Mad Max (1979) - Rotten Tomatoes

Mad Max (1979)



Critic Consensus: 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.

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 spend time with his wife and son but lets his boss talk him into taking a peaceful vacation and he starts to reconsider. Then his world is shattered as a gang led by the evil Toecutter (Hugh Keays-Byrne) murders his family in retaliation for the death of one of its members. Dead inside, Max straps on his helmet and climbs into a souped-up V8 racing machine to seek his bloody revenge. Despite an obviously low budget and a plot reminiscent of many spaghetti Westerns, Mad Max is tremendously exciting, thanks to some of the most spectacular road stunts ever put on film. Cinematographer David Eggby and stunt coordinator Grant Page did some of their best work under Miller's direction and crafted a gritty, gripping thrill ride which spawned two sequels, numerous imitations, and made Mel Gibson an international star. One sequence, in which a man is chained to a car and must cut off a limb before the machine explodes is one of the most tense scenes of the decade. The American version dubbed all the voices -- including Gibson's -- in a particularly cartoonish manner. Trivia buffs should note that Max's car is a 1973 Ford Falcon GT Coupe with a 300 bhp 351C V8 engine, customized with the front end of a Ford Fairmont and other modifications. ~ Robert Firsching, Rovimore
Rating: R (adult situations/language, violence)
Genre: Action & Adventure, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Cult Movies
Directed By:
Written By: James McCausland, George Miller
In Theaters:
On DVD: Nov 19, 1997


Mel Gibson
as Mad Max Rockatansky
Tim Burns
as Johnny the Boy
Steve Bisley
as Jim Goose
Roger Ward
as Fifi Macaffee
Vincent Gil
as Nightrider
Vince Gil
as Nightrider
Geoff Parry
as Bubba Zanetti
Paul Johnstone
as Cundalini
John Ley
as Charlie
Jonathan Hardy
as Labatoche
Sheila Florance
as May Swaisey
Sheila Florence
as May Swaisey
Reg Evans
as Station Master
Howard Eynon
as Diabando
Jerry Day
as Ziggy
Peter Flemingham
as Senior Doctor
Phil Motherwell
as Junior Doctor
Neil Thompson
as TV Newsreader
Nic Gazzana
as Starbuck
David Cameron
as Underground Mechanic
David Bracks
as Mudguts
Lulu Pinkus
as Nightrider's Girl
George Novak
as Scuttle
Nick Lathouris
as Grease Rat
Andrew Gilmore
as Silvertongue
Nein Thompson
as TV Newsreader
Gil Tucker
as People's Overseer
Kim Sullivan
as Girl in Chevy
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Mad Max

Critic Reviews for Mad Max

All Critics (56) | Top Critics (6)

[The] film has been consigned to the grind houses, where audiences are responding as Miller wants them to. From there Mad Max will find its way to the film schools and revival houses, where its tough-gutted intelligence may be appreciated.

Full Review… | May 11, 2015
TIME Magazine
Top Critic

A solid and entertaining spectacle, filled with brilliantly staged action scenes and made all the more fascinating for its oracular indication of the age of bold movie science fiction that was to follow.

Full Review… | October 4, 2015

An action masterpiece...

Full Review… | June 17, 2015
Cinema Crazed

No imitation can compete with the grindhouse jaggedness of Miller's original pursuit

Full Review… | May 17, 2015

Its perhaps unjustified narrative shortcuts hardly seem to be much worth complaining about in the middle of its flawless action sequences.

Full Review… | May 17, 2015
Antagony & Ecstasy

Manages not to waste a single frame of film even as it wastes countless motorcycles, trailers, automobiles and other vehicles across the bad roads of rural Australia.

Full Review… | May 15, 2015
Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)

Audience Reviews for Mad Max


Mad Max is decent cult action, full of great stunts and car crashes that make the best of a very low budget, although the story takes a bit too long to speed up, making the entire beginning a little dragged and reaching its narrative core with only fifteen minutes left to end.

Carlos Magalh„es

Super Reviewer

Whole lotta dirt and rubber and bikes and bad accents and sawn-off shotguns and boy i bet the odor this movie made is unmatched.

Coxxie Mild Sauce

Super Reviewer

George Miller's Mad Max is brilliant in its action-sequences and overall thrills. Though there are some slight malfunctions in its transitions, this film is still far ahead of its time for being a dystopian action thriller in the latter part of the 1970s. 4/5

Eugene Bernabe
Eugene Bernabe

Super Reviewer

Mad Max Quotes

– Submitted by Aaron K (3 years ago)
– Submitted by Aaron K (3 years ago)

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