Tina Turner as Aunty Entity in Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome
https://www.nfsa.gov.au/sites/default/files/2023-01/MM3%20hero_1.jpg

Mad Max 3 and 4

Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome and Fury Road

Beyond Thunderdome and Fury Road

The third and fourth Mad Max movies – Beyond Thunderdome and Fury Road – were released 30 years apart.

Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985) co-starred Mel Gibson and Tina Turner and was co-directed by George Miller and George Ogilvie (1931–2020). It was dedicated to producer Byron Kennedy, who tragically died in a helicopter crash during pre-production.

While Thunderdome was a respectable critical and box-office hit, it seemed to signal the end of the Mad Max series. Then, three decades later, Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) exploded onto screens after a dazzling premiere at the Cannes Film Festival.

It starred Tom Hardy as Max, but this time paired with the equally heroic – and mad – Imperator Furiosa, played by Charlize Theron.

A critical triumph for George Miller, Fury Road became the most-nominated and most-awarded Australian film at the Academy Awards to that time, with ten nominations and six Oscars.

This curated collection covers both films and features clips, posters, behind-the-scenes images and interviews. See also our curated collections dedicated to Mad Max and Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior.

Main image: Tina Turner on set in Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome. Behind-the-scenes photograph taken by costume designer Norma Moriceau. Courtesy: Norma Moriceau. NFSA title: 1637027

Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome: US trailer
Year:
Year

The Warner Bros. theatrical trailer for Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome captures all the action and showcases the two main stars: Mel Gibson and Tina Turner.

The film opened in 1,475 theatres in America on 12 July 1985 and grossed $36,230,219 at the US box office (unadjusted for inflation). It ranked No. 19 on the list of top-grossing films in the US that year.

Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome with Tina Turner, cast and crew.
https://www.nfsa.gov.au/sites/default/files/04-2020/1513154.jpg
Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome: Tina Turner with crew
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
1513154
Year:
Year

Tina Turner, wearing her Aunty Entity costume, sits with crew members of Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome in this production still. 

It's a delightful photo that perfectly illustrates the camaraderie among the team, something that is frequently remarked upon by overseas actors when filming in Australia with local production crews.

Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome Opens in Hollywood
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
546150
Courtesy:
Network Ten
Year:
Year

This Network Ten Eyewitness News segment reports from Hollywood on the enthusiastic response to the premiere of Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome.

Thunderdome was notable for the casting of Tina Turner as Aunty Entity, and she appears in this clip giving her verdict on co-star Mel Gibson: 'I rate him a 10'.

As the clip notes, initial reviews questioned the film's reduced violence, in comparison to its predecessors, but it was expected to be a summer blockbuster in the US.

Turner's recording of the film's title song, 'We Don't Need Another Hero (Thunderdome)', was an international hit single reaching No. 1 in Australia and going Top 5 in many countries

The song was also nominated for a Golden Globe and a Grammy award and Terry Britten and Graham Lyle won an Ivor Novello songwriting award in 1985.

Poster featuring Mel Gibson and Tina Turner, with cast. Text reads: 'A lone warrior searching for his destiny...A tribe of lost children waiting for a hero...In a world battling to survive, they meet a woman determined to rule.
https://www.nfsa.gov.au/sites/default/files/04-2020/681138.jpg
Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome Australian Daybill Poster
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
681138
Year:
Year

This beautifully designed poster for Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome is in stark contrast to the posters for the first two films in the franchise.

Images of cars and motorbikes no longer dominate; they are merely a visual coda at the bottom of the poster.

Instead, the film is driven by the two main characters, Max (Mel Gibson) and Aunty Entity (Tina Turner), and the poster effectively delivers this message.

In addition, while the posters for the previous films had a clear futuristic bent, this poster's visuals suggest a parallel history of tribal conflict. 

Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome: Aerial fight
Year:
Year

This Warner Bros. clip shows an impressively staged and dramatic fight scene from Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome. Mel Gibson performed his own stunts during this sequence.

Thunderdome is a gladiatorial arena in Bartertown. It consists of a giant, domed metal cage from which the crowd watches the battle. Combatants propel themselves using harnesses and pick up weapons located around the cage.

