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form Mad Max series - author   film/TV   science fiction  
Issue Details: First known date: 1979... 1979 Mad Max
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form y separately published work icon Mad Max James McCausland , George Miller , Australia : Kennedy Miller Entertainment , 1979 Z1040124 1979 single work film/TV science fiction (taught in 5 units)

In a post-apocalyptic Australia, law and order has begun to break down due to energy shortages, despite the efforts of Main Force Patrol (MFP) officers like Max Rockatansky. After Rockatansky encounters Toecutter's motorcycle gang, who are running runshod over isolated communities, he grows disillusioned with his role in the MFP. At first convinced by his superior officer not to resign, he is driven into a state of cold-blooded revenge when Toecutter's gang murder his wife and young son.

form y separately published work icon Mad Max 2 : The Road Warrior Terry Hayes , George Miller , Brian Hannant , Australia : Kennedy Miller Entertainment , 1981 Z988552 1981 single work film/TV science fiction (taught in 4 units)

In this sequel to the original Mad Max, Max finds himself involved with a small group of settlers who live around a small working oil refinery, producing that most precious of products in a post-apocalyptic society: petrol.

form y separately published work icon Mad Max : Beyond Thunderdome Terry Hayes , George Miller , Australia : Kennedy Miller Entertainment , 1985 Z1040130 1985 single work film/TV science fiction

Some fifteen years after the events of Mad Max 2, when civilisation has been all but destroyed by the nuclear war, former policeman Max continues to roam the Australian desert, this time in a camel-drawn vehicle. When father-and-son thieves Jebediah Senior and Junior use their jury-rigged airplane to steal his possessions and his means of transportation, Max makes his way to Bartertown. A cesspool of post-apocalyptic capitalism powered by methane-rich pig manure, Bartertown is ruled by two competing overlords: Aunty Entity and Master (who rides around on the back of his hulking underling, Blaster). Seeking to re-equip himself, Max strikes a deal with the haughty Aunty to kill Blaster in ritualised combat inside Thunderdome, a giant jungle gym where Bartertown's conflicts are played out in a postmodern update of bread and circuses. Although Max manages to fell the mighty Blaster, he refuses to kill him after realising Blaster has a developmental disability. Aunty's henchmen murder Blaster anyway, and then punish Max for violating the law of Thunderdome: 'two men enter, one man leaves.' Lashed to the back of a hapless pack animal and sent out into a sandstorm to die, Max is rescued by a band of tribal children and teens. The descendants of the victims of an airplane crash, the kids inhabit a lush valley and wait for the day when Captain Walker, the plane's pilot, will return to lead them back to civilisation. Some of the children refuse to believe that the glorious cities of their mythology no longer exist, and set off in search of civilisation on their own. Max and three tribe members subsequently set out to rescue them from Bartertown and Aunty Entity.

form y separately published work icon Mad Max : Fury Road Mad Max 4 George Miller , Australia : Kennedy Miller Entertainment , 2015 Z1864561 2015 single work film/TV science fiction

Despite post-dating the third film in the series by some thirty years, this instalment is said to fit in the timeline somewhere between films one and two.

Max Rockatansky, trapped in the citadel of warlord Immortan Joe, crosses paths with Imperator Furiosa, who is on a mission to free Joe's enslaved 'brides' and take them to the Green Place, the Land of Many Mothers.

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

Works about this Work

'Who Killed the World?' Religious Paradox in Mad Max : Fury Road Bonnie McLean , 2017 single work criticism
— Appears in: Science Fiction Film and Television , vol. 10 no. 3 2017; (p. 371-390)

'By framing salvation - both of the self and of Earth - through childbirth and Earth cultivation, Miller suggests that no such redemption is possible. Because human consumption and apocalyptic disaster have produced this population crisis, bearing more children will only heighten the tension between the people and their Earth. (74) Before entrepreneurs appropriated the land, women were considered to have been 'closer' to the Earth than men by their mere proximity to it on a daily basis, as well as their trust in nature to provide food, succour and income. [...]ecofeminists explain that privatisation of the land - especially in third-world countries - is seen as a direct assault on women's bodies, because women are seen as being both more responsive and more nurturing of nature/5 Women delegated to subordinate roles that make them subservient to men and not the Earth thereby find themselves unable to effect the necessary social changes that preserve their environment and society/6 Within a religious context, then, ecofeminism highlights the ways in which spirituality, the Earth and humankind's fate are impacted by dystopian disasters. Ecofeminism highlights the problems of gender inequity and damage wrought to the Earth, but it attempts to head off the 'if this goes on' scenario that Booker describes as typifying dystopian literature/8 Fury Road demonstrates that unchecked environmental crisis leads to death and destruction that cannot be undone even by the best theories and practices of equality and preservation. [...]Miller's contrast of ecofeminist principles demonstrates that no matter how mindful the spiritual practice, even the best intentions cannot undo the irreversible damage that kills the Earth and its inhabitants. Just as Miller criticises Immortan Joe's patriarchal religious practice for its inability to transcend a painful death brought on by suffering in a ravaged Earth, he also suggests that death and destruction will similarly plague the Vuvalini and their matriarchal faith. Because ecofeminism is dependent on gender parity to restore balance, the death of both women and men leaves the film's supposedly happy ending in question.40 While Furiosa, the wives, Max and Nux seek the Green Place, their roles are equal.' (Publication abstract) 

