memories of the ’70s – Mad Max

With a planet on the brink, and the access to oil only for the few, the futuristic film Mad Max was a view of the possible future.

Produced in 1979, Mad Max was written and directed by George Miller, and was set in Australia, and starred then unknown actor Mel Gibson.

The film’s storyline is based on how society breaks down because of oil shortages. Max Rockatansky (Gibson) is an MFP, a Main Force Patrol, trying to enforce the law and chase down the gang members who are causing havoc, like the Beserk Motorcycle Gang and the Nightrider Gang.

But the ruthless and violent pursuit of the gangs makes Rockatansky question his need to be on the MFP and he decides to resign. His boss, Chief Macaffee convinces him to take a holiday instead.

The Nightrider Gang goes after Rockatansky’s wife Jessie and now the game has changed. Rockatansky takes his anger out on the gang, hunting down those who came after his family and showing them the true meaning of rage.

Miller’s ideas came out of his work as a doctor, seeing injuries from a variety of accidents and crimes. He believed viewers would find it easier to watch the violence if it was set in the future, and he was inspired by the gas shortages that had occurred in Australia in the early 1970s.

Made for $400,000 (AUD), the film was completed in and around Melbourne and featured several unique vehicles, including souped up versions of a 1974 yellow Ford Falcon, 1973 black XB Ford Falcon, a 1972 Holden Monaro coupe and 14 KZ1000 Kawasaki motorcycles.

Released in Australia in 1979, the film was dubbed for North America to mask the Australian slang and accent and released in 1980. Although in limited release, it was a success making US$8 million.

Initially banned in New Zealand and Sweden due to a couple of extremely violent scenes, the film did very well internationally, making an estimated $100,000,000 worldwide.

This film became a cult favourite and led to two sequels released in the 1980s, as well as a favourite of the video generation for its brash view and extreme violence of a future world that is fighting for every bit of power, as well as making Mel Gibson well known around the world.


About Waheeda Harris

A pop culture junkie with a penchant for exploring our planet.
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