The 30th of anniversary mad max

and a pic of GeorgeThis Sunday April the 12th will mark the 30th anniversary of the Australian theatrical release of Mad Max. Australia and a good part of Europe were calling it a masterpiece during it’s initial run, and it was over a year old before it hit the states. I was a huge fan of Steven Spielberg’s TV movie Duel, and from the trailer this one looked just as good!! I went on opening weekend and was amazed at what I saw on the screen,, Unbelievable action and horrific violence wrapped around a love story hidden in the middle, The camera work was unlike anything I had ever seen and I remember that awesome score by Brian May, I went out and bought the LP (Thats a long playing record for those that don’t know) right after I saw the movie. It was a film that hung in my mind for several days after I saw it, and I wanted to go and see it again but it’s run was exceptionally short and It was not until a re-release a year or so  later that I got to see it again. I so loved this low budget film but I remember the actors had the worst voices I had ever heard,,, It seemed like they were dubbed but the lips were speaking in English. It sounded like all the voices were from the old Bullwinkle cartoons,, Just awful and it was worse the second time… As much as liked the movie that sound really turned me off. Race forward a couple  of years to 1982. 82, was probably the greatest summer of movies ever to come out all in one season!!!! There was Conan, ET, Poltergeist, Star Trek II, Tron, Bladerunner, John Carpenter’s The Thing, and a little movie called “The Road Warrior”. The RW had a really bad poster and not a single trailer in the theater. just from the initial look of this one it didn’t make the must see cut. One night we were out of new movies to see and it came down to the flipping of a coin to see what we would see that night, A 3D movie on TV or Road Warrior.  Well reluctantly the Road Warrior won the toss so we went to surprisingly a full house. The lights went down, and the movie started. A sepia toned/ montage started with a gravely narration describing  an end of the world story!!! a few minutes into this sequence I saw some familiar images from Mad Max. I thought WOW somebody bought some scenes from M.M. to put in their movie to go a long with the old news footage. The Max clips were getting more promionate and the narrator started talking about MAX!!! I screamed it’s a SEQUEL TO MAD MAX!!!!! I couldn’t believe it. (This is a story all of it’s own and I’ll save it until another time) but after the show I had to see the original again. Videos were just starting to come out and I found a copy and took it home,,, AHHHH those horrible voices ruined the movie again. Some time later there was a TV host talking about the summer’s films and he was talking about The Max films and made the point of bringing up the fact that the Original Mad Max had been dubbed with American voices so as to get rid of the heavy Australian accents. He said the reason was because the US distributors felt that the American Audience wouldn’t be able to understand the dialog!!! It took 25 years to finally get a copy of the film with the dubbing removed and that made the movie a masterpiece on all levels. What I liked most about this film was the story of the producer and Director team of Byron Kennedy, and George Miller. Miller was actually a DR. who happened to have a fascination with movies. The two men met, I believe in film school and they together made a film called “Violence in the cinema part one”. I saw a copy of this one many years ago and it certainly shows the talents of these two in their early days. Bitten by the bug George put more focus into films than his medical practice and in 1979 Kennedy and Miller made and released Mad Max. George has an incredible style of working his camera and setting intense scenes and emotions just by his visuals. I was a big fan right from the start and  his work was one of the strongest inspirations for me and my wanting to work in the movies. If you follow his career you’ll see he has an unmatched talent for very emotional story telling using his camera as an artist would with paint and a canvas. Not only a director but a writer and producer as well. I started working at Apogee VFX in 1985 and Thunderdome had just come out, and I was a fan of this one too. I missed the Brian May score and overall it felt different from George’s earlier work.. I found out later his great friend Byron had passed away in helicopter accident and the story was that George had a difficult time due to the loss. He brought on a co-director named George Ogalvie to help with the directorial duties. What I liked most with Thunderdome was the understory that there is hope and a future despite the fact that the world we know now has been lost to nuclear devastation!!! While working at Apogee I heard that George Miller was going to direct a film called “The Witches of Eastwick” and that he was going to tour our facility as a possible FX house. I ran out, bought the book and read it that night. For the next couple of days I made notes on what I thought he would be trying visualize as an effect. I thought that it would have to be the elaborate Lennox Mansion so I drew up two sketches detailing the descriptions from the book. I had them all ready and then the day came when Mr. Miller came thru the model shop. He stopped at every desk and said hi to the modelers and when he got to mine. he put out his hand and we talked for a few minutes. He was extremely gracious and complimentary to what everyone was doing. By this point in my Hollywood career all the directors I had met up to this point carried an ego and status of  Arrogance. Mr. Miller on the other hand  was void of this and he treated everyone with honesty and respect. Over the years the studios have really treated Miller badly and He wrote an article once stating that Hollywood mistakes kindness for a weakness and this kills the passion for wanting to make movies here… Being from somewhere else I too see this attitude ever so strongly in Hollywood. Anyways He was rushed out and I forgot to show him the sketches,  ILM got the gig and they did an awesome job with the Mansion shots. Millers work inspires me to this day and I was in the process of being a part of the Mad Max IV art dept. in Africa. The Iraq war began and sadly George’s film got pulled because of the dangers of a foreign location and the call came that they were all closing down and going back to Australia. This was sad news but I hear it is still in the works to start again soon!!! So with that lets end this lengthy diolog with A happy Anniversary to George Miller and see some images from the film and the sketches drawn for both Witches and Mad Max Fury road. Now for the real fun!!! If you are a true Max Fan, here is a site that will give you days of images and great info and faq’s to read. I found this one a few years back and it is the best.


Peter Barton put the Mad Max movies site together and he did an awesome job!!! Thanks for sharing your passion for the films Peter….

title art

those awesome low and extremely close angles.

those awesome low and extremely close angles.

the end of the RV

the end of the RV

the pursuit cruiser

the pursuit cruiser

A Miller trademark, Exploding oil drums.

A Miller trademark, Exploding oil drums.

the brutal end to the love story.

the brutal end to the love story.

vengeance gives birth to Mad Max

vengeance gives birth to Mad Max

unbelievable stunts

unbelievable stunts

a great low angle shot

a great low angle shot

 A young Mel Gibson and his co star the interceptor.

A young Mel Gibson and his co star the interceptor.

application drawing for Mad Max IV interview

application drawing for Mad Max IV interview

trek rigs inspired by Max

trek rigs inspired by Max

this is a model I made about 20 years ago also max inspired, wound up being rendered in a Star Wars galaxy trading card.

this is a model I made about 20 years ago also max inspired, wound up being rendered in a Star Wars galaxy trading card.

lennox mansion 1

lennox mansion 1

high view

high view

here is a copy of George’s acomplishments courtesy of IMDB


  1. (2011) (pre-production) (producer)
  2. (2006) (producer)
    … aka Happy Feet: The IMAX Experience (USA: IMAX version)
  3. (1998) (producer)
  4. 40,000 Years of Dreaming (1997) (producer)
  5. Video Fool for Love (1996) (producer)
  6. Babe (1995) (producer)
    … aka Babe, the Gallant Pig
  7. Lorenzo’s Oil (1992) (producer)
  8. Flirting (1991) (producer)
  9. (1989) TV mini-series (producer)
  10. Dead Calm (1989) (producer)
    … aka Dead Calm: A Voyage Into Fear (USA: poster title)
  11. Fragments of War: The Story of Damien Parer (1988) (TV) (producer)
  12. The Clean Machine (1988) (TV) (producer)
  13. “The Dirtwater Dynasty” (1988) TV mini-series (producer)
  14. The Year My Voice Broke (1987) (producer)
  15. “Vietnam” (1987) TV mini-series (producer)
  16. The Riddle of the Stinson (1987) (TV) (producer)
  17. Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985) (producer)
    … aka Mad Max 3
    … aka Mad Max III (Philippines: English title)
  18. “Bodyline” (1984) TV mini-series (producer) (unknown episodes)
  19. “The Cowra Breakout” (1984) TV mini-series (producer)
  20. “The Dismissal” (1983) TV mini-series (executive producer)
  21. The Chain Reaction (1980) (associate producer)
    … aka Nuclear Run
  1. (2012) (announced)
  2. Happy Feet 2 (2011) (pre-production)
  3. (2006)
    … aka Happy Feet: The IMAX Experience (USA: IMAX version)
  4. “HBO First Look” (1 episode, 2006)
    – Happy Feet (2006) TV episode
  5. (1998)
  6. 40,000 Years of Dreaming (1997)
  7. Lorenzo’s Oil (1992)
  8. (1987)
  9. Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985)
    … aka Mad Max 3
    … aka Mad Max III (Philippines: English title)
  10. “The Last Bastion” (1984) TV mini-series (co-director)
  11. Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983) (segment 4)
  12. “The Dismissal” (1983) TV mini-series
  13. Mad Max 2 (1981)
    … aka Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (USA)
    … aka The Road Warrior (USA)
  14. (1979)
  15. Violence in the Cinema, Part 1 (1971)
  1. (2011) (pre-production) (writer)
  2. (2006) (written by)
    … aka Happy Feet: The IMAX Experience (USA: IMAX version)
  3. (1998) (written by)
  4. 40,000 Years of Dreaming (1997) (written by)
  5. Babe (1995) (screenplay)
    … aka Babe, the Gallant Pig
  6. Lorenzo’s Oil (1992) (written by)
  7. (1985) (written by)
    … aka Mad Max 3
    … aka Mad Max III (Philippines: English title)
  8. “The Dismissal” (1983) TV mini-series (writer)
  9. Mad Max 2 (1981) (written by)
    … aka Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (USA)
    … aka The Road Warrior (USA)
  10. (1979) (screenplay) (story)
  11. Violence in the Cinema, Part 1 (1971) (written by)