The concept for using harnesses in the Thunderdome apparently came from the springy straps found in baby bouncers! The straps weren't actually enough to propel the actors and the crew had to use hand-controlled compressed air cylinders, an effect inspired by the film Mary Poppins (Robert Stevenson, US, 1964).

Mel Gibson (Max) listening to Tina Turner (Aunty Entity) in Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome.
https://www.nfsa.gov.au/sites/default/files/04-2020/596997.jpg
Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome: Mel Gibson and Tina Turner
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
596997
Year:
Year

This production still shows Max (Mel Gibson) in conversation with Aunty Entity (Tina Turner) in Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome

Aunty Entity is in charge of Bartertown. Having started as a benevolent leader with good intentions she eventually became a tyrant. It's implied in the story that this would be Max's fate if he were to lead the Lost Tribe as a community in the ruins of Sydney.

This still is a good illustration of how both characters are two sides of the same coin, even in appearance. 

A crew member next to a model of the Sydney Harbour Bridge on the set of post-apocalyptic Sydney in some sand dunes. The Opera House and city skyline is also visible.
https://www.nfsa.gov.au/sites/default/files/03-2020/mad_max_beyond_thunderdome_1072868_07.jpg
Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome: Sydney miniature
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
1072868
Year:
Year

Perhaps emboldened by the success of the previous two Mad Max films, the Kennedy Miller production team had no qualms about creating an obvious Australian location for Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome.

The final sequences of the film show a flight over the ruins of Sydney, with the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House visible clinging to the sides of a dried-up harbour.

These were created in miniature by model coordinator Dennis Nicholson and his crew. This production still captures the extraodinary skill of the set designer and shows one of the crew members putting the final touches to the bridge.

Unfortunately at the end of filming the models were too big to be put into storage and were all destroyed.

Desert with crashed airplane
https://www.nfsa.gov.au/sites/default/files/04-2020/1072868_1.jpg
Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome: aeroplane set
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
1072868
Year:
Year

This production still shows the cast and crew on the set of a crashed aeroplane for Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome.

The photo amply illustrates the increased budget that production company Kennedy Miller was now working with, compared to the first two Mad Max films. The crashed plane in the sand makes for a striking image, though it is a pity we don't also have a close-up of the cast on the plane.

The crashed plane formed part of the storyline of the Lost Tribe of children. It was originally suggested to explain the Feral Kid in Mad Max 2 but not developed further.

The idea of a lost tribe also has Christian Biblical roots, once more casting Max as a Messianic figure, especially as the children first believe Max to be the return of their mythological Captain Walker.

The filming location is Cronulla, a beachside suburb in Sydney's Sutherland Shire. The desert atmosphere of the region's sand dunes have made them an ideal location for a number of prominent Australian feature films, including Forty Thousand Horseman (1940) and The Rats of Tobruk (1944).

Close up of a model set of buildings created for the set of post-apocalyptic Sydney in Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome. The clock tower of the General Post Office in Martin Place is recognisable amongst the rubble.
https://www.nfsa.gov.au/sites/default/files/03-2020/mad_max_beyond_thunderdome_1072868_06_1440x990.jpg
Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome: Sydney city model
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
1072868
Year:
Year

One very common usage of miniature sets is to take a real-world location and – devastate it!

At the end of Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, Jedediah flies Savannah and the other children away from Bartertown, and they arc over the ruins of Sydney, decimated by some unknown holocaust.

The entire city was built in miniature by model coordinator Dennis Nicholson and his crew, with a ruined Opera House looming over a dried-up harbour as the centrepiece.

This production still captures the extraodinary skill of the set designer. Sadly, at the end of filming the models were too big to be put into storage and were destroyed.

A crew member pushes a crane next to a model set of post-apocalyptic Sydney in some sand dunes. The buildings are about the size of the person. An arch of the destroyed Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House is visible.
https://www.nfsa.gov.au/sites/default/files/03-2020/mad_max_beyond_thunderdome_1072868_05.jpg
Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome: Sydney Harbour Bridge
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
1072868
Year:
Year

Dust and sand are fanned across the miniature set of a ruined Sydney while a camera does a fly-through to film the closing sequences for Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome.

