George Miller’s Mad Max revolutionised movies when it tore through cinemas in 1979. Max Rockatansky’s journey dispensing justice across the wasteland in his V8 Interceptor became a cult classic and catapulted Australian cinema onto the world stage.
Bursting with stunning practical effects, explosive set pieces and iconic costumes, the original Mad Max trilogy (1979-85) cemented its place in pop culture. Thirty years later it roared back onto screens with a ‘reimagining’ featuring instantly classic new characters like Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron) and the War Boys.
Mad Max‘s super-powered vehicles, legendary characters and postapocalyptic setting influenced everything from movies, manga and music videos to fashion, videogames and art, spawning enough parodies, homages and clones to fill a Thunderdome.
It would be hard to keep a continent as large as Australia connected without cars. From the suburbs to the Outback, cars have become essential to Australian identity, especially in cinema, where they represent independence, freedom and status. They also often symbolise Australian ideals of masculinity. Under the armoured death machines and shiny chrome, George Miller’s Mad Max series interrogates the undercurrent of toxic machismo and violence tied to Australia’s isolation and obsession with cars. Bush Mechanics similarly embodies Australian ideals of masculinity but reinterprets car culture to represent the ingenuity, adaptability and innovation of Aboriginal Central Australia.
Discover how Bush Mechanics and Mad Max are the 'two greatest depictions of Australian car culture' in an article from NME.
Works in this group
Mad Max: Fury Road production still of Charlize Theron and Nicholas Hoult
Australia and United States, 2015
Total Film caught up with Mad Max Fury Road director, George Miller to talk about the success of the film, the upcoming sequel and the possibility of him taking on a superhero movie. Video via Total Film.
On display until:
ACMI: Gallery 1
16 February 2031
The Story of the Moving Image → Moving Australia → 03. Car Culture