Mad Max is a 1979 Australian dystopian action thriller film directed by George Miller, produced by Byron Kennedy, and starring Mel Gibson as “Mad” Max Rockatansky, Joanne Samuel, Hugh Keays-Byrne, Steve Bisley, Tim Burns, and Roger Ward. James McCausland and Miller wrote the screenplay from a story by Miller and Kennedy. Set in a future Australia, the film presents a saga of societal collapse, murder, and revenge in which an unhinged policeman becomes embroiled in a violent feud with a savage motorcycle gang. Principal photography for Mad Max took place in and around Melbourne, and lasted six weeks.
The film initially received a polarized reception upon its release in April 1979, although it won four AACTA Awards and attracted a cult following, while its critical reputation has grown since. Filmed on a budget of A$400,000, it earned more than US$100 million worldwide in gross revenue and held the Guinness record for most profitable film. The success of Mad Max has been credited for further opening up the global market to Australian New Wave films. The film became the first in the Mad Max series, giving rise to three sequels, Mad Max 2 (1981), Beyond Thunderdome (1985), and Fury Road (2015). In 2020, a fourth sequel, to be titled Furiosa, starring Anya Taylor-Joy and Chris Hemsworth, was announced.