM/wrestler way.
- Magnificent Bastard: The eloquent Lord Humungus is 'the warrior of the Wasteland' and 'The Ayatollah of Rock'n'Rollah' who relentlessly scourges settlements in search of gasoline. A mastermind, the Lord Humungus causes the overthrow of his enemies and repeatedly outdoes them, even using misdirection like offering the settlement safe passage and a peace if they surrender the gasoline-only to reveal to his right hand man Wez he plans to allow Wez to take his revenge for his lover's death as soon as they have what they want. The Lord Humungus also relies on intimidation tactics and shows himself to be shockingly well spoken, being the deadliest enemy in the Wasteland Max has to fight.
- Memetic Mutation:
- Humungus saying "Just walk away" is rather popular on message boards as advice for avoiding flame wars.
- "Two days ago, I saw a vehicle that'd haul that tanker. You wanna get outta here? You talk to me." Max's most famous piece of dialogue from the film, probably because it's the longest line he gets.
- "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny: The film's cinematography (particularly the wide-angle shots of the desert), sparse dialogue, and (at the time) unique, creative costuming were all highly praised when it first came out. Flash forward 30-something years and the film has been imitated so much that a lot of the once-unique elements seem run-of-the-mill at best and parodic at worst to a modern viewer.
- Weirdly enough, the movie's own sequel contributes to this effect—Fury Road uses similar cinematography, but pushes all the shots Up to Eleven with bright coloring and massive sets, has even less dialogue (George Miller apparently even edited a version with no dialogue at all), and while some elements of the "bondage gear" villain costumes are still present, they're pretty downplayed compared to the Humungus and limited to just one group of non-main villains (the People Eater and his Gas Town war party), though still unique compared to almost any contemporary Hollywood films. It's pretty jarring to watch the two movies side-by-side and see just how much of Fury Road is essentially The Road Warrior updated to account for modern Hollywood standards of cinematography, writing, and costume design.
- Signature Scene: The climactic car chase.
- Spiritual Adaptation:
- The board game Thunder Road (1986) "The ram and wreck survival game" is about driving through the post-apocalyptic desert and fighting with the other drivers. Every vehicle in the game — up to and including the helicopter — is an Expy of something from this movie.
- In the same vein, Gorkamorka is about leading your tribe of crazed, violent, speed-obsessed raiders in vehicular combat against other such tribes on a radioactive desert world, albeit as Orks in the Warhammer 40,000 universe. Indeed, most of the Ork's entire technological aesthetic and design philosophy in Warhammer 40,000 comes straight out of this film.
- Spiritual Sequel: The Fallout series owes much of its flavor to this movie in particular.
- Values Dissonance: One of the most prominent villains is a Depraved Homosexual in leather bondage gear, whose effeminate-looking boyfriend is brutally killed by one of the protagonists for no reason. While Wez does seem genuinely grief-stricken, the whole thing is still pretty cringeworthy nowadays, to say the least. Though according to the director Golden Boy wasn't Wez's lover, he was his adopted son/little brother. Which makes Wez's reaction something else altogether. Although being close (in both proximity and emotionally) to the lieutenant of a besieging force is a valid reason. Even if they were lovers, it does humanize Wez and makes his motivations personal.
YMMV / Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior