George Miller and Byron Kennedy created the Mad Max post-apocalyptic action film series and media property. The film was published in 1979 and was followed by three sequels: Mad Max 2 (1981, retitled The Road Warrior in the United States), Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985), and Mad Max: Fury Road (2015), all of which were directed or co-directed by Miller. The first three films starred Mel Gibson, with Tom Hardy taking over as Max in the fourth.
The series follows the exploits of Max Rockatansky, a police officer in a future Australia in which societal collapse has resulted from conflict and serious resource shortages. When a nasty motorcycle gang murders his wife and child, Max kills them in retaliation and becomes a wandering loner in the Wasteland.
As Australia descends farther into barbarism, this expert road warrior finds himself assisting pockets of civilization, initially out of self-interest, but his motivations always shift to more selfless ones.
Critics have praised the series, with each picture receiving a ‘Certified Fresh’ rating on the film review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes; Mad Max 2 and Fury Road, in particular, have been hailed as two of the best action films ever filmed.
The series has had a tremendous impact on popular culture, particularly in the fields of apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction, as well as works in other media such as video games and comic comics. Fury Road became the first Mad Max film to be nominated for an Academy Award in 2016, earning six of the 10 nominations.
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer originally controlled North American rights to the original picture (through the libraries of Orion Pictures and American International Pictures), but in 2021, full rights reverted to Warner Bros., and WB now owns the whole franchise.
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