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Mad Max (1979)

tomatometer

95

Average Rating: 7.7/10
Reviews Counted: 43
Fresh: 41 | Rotten: 2

Staging the improbable car stunts and crashes to perfection, director George Miller succeeds completely in bringing the violent, post-apocalyptic world of Mad Max to visceral life.

80

Average Rating: 6.4/10
Critic Reviews: 5
Fresh: 4 | Rotten: 1

Staging the improbable car stunts and crashes to perfection, director George Miller succeeds completely in bringing the violent, post-apocalyptic world of Mad Max to visceral life.

audience

71

liked it
Average Rating: 3.4/5
User Ratings: 136,628

My Rating

Movie Info

This stunning, post-apocalyptic action thriller from director George Miller stars Mel Gibson as Max Rockatansky, a policeman in the near future who is tired of his job. Since the apocalypse, the lengthy, desolate stretches of highway in the Australian outback have become bloodstained battlegrounds. Max has seen too many innocents and fellow officers murdered by the bomb's savage offspring, bestial marauding bikers for whom killing, rape, and looting is a way of life. He just wants to retire and

Nov 19, 1997

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All Critics (43) | Top Critics (5) | Fresh (41) | Rotten (2) | DVD (39)

Overnight, Mad Max went from being a U.S. cult hero to a mainstream figure, and Mel Gibson's place in the firmament was secured.

May 30, 2007 Full Review Source: ReelViews
ReelViews
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Stunts themselves would be nothing without a filmmaker behind the camera and George Miller, a doctor and film buff making his first feature, shows he knows what cinema is all about.

May 30, 2007 Full Review Source: Variety
Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Some of the most determinedly formalist filmmaking this side of Michael Snow.

May 30, 2007 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The tone sometimes wavers into self-parody, and there are occasional crude patches, but overall this edge-of-seat revenge movie marks the most exciting debut from an Australian director since Peter Weir.

June 24, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Mad Max is ugly and incoherent, and aimed, probably accurately, at the most uncritical of moviegoers.

May 21, 2003 | Comments (11)
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Beyond the explosive nature of the road movie, Mad Max also works as a character piece.

January 18, 2014 Full Review Source: 7M Pictures
7M Pictures

Announcing a new kind of action-thriller, this impressively shot, ultra violent post-apocalyptic saga from Australia made Mel Gibson an instant star.

February 8, 2013 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com
EmanuelLevy.Com

Mel Gibson rules the road in the original Mad Max.

March 29, 2012 Full Review Source: Three Movie Buffs
Three Movie Buffs

Perhaps a bit clumsy in the lumbering middle act, but Mad Max delivers the goods when it comes to pulse-pounding car chases and stunts.

November 2, 2010 Full Review Source: IGN DVD
IGN DVD

Despite its budget and other shortcomings, Mad Max is still worth watching and worth adding to the post-apocalyptic section of your home video collection.

October 30, 2010 Full Review Source: Movie Metropolis
Movie Metropolis

Like all of the best exploitation films, it transcends its limitations while simultaneously embracing them.

October 6, 2010 Full Review Source: Sci-Fi Movie Page
Sci-Fi Movie Page

The greatest example of Ozploitation movies, George Miller's 1979 "Mad Max" is a pure cinematic anomaly.

September 5, 2010 Full Review Source: ColeSmithey.com
ColeSmithey.com

This is brutal, exciting stuff, all the more impressive for its budget constraints.

May 6, 2008 Full Review Source: Film4
Film4

Classic cult fun made famous by director Miller and then new star Gibson.

August 3, 2007
Video-Reviewmaster.com

The stunt work is spectacular.

July 4, 2007 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews | Comments (4)
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Simple, but effective.

May 30, 2007 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

Australia exported this creative, original, exciting, low-budget genre landmark which gave the young Mel Gibson his first starring role.

May 30, 2007 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

This was a great movie!

August 4, 2006 Full Review Source: JoBlo's Movie Emporium
JoBlo's Movie Emporium

Though director George Miller took the post-apocalyptic tough guy Max a lot farther in the sequel The Road Warrior, Mad Max still packs in Miller's particular brand of black-comedy thrills.

May 26, 2006 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

Encompasses the essence of the sexy revenge flick.

July 8, 2005
▄berCinÚ

Cult low-budgeter that benefits from Miller's direction and Gibson's then lack of self-importance.

July 19, 2004
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

Audience Reviews for Mad Max

The now seminal dystopian semi futuristic Aussie vehicle based action thriller that brought Gibson into the limelight and gave us a damn good franchise to boot.

This story has now been rehashed many times over right down to the last detail, we all know it. 'Max' is a leather bound cop in Oz who takes down nutters in his souped up Ford Falcon with the aid of his other fellow leather bound cops. A gang of makeup wearing bikers invade the territory tearing it up and eventually killing Max's wife, child and partner. Of course this means all out bloody war and revenge for Rockatansky (seriously what is with that name?!).