The American Mad Max : The Road Warrior Versus the Postman John Hay , 2017 single work criticism
— Appears in: Science Fiction Film and Television , vol. 10 no. 3 2017; (p. 307-327)

'An event known as 'Wasteland Weekend', held annually in the Southern California desert since 2010 and billed as 'the world's largest post-apocalyptic festival', allows attendees to 'live for four days in a world pulled straight out of the Mad Max movies and other post-apocalyptic films and games, beyond the grip of so-called civilization? Because it resonated so deeply throughout American culture, The Road Warrior powerfully affected depictions of convincing post-catastrophe scenarios. [...]Brin's novel undermines the very concept of a super-powerful (male) saviour to whom a community would owe its survival. The familial ethos is drowned in the awesome spectacle of individual heroic carnage. [...]in spite of Miller's narrative intentions, the Max that achieved nearly ubiquitous cultural acclaim was a tough, clever, resourceful mercenary, not an administrative middleman. [...]while the Postman occasionally tips his cap to the Road Warrior, Costner's nutty folksiness and clunky dialogue, exhibiting neither economy nor eloquence, betrays his unsuitability as a heroic saviour.'  (Publication abstract)

Mad Max : Between Apocalypse and Utopia Dan Hassler-Forest , 2017 single work criticism
— Appears in: Science Fiction Film and Television , vol. 10 no. 3 2017; (p. 301-306)

'Considering the vaguely punk 'rags 'n leather' aesthetic that has flourished in the sequels, it is always surprising to find how the breakout Aussie hit that started the franchise is only minimally science-fictional: for US grindhouse audiences - viewing the film in a rather hilariously dubbed American release version - it was surely the spectacle of lawless motorcycle gangs ruling over backwater towns surrounded by the unfathomable emptiness of outback roads that made it seem futuristic. [...]the gratuitous murder of his wife and infant child transforms Max from stoic cop to vindictive vigilante, hunting down and sadistically killing the individual gang members who conveniently combine societal collapse and Max's personal loss. [...]in spite of its sometimesuncomfortable homophobia and the striking erasure of native Australians, the franchise-defining sequels also rid themselves largely of the 1979 Mad Max's deeply reactionary sensibility: rather than depicting a dystopian world spiraling off into worsening degrees of chaos and lawlessness, the later films delight in the creative mayhem that results from the absence of a single hegemonic set of social relations. [...]while the nihilistic original film gives us a thoroughly nasty dystopia of uncontrollable social decay, its three successors (thus far) combine dystopian nightmares with a variety of stubborn and remarkably resilient utopian imaginaries. [...]that mirrors both the reception and the history of scholarly interest in Mad Max, the first film is once again the odd one out - bereft as it is of utopian impulses beyond its fully apocalyptic politics. [...]in her essay '"Who killed the world?" Religious paradox in Mad Max: Fury Road', Bonnie McLean navigates the slippery relationship between gender and religion in the film's post-apocalyptic society, focusing on the productive ways in which it offers productive alternatives while also condemning its corrosive patriarchal hierarchies. [...]without denying or 'misunderestimating' the franchise's ambivalent politics or its many internal contradictions, this quartet of essays reads Mad Max's barbaric post-apocalypse against the grain as a powerful expression of hope.'  (Publication abstract)

Can ‘cli-fi’ Actually Make a Difference? A Climate Scientist’s Perspective Sarah Perkins-Kirkpartrick , 2017 single work essay
— Appears in: The Conversation , 6 September 2017;

'Climate change - or global warming - is a term we are all familiar with. The warming of the Earth’s atmosphere due to the consumption of fossil fuels by human activity was predicted in the 19th century. It can be seen in the increase in global temperature from the industrial revolution onwards, and has been a central political issue for decades. 