These miniatures were created by model coordinator Dennis Nicholson and his crew.

This production still captures the extraodinary skill of the set designer. Unfortunately at the end of filming the models were too big to be put into storage and were all destroyed.

A crew member constructing a model set of post-apocalyptic Sydney in some sand dunes. The buildings are about the size of the person. The Opera House is visible.
https://www.nfsa.gov.au/sites/default/files/03-2020/mad_max_beyond_thunderdome_1072868_02.jpg
Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome: miniature Sydney
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
1072868
Year:
Year

One of model coordinator Dennis Nicholson's crew members is working on a miniature of a Sydney skyscraper in this production still.

These sets were used for the final sequences in Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome as a fly-through over the ruins of Sydney in a distant post-apocalyptic future. 

This production still captures the extraodinary skill of the set designer. Unfortunately at the end of filming the models were too big to be put into storage and were all destroyed.

Portrait of Tina Turner as Aunty Entity in Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome.
https://www.nfsa.gov.au/sites/default/files/04-2020/493421.jpg
Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome: Tina Turner as Aunty Entity
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
493421
Year:
Year

While Mad Max and Mad Max 2 did not feature any international stars in the cast, directors George Miller and George Ogilvie cast veteran American entertainer Tina Turner as Aunty Entity, the central antagonist in Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome.

Turner's impressive career was focused on music rather than acting, but she had memorably played the Acid Queen in Ken Russell's musical film Tommy in 1975. Dressed in a chainmail mini-dress and extravagant wig, she threw herself into the role.

The Mad Max universe is never divided neatly into polar opposites – black and white, good and evil. Aunty Entity was a once benevolent ruler of Bartertown who had since become tyrannical. Casting a charismatic performer like Tina as the villain meant you couldn't help liking her.

This production still seems to perfectly capture the character of Aunty Entity. Striking and almost leonine in appearance, she has an expression bordering on vulnerability. 

Tina Turner's popularity was riding high at the time, built on her multi-platinum album Private Dancer from the previous year. She provided vocals for two hit songs from Thunderdome: 'We Don't Need Another Hero (Thunderdome)' and 'One of the Living'.

'We Don't Need Another Hero (Thunderdome)' was a huge international hit, reaching No. 2 on the US Billboard Hot 100, No. 3 in the UK and No. 1 in Australia, Canada, Germany, Spain and Switzerland. It earned songwriters Terry Britten and Graham Lyle Golden Globe and Grammy nominations and won them an Ivor Novello songwriting award in 1985.

Mad Max: Fury Road – Legacy Featurette
Year:
Year

This featurette provides a gripping overview of the three preceding Mad Max films and was made available online by Warner Bros. prior to the theatrical release of Mad Max: Fury Road in May 2015.

This impressively cut featurette does a particularly good job of seamlessly blending footage from the much lower-budgeted first movie with its more expensive 1980s sequels.

It's terrific seeing how the storyline and action has developed over the 36 years between 1979 and 2015, and the concluding shots from Fury Road whet the appetite for the latest instalment.

Mad Max: Fury Road – NSW filming announcement
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
1025308
Year:
Year

This ABC News (Canberra) item from 2009 covers the announcement that a fourth Mad Max film is going into production and will be filmed in NSW.

However, despite all the preparation and financial support from the NSW Government, Fury Road was not ultimately filmed in Australia. Heavy rains around Broken Hill, the site of filming Max Max 2, turned the arid landscape into meadows of picturesque wildflowers unsuitable for the envisioned look of the production.

Production had to be postponed and principal photography instead began in 2012 in Namibia. Additional filming also took place at Potts Hill, south-west of Sydney, and Penrith Lakes in western Sydney.

This two-minute news item focuses more on the financial benefits of making the film in Australia rather than the artistic endeavours of director George Miller. It packs in a lot of detail and gives us a sense of how local businesses and workers would have benefited from the production.

Also, given the then 25-year gap from the last film in the franchise, the ABC has sensibly incorporated scenes from the previous films to key audiences on what to expect from a new instalment. These clips from Mad Max and Mad Max 2 are used effectively throughout the segment, though clips from Max Max Beyond Thunderdome are curiously absent.

