Mad Max (1979) - Rotten Tomatoes

Mad Max1979

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.

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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, Rovi

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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
Nic Gazzana
as Starbuck
Neil Thompson
as TV Newsreader
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
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News & Interviews for Mad Max

Critic Reviews for Mad Max

All Critics (61) | Top Critics (7)

If punk is a sensibility as well as an adjective, Mad Max is a punk movie. Its Australian setting enhances it, authenticating its futuristic aura.

April 27, 2018 | Full Review…

[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.

May 11, 2015 | Full Review…

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 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

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…

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

May 30, 2007 | Full Review…

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…
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Mad Max


A decent cult action movie full of great stunts and car crashes that make the best of a very low budget, even though 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 Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer


While not the greatest film, Mad Max deserves recognition for its excellently staged car chases, star making turn from Mel Gibson, and willingness to push the envelope in a time when many would not. It's violent, unrestrained, and pretty entertaining despite a minimal plot. Max's character is really the only one that gets a story arc and it makes you feel for him when all hell breaks loose. Toe Cutter is also a memorable villain thanks to a creepy performance by Hugh Keays-Byrne. This is basically just wall to wall action except for a middle section to build up Max's character to what he eventually becomes. This is a worthwhile watch for action fans.

Josh Lewis
Josh Lewis

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
Coxxie Mild Sauce

Super Reviewer

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