With the new Mad Max: Fury Road coming out in May this year, it seemed like a good time to revisit the original three starring Mel Gibson. George Miller (who thankfully is returning for Fury Road) brought Australian films or Ozploitation, into the mainstream with his bizarre and dystopian glances at a violent future fighting over fuel.
Here are a few facts about Mad Max, The Road Warrior, and Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome…
1. Director George Miller (who also has a small part in the film) raised money to shoot this film by working as an emergency room doctor.
2. Mad Max was shot in and around Melbourne, Australia, in 12 weeks, on a shoestring budget of $350,000.
3. Because he was relatively unknown in the US, trailers and previews did not feature Mel Gibson, instead focusing on the car crashes and action scenes.
4. Mel Gibson didn’t go to the audition for this film to read for a part, he actually went along with a friend who was auditioning. But because he had been in a bar fight the night before and his head looked like “a black and blue pumpkin” (his words), he was told he could come back and audition in three week’s time because “we need freaks!”. He did return in three weeks’ time, wasn’t recognized (because his injuries had healed well), and was asked to read for a part.
5. The film was banned in New Zealand for the scene when Goose is burned alive inside of his vehicle. It mirrored an incident with a real gang not long before the film came out. It was later shown in NZ in 1983 after the huge success of the sequel, but only as long as it had an 18 certificate.
6. Mel Gibson only has 16 lines of dialogue in the entire film, and two of them were: “I only came for the gasoline.”
7. The Road Warrior was shot in chronological order, which almost never happens.
8. It was renamed The Road Warrior for North American distribution because, at the time, the original Mad Max had only been released there on a limited basis, so calling it Mad Max 2 would have confused viewers.
9. Entertainment Weekly voted The Road Warrior the 93rd best film of all time.
10. The film had over ten times the budget of Mad Max.
11. Originally, the film was supposed to be about a group of children living without parents in the wild. They were trying to decide what adult character would find them, when someone thought of Max. After that suggestion, it became a Mad Max film.
12. The sandstorm at the end of the film was real, and a camera plane actually did fly into it for some shots. The storm in its entirety hit the crew in the desert, forcing them to ride it out in their cars and wherever they could find cover.
13. Tina Turner’s character is billed as Aunty Entity, but nowhere in the film does anyone call her that. She’s always referred to as just Aunty.
14. Max’s eyes are different; the pupil in his left eye is permanently dilated. This is a reference to The Road Warrior. When his car is forced off the road by Wez and Max crashes, he suffers a severe injury to his left eye.
15. The possible outcomes on the Wheel are: – Death – Hard Labour – Acquittal – Gulag – Aunty’s Choice – Spin Again – Forfeit Goods – Underworld – Amputation – Life Imprisonment