Mad Max: Fury Road – Teaser
Year:
Year

This teaser trailer for Mad Max: Fury Road gave audiences their first astonishing glimpses of the film and was released in 2014, to create anticipation for the theatrical release of Fury Road the following year.

The visuals and explosive action sequences are beautifully shot and edited with the two main stars, Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron, featuring throughout.

Mad Max: Fury Road at Cannes
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
1470413
Courtesy:
Network Ten
Year:
Year

This short Network Ten Eyewitness News segment shows actors Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, Zoë Kravitz and Nicholas Hoult attending the out-of-competition premiere of Mad Max: Fury Road at the Cannes Film Festival with director George Miller in May 2015.

The film wowed festival audiences, with viewers not only giving it a standing ovation but applauding the bravura action sequences throughout the screening. 

Brian Trenchard-Smith reviews Mad Max: Fury Road
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
1587991
Year:
Year

In this edition of the web series Trailers from Hell, filmmaker Brian Trenchard-Smith reviews Mad Max: Fury Road. 

He gives a brief overview of the previous Mad Max films and the plot of the latest instalment. This is largely provided as a voice-over while showing the trailer for the movie.

Trenchard-Smith's review is highly insightful, as you would expect from a filmmaker with 22 feature films to his credit. It makes for very informative viewing as he refers to the art, craft and history of filmmaking and storytelling.

Trenchard-Smith's presenting in the first minute, however, is a bit disconcerting as he reads from a teleprompter positioned just off camera. 

Trailers from Hell started life as a website in 2007 and also premiered at SXSW (South by Southwest Festival) in 2009.

Mad Max: Fury Road – Black and Chrome
Year:
Year

This is the Warner Bros. trailer for Mad Max: Fury Road – Black and Chrome Edition.

The monochrome concept may have initially seemed puzzling, but director George Miller has long been fascinated by the idea of making a black-and-white Mad Max movie.

Miller said his inspiration for this new edition came from a memory he had of seeing Mad Max 2 (AKA The Road Warrior) during post-production. When music was being laid over the top, the assembled musicians were playing to a black-and-white copy of the film and Miller thought it was the best version of it he’d seen.

George Miller's striking monochrome edition of Fury Road had limited cinema screenings before its release to home viewing. 

Mad Max: Fury Road – Five Wives
Year:
Year

This featurette from Warner Bros. provides an overview of the 'Five Wives' of Mad Max: Fury Road.

The Five Wives are played by Rosie Huntington-Whiteley (as the Splendid Angharad), Riley Keough (Capable), Zoë Kravitz (Toast the Knowing), Abbey Lee (the Dag) and Courtney Eaton (Cheedo the Fragile). The women were selected for breeding by Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne), the ruler of the Citadel, who considers them his property. 

Before the events of the film, it is revealed that Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron) was assigned to protect them. Over time, Furiosa's attitude towards the women changed from disregard to compassion, and she ultimately decided to include them in her escape plan.

This short clip sets out the story and features interviews with the actors who play the wives, as well as Theron and Tom Hardy (Max). Intercut with spectacular action scenes from the film, it makes for an enticing glimpse of Mad Max: Fury Road.

Mad Max: Fury Road set for Oscar wins
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
1471710
Courtesy:
Seven Network
Year:
Year

This story from Southern Cross News, Tasmania previews the 2015 Academy Awards, held in Hollywood on 28 February 2016. It spotlights the record number of Australians nominated for awards, many of them from Mad Max: Fury Road, which was then Australia's most-nominated film to date.

Among the Mad Max: Fury Road nominees interviewed in this clip are: sound mixer Ben Osmo, sound editor David White, make-up artist Elka Wardega and production designer Colin Gibson.

At the 2015 Academy Awards, Mad Max: Fury Road was nominated for 10 awards and won 6. It won Oscars for Costume Design (Jenny Beavan), Film Editing (Margaret Sixel), Makeup and Hairstyling (Lesley Vanderwalt, Elka Wardega and Damian Martin), Production Design (Colin Gibson and Lisa Thompson), Sound Editing (Mark Mangini and David White) and Sound Mixing (Chris Jenkins, Gregg Rudloff and Ben Osmo).