'Climate scientists who moonlight as communicators tend to bombard their audiences with facts and figures - to convince them how rapidly our planet is warming - and scientific evidence demonstrating why we are to blame. A classic example is Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth, and its sequel, which are loaded with graphs and statistics. However, it is becoming ever clearer that these methods don’t work as well as we’d like. In fact, more often than not, we are preaching to the converted, and can further polarise those who accept the science from those who don’t.

'One way of potentially tapping into previously unreached audiences is via cli-fi, or climate-fiction. Cli-fi explores how the world may look in the process or aftermath of dealing with climate change, and not just that caused by burning fossil fuels.' (Introduction)

y separately published work icon Miller and Max : George Miller and the Making of a Film Legend Luke Buckmaster , Richmond : Hardie Grant Books , 2017 11644960 2017 single work biography

Miller and Max is the story of two heroes. One, a leather jacket-clad road warrior whose adventures in a dystopian future have made an indelible imprint on global popular culture. The other, the artist who created him: a softly spoken son of Greek and Turkish migrants, whose life charters a spectacular course from a tiny Queensland town to the highest echelons of Hollywood. In a sense the two men's personalities could not be more different. Max Rockatansky is ravaged by personal demons and intolerant of others: an impetuous, bitter, violent loner. George Miller is patient, collaborative and perfectionist: a filmmaker with big visions and slow, meticulous turn around times. Also, a qualified doctor with experience working in hospital emergency wards.

'George Miller would make his first film, Mad Max in 1976 after raising $300,000 from family and friends and hiring a no-name actor, Mel Gibson. Some of his team would be paid in slabs of beer. Edited in his kitchen at home, the film would go on to gross more than $100 million worldwide and become the most profitable film ever made, a title it kept for over two decades. Miller would go on to make three more Mad Max films over three and half decades culminating in Fury Road in 2015, which against all odds wins a record breaking six Academy Awards, the largest haul of an Australian film in history. In between times with both success and failure in Hollywood from Babe to Happy Feet and more, Miller's quiet determination and audacious film making is never more apparent than in the Mad Max universe. 

'Written with the cooperation of a role call of cast, crew, family and associates, Miller and Max gets behind the scenes and on set, as well as behind Miller's sensible-sounding camouflage to reveal what's really inside the man  — which is more than a little Max Rockatansky. Both forces seem to come out of nowhere; both remain to this day huge forces in the zeitgeist and are truly heroes of our time.' (Publication summary)

Hell for Leather for a Cult Hero Adrian Martin , 2003 extract criticism (The Mad Max Movies)
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 14-15 June 2003; (p. 10-11)
On the Beach, Until the End of the World Peter Hutchings , 1997 single work criticism
— Appears in: Australia and Asia : Cultural Transactions 1997; (p. 20-32)
Tribute to the Max Eddie Cockrell , 2011 single work column
— Appears in: The Weekend Australian , 10-11 December 2011; (p. 18-19)
'Eddie Cockrell meets a fan so in thrall to Mel Gibson’s outsider he built a museum — at home' (p.18).
An Apocalyptic Map : New Worlds and the Colonization of Australia Roslyn Weaver , 2011 single work criticism
— Appears in: Apocalypse in Australian Fiction and Film : A Critical Study 2011; (p. 23-53)
'This chapter examines the map that preceded, and eventually superseded, the territory of Australia, in order to demonstrate that early maps of the south land established an apocalyptic tradition that still resonates in contemporary fictions. If one reinterprets Jean Baudrillard's comments in the context of colonization and Australia, it is possible to see how European imagination delineated an apocalyptic map of the country before explorers and settlers even arrived, a map that located Australia as a tabula rasa, a blank slate where heaven and hell might equally be feasible. This chapter surveys the dialectic emerging from these confliction visions.' (24)
An Apocalyptic Landscape : The Mad Max Films Roslyn Weaver , 2011 single work criticism
— Appears in: Apocalypse in Australian Fiction and Film : A Critical Study 2011; (p. 83-107)
In this chapter Roslyn Weaver explores 'the three Mad Max films to consider their contribution to the apocalyptic tradition. In these texts, the outback is 'the nothing,' a threatening place that is hostile to humans. The trilogy reveals future disaster and appears to envisage a better new world, but then subverts apocalyptic hope by suggesting the new world is a false ideal because it only exists far from the Australian landscape and even then only exists far from the Australian landscape and even then only in ruined, decayed form. The repeated dismissals of hope and the negative image of the Australian landscape undercut any security of feeling at home, presenting instead a picture of exile and punishment in the desert.' (83)
Last amended 1 Jun 2012 09:50:19
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