Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior


In the post-apocalyptic Australian wasteland, a cynical drifter agrees to help a small, gasoline rich, community escape a band of bandits.

Release Year: 1981

Rating: 7.6/10 (51,832 voted)

George Miller

Stars: Mel Gibson, Bruce Spence, Michael Preston

A former police officer is now a lone wanderer, traveling through a devastated Australia after a nuclear war looking for now-priceless petrol. He lives to survive and is none too pleased when he finds himself the only hope of a small group of honest people running a remote oil refinery. He must protect them from the bike gang that is terrorizing them whilst transporting their entire fuel supply to safety.

Writers: Terry Hayes, George Miller


Mel Gibson

Mad Max Rockatansky

Bruce Spence

The Gyro Captain

Michael Preston


(as Mike Preston)

Max Phipps

The Toadie

Vernon Wells


Kjell Nilsson

The Humungus

Emil Minty

The Feral Kid

Virginia Hey

Warrior Woman

William Zappa


Arkie Whiteley

The Captain's Girl

Steve J. Spears


Syd Heylen


Moira Claux

Big Rebecca

David Downer


David Slingsby

Quiet Man

Only one man can make the differance

Release Date: 21 May 1982

Filming Locations: Broken Hill, New South Wales, Australia

Box Office Details

Budget: AUD 4,000,000


Opening Weekend: AUD 847,220
(31 December 1981)
(21 Screens)

Gross: $23,667,907
(17 October 1982)

Technical Specs


(heavily cut)

Did You Know?


Mad Max was finished, all of the cars were supposed to be destroyed, including the black interceptor. But someone thought the interceptor was too good to lose, so they saved it from the crusher. This was before the film was even released. When was in its planning stage, someone found out the interceptor had somehow survived, so they tracked it down, and bought it back.


In the opening scene, as the camera pulls "out" of the blower, the blower pulley is not turning (widescreen only). A few moments later Max shuts off the blower and the pulley stops turning (the implication being that it was running the whole time).


[first lines]

My life fades. The vision dims. All that remains are memories. I remember a time of chaos. Ruined dreams. This wasted land. But most of all, I remember The Road Warrior. The man we called "Max". To understand who he was, you have to go back to another time…

User Review

Exhilarating action thriller.

Rating: 10/10

*** 1/2 out of ****

After so many years The Road Warrior still remains one of the most
exhilarating action films to ever grace the screen. The car chases are as
excitingly pulse-pounding as ever and no film has yet to surpass the final
chase as the best in movie history. Yes, in terms of pure action, not many
films have been able to equal The Road Warrior's thrills.

The film takes place presumably years after the conclusion of Mad Max. The
world has been devastated by a third world war and has suffered a setback by
he rarity of gasoline. The loner, Max Rockatansky (Mel Gibson) is still
wandering around the Australian wasteland, thousands of miles from
civilization, in search of gasoline. He comes across a gyro-pilot (Bruce
Spence), who tells him of a compound that's producing fuel.

Max brings the pilot along with him and studies the compound from atop a
cliff. It seems a large gang also wants the gasoline and has been besieging
the refinery for a long time now. They are a pack of madmen, led by the
Humungus, a hugely muscular man who wears a hockey mask to cover his face.
An attempt is made by the people inside the compound to find a rig large
enough to haul the fuel but the effort is brought down when Humungus' men
take down all the cars.

Max, finding a perfect moment to strike a bargain, makes a deal with one of
the survivors and makes it to the compound. Eventually, he makes another
deal there, as he tells the people inside that in return for as much
gasoline as he can carry, he'll bring the rig to them. What follows is
classic edge-of-the-seat action entertainment.

Having inspired dozens of rip-offs, The Road Warrior still remains the best
of the bunch due to the great lead performance from Mel Gibson and the
unrivalled car chases, which are very much worth mentioning. The movie
begins with a rousing commentary over the events that led to the destruction
of government. What follows next is a short and exciting car chase. True,
the following half-hour does move by a bit slowly, but it all builds up to a
lightning paced final 45 minutes.

The final chase, in particular, is an exercise in action craftsmanship.
Director George Miller has staged one of the most brilliant and downright
exciting action scenes ever. So many spectacular stunts and on-road carnage
occur during this sequence, to describe it simply wouldn't do it justice.

Miller's cinematography is decidedly Un-Hollywood. He gives us many
breathtaking camera angles, some of which are sometimes a bit shaky, which
serves to make the action even more involving. Looking back at the film
now, it might not appeal to a wide range of viewers. The odd characters
(mainly the villains), ultra-violence, dark tone, and the sparse dialogue
may seem a little too offbeat for some people.

Mel Gibson remains the only world-renowned actor in the whole film. He does
a terrific job as the character Max, one of his best and most interesting
characters. The development of Max is another intriguing component of The
Road Warrior, and serves the film by giving it a human edge by featuring
Max's slow transformation from loner to savior. Not only that, Gibson also
creates a great action hero. There's not a moment in the film when we
aren't rooting for Max to smash Humungus and his gang. Bruce Spence as the
gyro-pilot is decent in his role and offers the film's few humorous moments.

Virginia Hey is also pretty good as the Warrior Woman, and though the script
doesn't exactly give her a lot to do, she plays the part well. Mike Preston
also shows a lot of honor as the compound's leader.

On the other side of the equation are the actors who portray the villains.
Surprisingly enough, though the characters are outlandish, no one ever goes
over-the-top. Vernon Wells and Kjell Nilson are absolutely menacing and
frightening as the lead villains, Wez and Humungus. They personify evil
itself, creating characters who we truly grow to despise.

To be honest, I am a little surprised that the critics enjoyed this every
bit as much as I did. The film doesn't delve very deeply into philosophical
issues and doesn't exactly have a lot of grand things to say. I suppose
with the acclaim this film received goes to show that critics do truly watch
movies primarily for entertainment.

As I mentioned before, the film was the benchmark of a genre that grew in
popularity. The premise of a loner helping a group of people in need has
been used a bit too much now. Most notably is the big-budget flop,
Waterworld (which is a good movie I recommend), though none have yet to
match the outright intensity of The Road Warrior.