It received additional nominations for Best Picture (Doug Mitchell and George Miller), Directing (George Miller), Cinematography (John Seale) and Visual Effects (Andrew Jackson, Tom Wood, Dan Oliver and Andy Williams).

Notes by Stephen Groenewegen

Mad Max: Fury Road convoy hits Sydney
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
1470409
Courtesy:
Network Ten
Year:
Year

A convoy of stunt performers outside the Sydney Opera House promote Mad Max: Fury Road ahead of its premiere.

Interviewed for this Ten Eyewitness News story on 13 May 2015 was production designer Colin Gibson who won an Oscar for his work on Mad Max: Fury Road nine months later, on 28 February 2016.

At the 2015 Academy Awards, Mad Max: Fury Road was nominated for 10 awards and won 6. It won Oscars for Costume Design (Jenny Beavan), Film Editing (Margaret Sixel), Makeup and Hairstyling (Lesley Vanderwalt, Elka Wardega and Damian Martin), Production Design (Colin Gibson and Lisa Thompson), Sound Editing (Mark Mangini and David White) and Sound Mixing (Chris Jenkins, Gregg Rudloff and Ben Osmo).

It received additional nominations for Best Picture (Doug Mitchell and George Miller), Directing (George Miller), Cinematography (John Seale) and Visual Effects (Andrew Jackson, Tom Wood, Dan Oliver and Andy Williams).

Notes by Stephen Groenewegen

Hugh Keays-Byrne: Making Fury Road
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
1586046
Year:
Year

In this excerpt from his NFSA oral history, English-Australian actor Hugh Keays-Byrne talks about making Mad Max: Fury Road (2015).

Keays-Byrne had played the memorable antagonist, Toecutter, in the very first Mad Max film in 1979 so it was a special moment to see him return to the franchise as Immortan Joe in Fury Road, lord of the Citadel and leader of his fanatical War Boys.

In this clip, he gives some impressions of working on the later film compared to the first and we get a sense of the increase in scale, changes in filmmaking technology – and regard for safety! – as well as his working relationship with director George Miller.

Keays-Byrne’s acting career stretches back to the late 1960s. After touring Australia with the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1973, he stayed on and appeared on television before landing the role of Toad in the biker film Stone (1974), which began his Australian film career.

Lorna Lesley interviewed Hugh Keays-Byrne for the NFSA Oral History program in 2019. 

French poster for Mad Max Fury Road featuring desert, car and man. Text reads: 'Quelle Belle Journee' ('What a lovely day').
https://www.nfsa.gov.au/sites/default/files/05-2020/mm4_french_poster_1528023.jpg
Mad Max: Fury Road French poster
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
1528023
Year:
Year

'Quelle belle journée' ('What a lovely day') reads the tagline on this French poster for the release of Mad Max: Fury Road.

The line itself was delivered by one of the War Boys in the film, Nux (Nicholas Hoult). It has become a popular internet meme, used ironically when things are not going well.  

It is a striking and effective poster design – the saturated colours make for a different vision of a post-apocalyptic landscape. Such landscapes often appear in movies drained of colour.

The colours work well to make the desert look more alien. As if to emphasise the point, the solitary figure of Max appears from a distance to be wearing a spacesuit. Against this alien-looking backdrop, the battered car looks distinctly of this world.

Mad Max: Fury Road at the BAFTA Awards
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
1475828
Year:
Year

This news item from ABC News (Darwin) reports on the 2015 BAFTA awards presented to the makers of Mad Max: Fury Road in 2016.

The film won four awards from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts: Best Editing (Margaret Sixel), Production Design (Colin Gibson and Lisa Thompson), Costume Design (Jenny Beavan) and Makeup and Hair (Lesley Vanderwalt and Damian Martin).

The film was also nominated for: Best Cinematography (John Seale), Sound (Scott Hecker, Chris Jenkins, Mark A Mangini, Ben Osmo, Gregg Rudloff and David White) and Visual Effects (Andrew Jackson, Dan Oliver, Tom Wood and Andy Williams).

Running at just over two minutes, this news segment packs in a lot of information and gives an engaging overview of the awards ceremony as a whole. Reporting from the red carpet captures the energy and excitement of this glamorous event.