Released in 1979, Mad Max changed the face of Australian filmmaking. In stark contrast with the so-called ‘quality cinema’ of the time which dealt with historical and colonial narratives, such as My Brilliant Career (Gillian Armstrong, Australia, 1979), it is an unashamed car action revenge flick set in a futuristic, dystopian wasteland.
The film follows the story and transformation of the law enforcement officer, Max (Mel Gibson), who becomes embroiled in a feud with a notorious motorcycle gang.
Part of the film's appeal is that it combines the conventions of the action genre with a distinctly local flavour including the use of Australian vernacular, characters and landscapes. It is also a film that explores the way car culture inhabits the Australian psyche.
In celebrating 40 years since its release, the NFSA showcases an interview with director George Miller that sheds light on some of the film's key influences and also the circumstances surrounding its production and release: