Mad Max

Shown: 28 October 1996
Sponsored and introduced by Paula Thelwell

Australia 1979
100 minutes
Directed by George Miller
Leading players - Mel Gibson, Joanne Samual & Hugh Keays-Byrne


Max Rockatansky (Mel Gibson), follows a dangerous career as an ace pursuit driver with an elite police force in a grim, futuristic Australia. Anarchy rules as lawless bikers maraud the countryside. What starts out as just another day on the job proves to have disasterous consequences when Nightrider (Vincent Gill) and his girlfriend are killed in an horrific crash whilst being pursued by Max.

Nightrider's friends, led by Toecutter (Hugh Keays-Byrne), set out to reek revenge on Max and his partner Jim Goose (Steve Bisley). When Goose is incinerated by the biker gang Max quits the force and heads off to find peace of mind with his wife, Josie (Joanne Samuel), and their baby son.

But the family holiday ends in tragedy when Toecutter and his disreputable mob track them down.

* * * * * *

A low budget classic, 'Mad Max' only rose to cult status after the release of its more popular sequel in 1981.

Mel Gibson was just one player from the wealth of talent that emerged from the renaissance of the Australian movie industry in the 1970s and 80s.

Critical acclaim and box office success world-wide with films such as 'Picnic At Hanging Rock', 'My Brilliant Career', 'Breaker Morant' and 'Gallipoli' opened doors in Hollywood for actors and directors alike. The 1990's have seen another resurgence of Antipodean cinema with New Zealand edging ahead in the awards stakes with 'The Piano'. But Australia can boast a big screen success every year since the Oscar nominated 'Strictly Ballroom' in 1992.

As part of the cinema centenary celebrations Down Under a national industry-based poll was conducted to establish a list of 100 key Australian films from the last hundred years. The top five were: 'Picnic At Hanging Rock' (1975), 'Mad Max' (1979), 'My Brilliant Career' (1979), 'Strictly Ballroom' (1992) and 'Breaker Morant' (1980).