The Mad Max movie franchise, first created by George Miller and Byron Kennedy in 1979 with the initial movie of the same name, became a media sensation. The film series is set in post-apocalyptic Australia and follows the titular character Max Rockatansky (portrayed by Mel Gibson in 3 films) into action-packed adventures.
Later on, Tom Hardy took over as Max for 2015’s fourth installment – “Mad Max: Fury Road.”
The series chronicles the thrilling escapades of Rockatansky, a police officer in a dystopian Australia facing social disintegration due to war and depleting resources. Grief-stricken and enraged by the biker gang’s murder of his wife and child, Max embarks on a quest for vengeance.
As Australia rapidly plunges into barbarity with each passing day, he finds himself assisting small pockets of civilization – initially driven by self-interest but eventually out of compassion. Alone in the Wasteland, Max is determined to make that responsible pay for their heinous deed.
Critics have widely praised the Mad Max series, and each movie has earned a “Certified Fresh” label from major film review outlets. Among these films, “Mad Max 2” and “Fury Road” have been heralded as some of the most incredible action movies ever produced.
Mad Max Movie Series in Chronological Order
- Mad Max (1979)
- Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (1981)
- Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985)
- Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)
- Mad Max: The Wasteland
Mad Max (1979)
George Miller and Byron Kennedy’s groundbreaking 1979 dystopian action movie, “Mad Max,” kickstarted the incredible franchise we know today. The first movie in the series entranced viewers worldwide with its unique blend of intense action sequences and thought-provoking themes.
The renowned actor Mel Gibson takes the lead role in “Mad” Max Rockatansky, a policeman-turned-vigilante standing against a vicious biker gang and the chaotic state of Australia’s dystopian future. Joanne Samuel, Hugh Keays-Byrne, Steve Bisley, Tim Burns, and Roger Ward are also part of this heroic cast.
When it premiered in April 1979, the film was met with mixed reviews; despite this, it won four AACTA Awards. The film was produced on a shoestring budget of $27,6760; its gross revenue quickly soared beyond US$100 million worldwide and thus set an impressive Guinness record for being the most profitable movie ever made.
If you want to watch the Mad Max series, this is the film you should start with.
Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (1981)
After two years, “Mad Max 2”, known as The Road Warrior in the United States, was released to audiences. Directed by George Miller and starring Mel Gibson, reprising his role as “Mad” Max Rockatansky, this 1981 Australian post-apocalyptic action film is only the beginning of a series that would soon become iconic within the genre.
The film’s narrative of settlers who rise to confront a gang of marauders follows the idealistic “Western” movie motif, and Max’s character as an austere man whose choice to assist the settlers helps him find his humanity again.
It was a big hit at the box office, and its post-apocalyptic look, combined with punk influences, made it one of the most popular films in this genre. At the 10th Saturn Awards, it earned Best International Film honors and was nominated for five other awards. With only A$4.5 million to make it happen, this movie’s success brought US$36 million back into the coffers!
It is one of the best movies in the mad max films, and if you’re looking to watch the series, this is one you shouldn’t miss.
Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985)
The Mad Max franchise began with the release of 1979’s Mad Max, followed by 1981’s Mad Max 2. This third installment marked Mel Gibson’s last time playing protagonist Max Rockatansky and was a critical success.
After over thirty years, director George Miller resurrected the series in 2015 with Mad Max: Fury Road — this iteration starring Tom Hardy as its star character.
In this part, Mel Gibson and Tina Turner star in a remarkable story of an outcast banished to the desert, only to stumble upon an isolated child cargo cult worshipping a crashed Boeing 747 and its dead pilot.
However, the film was successful but brought in a different kind of success in revenue at the box office. The film only collected $36 million against its budget of $10 million.
But still, If you are a fan of apocalyptic action films, then you should watch mad max movies in order.
Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)
“Mad Max: Fury Road” is the final part of the four mad max movies; for this installment, Miller worked alongside Brendan McCarthy and Nico Lathouris to bring the fourth installment of the Mad Max franchise to life onscreen.
The cast includes the film’s award-winning actors Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron star, joined by Nicholas Hoult, Hugh Keays-Byrne, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, and others.
The film is set in a post-apocalyptic wasteland where gas and water are nearly unheard of; Max Rockatansky unites forces with Imperator Furiosa to take on the oppressive Immortan Joe. The journey eventually culminates in an intense highway showdown that will decide their fate! With stakes this high, it’s sure to be one epic fight you won’t want to miss!
To the world’s amazement, it grossed a whopping $415.2 million at the worldwide box office – making it the most successful Mad Max film to date!
The film was overwhelmingly acclaimed by critics, commending its direction, writing, action sequences, musical score, technological aspects, and the performances of Hardy and Theron.
During the 88th Academy Awards, ten esteemed nominations were given to this film, including Best Picture and Best Director awards, eventually winning six Oscars for Best Film Editing, Best Production Design, Best Costume Design, and various other honors.
Mad Max: The Wasteland
Following the grand success of “Mad Max: Fury Road,” George Miller announced plans for a sequel to be titled “Mad Max: The Wasteland.” Led by Tom Hardy’s character, Max Rockatansky, this new film was intended to build on its predecessor. Mark Sexton, co-writer of Fury Road, stated the film will focus primarily on Max and will be incredibly somber.
Mad Max’s V8 Interceptor is expected to make an appearance in the movie. While Furiosa won’t be seen in “Mad Max: The Wasteland,” Max is expected to make an appearance in the planned Furiosa prequel/sequel movie.
Nevertheless, given the lack of updates lately regarding the project and the absence of casting news has sparked conversations about whether Hardy’s “Mad Max: The Wasteland” will turn into reality or not.
In 2022, Miller was finally able to reassure fans with a hopeful update; he conveyed that “We do have another story, but it’s still not fully evolved. We’ll see further down the chain.”
Although, there wasn’t much movement in terms of progress since Mad Max 5 was first teased. The script had already been mostly completed by then, so it’s nice to know that Miller hasn’t abandoned this ambitious project.
In any case, depending on the facts presented relating to “Mad Max: The Wasteland,” it should take place immediately after Fury Road; Hardy will remain believable as a thirty-something Max if this is true. Furthermore, Charlize Theron’s iconic Furiosa ought to also return in the sequel.
Anya Taylor-Joy’s prequel only adds more depth and understanding of her character while we wait for the much-anticipated film release. To summarise, “Mad Max: Fury Road” and its franchise isn’t done yet — there are still plenty of creative opportunities within their timeline that can be explored!
FAQ about Mad Max (Film Series)
Are all Mad Max movies connected?
Miller crafted the movies to work separately but also created a cohesive narrative. Max’s evolution and possession of his beloved Interceptor at the start of Fury Road suggests that this installment is more akin to a reboot than a direct sequel to Miller’s original trilogy.
Is Fury Road a sequel to Thunderdome?
Yes, according to the Mad Max comic series, Fury Road happens after Beyond Thunderdome.
Does “Mad Max: The Wasteland” have an official release date?
Currently, the sequel to “Mad Max: Fury Road” has no official release date. There are a few projections of when the next Mad Max film should be released.
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