A simple premise but at the time the whole visual approach of the film was quite fresh and exciting. Plus the fact it came from the relatively unknown country of Australia made it even more intriguing. Didn't really know much about Australia when I was a kid (during the 80's it was all American culture), certainly didn't see anything on TV from that region so this film felt really new and different when I first saw it (apart from the odd Paul Hogan flick). The film mainly deals with Max's peaceful life with his family and how society has broken down due to oil shortages. Actually somewhat slow for the most part, the start and finale are the high points.

The film kicks off with blistering pace as we get some fantastic car action from the now cult vehicles. Much like Japanese super saloons the cars aren't the prettiest to look at but they've got it where it counts. Great low camera angles, editing, deep rasping reverberating engine sounds, the odd bit of sped up film and lots of grinding beat-up metal really does make these sequences feel grounded gritty and real. The low budget seriously helps the film and certainly lives up to the notion that when you have little money you must be more creative which in turn can make a film look better in the end.

Love the shots of Max as he sits calmly in his car waiting for 'Nightrider', the calm before the storm. Slowly he puts on his leather driving gloves, preps the car and then the still close up shot of his eyes behind tinted shades...reminded me of 'Drive'.

I have always thought this film does tend to lag through the middle as said before. After the initial turbo charged action the film does sit back with the plot and take things gently. This isn't bad as you do get character build up for the events to come but you can't help but yearn for more carnage. Its hard to judge this movie if you ask me, the second is the best by a clear country mile, this first chapter is also very good but at the same time a tad weak. The bad guys are fun but not really too threatening...especially as they're on bikes (oh so dated bikes now) and so easily rammed off the road. Hugh Keays-Byrne does add much needed flavour to the bad guy gang but I always felt that he didn't really do enough, merely sits around grimacing and snarling into the camera (with eye makeup on). The way they murder Max's wife and child isn't very realistic either...not on bikes anyway, plus the editing is a bit jerky there methinks.

The ending gets back into gear as Max gets his revenge, what you've been waiting for the whole time. Whipping out the trusty Pursuit Special he tears up the highway and does what needs to be done in reasonably satisfying fashion. The film may have been violent for the time but nowadays its very very tame with obvious dummy usage...but the real time stunts are still impressive.

The film doesn't date tooooo badly, the cars are still awesome if a bit clunky looking, costumes hold up just about oh and the homosexual vibe is correct and present in parts. A big butch leather bound bald guy with a thick handlebar moustache and goes by the name of 'Fifi'?! The all male biker gang that wears makeup and stroke each other a lot...does make you wonder. Never the less a solid entry made even better by the fact it came from nowhere and with little budget, just a tiny bit dull in the middle.
August 11, 2014
phubbs1

Super Reviewer

A fun, terrifically staged and appropriately enthusiastically dystopian action film concerning a member of the police (Mel Gibson), feeling disillusioned from his work amidst a post-apocalyptic society, and how his young family is threatened by a ruthless biker gang after he is responsible for the death of their leader during a car chase. Director George Miller dresses this film up with no budget whatsoever amidst the beautifully desolate Australian landscape, with a star-making performance from Gibson as an everyday man character who is easy to root for given his situation. The movie takes a sudden turn near its conclusion that gives it a darkness I for one did not see coming, which in turn makes it a more memorable film instead of just a fun, though forgettable, action film. Instead this sudden change in tone makes it a film worthy of its cult classic status.
October 15, 2013
Dan Schultz

Super Reviewer

[img]http://images.rottentomatoes.com/images/user/icons/icon14.gif[/img]
May 28, 2013
Directors Cat
Directors Cat

Super Reviewer

The premise suggests something a little bigger than what the film really delivers, but "Mad Max" boasts from a powerhouse leading man and some pretty awesome car chases. As a cop is wanting to be with his wife, rather than being in danger every day on the job, every job just seems to get worse and worse, driving him to become a little crazier than his character was when we first met him. This film is a perfect representation of a great character arch and the classic way of showing it is present the whole way through. It moves a little slow and the secondary characters aren't very likeable, but I had fun watching this movie. "Mad Max" is a very enjoyable ride!
March 3, 2013
KJ Proulx

Super Reviewer

    1. Mad 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 can hack through your ankle in five minutes. Go!
    – Submitted by Aaron K (2 years ago)
    1. Mad Max: I'm scared, Fif. It's that rat circus out there, I'm beginning to enjoy it. Look, any longer out on that road and I'm one of them, a terminal psychotic, except that I've got this bronze badge that says that I'm one of the good guys.
    – Submitted by Aaron K (2 years ago)
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