29 Responses to “The 30th of anniversary mad max”

  1. April 10, 2009 at 2:33 am

    Cool story, I really think I should finally give watch the movie as well. Just bought some of the 70s/80s Sci-Fi classics (Logan’s Run, Silent Running, Soylent Green, The Dark Star) so I could finally watch them, Mad Max is next on the list. I can’t believe the Australian voices were dubbed. I studied for a year in Oz and granted, it took some time to properly understand Aussie English, but I’m not a native speaker so I’d have thought Australian English wouldn’t cause problems for Americans. Well, I guess only the distributor thought it would be a problem 😉
    The buggy scene in Star Trek Nemesis must have ben the ultimate homage to Mad Max, you designing and basing the vehicles on the movie and then the general mood of the scene, cool nod!

  2. April 10, 2009 at 3:38 am

    I hope the bd of Madmax is released with the original audio. Planning soon to re-buy all my films and Mad Max was one I missed from buying dvds. It took forever for me to find a copy of Buckaroo Banzai that was encoded in progressive video. My LaserDisc of it has the dub :bleah . Mad max was one of those things I grew up with like Trek Star Wars etc. All I ever did with toy cars was play MAD MAX 😀

    MM4 would be a nice touch in a era or reboots and remakes, too just continue a old story. Especially one that was left so open as Thunderdome was.


  3. 3 the bluesman
    April 10, 2009 at 5:54 am


    Cool post. Mad Max is one of my favorite films. I fisrt saw it on Cinemax in 1980. The yellow Aussie Ford falcons and the black Falcon last v-8 are still cool cars 30 years later.

  4. 4 Freak
    April 10, 2009 at 6:30 am

    That’s a great story. Thanks for sharing.

    I remember when I first saw Road Warrior, (I saw that before MAD MAX and Thunderdrome.)
    I could not have been more than 7 or 8. I was living out in Gibraltar and the British Armed Forces had struck a deal to have SKY available to all forces families living on a base on the Rock. (At that time, the only English specking TV was for two hours each day. This was in the late 80’s.)

    I flicked though the channels and landed on Sky movies 1. It was about to start the next film. So I watched the adds waiting for it to start so I could see what it was.

    Then Road Warrior started, I was hooked. I even watched the repeat after midnight. (had to sneak about the house to see it again, without waking my parents. 😉 )

    Of course once I found out about the other two films I had see them, but due to my age I had to wait for them to come on TV.

    I had heard rumours that there was going to be a fourth film but Mel Gibson did not want to do it. Do you know if he coming back? As he’s spending more time behind the camera these days instead of in front of them.

  5. 5 L.M. Oliver
    April 10, 2009 at 12:01 pm

    “As for the Road Warrior, he lives now, only in my memory.”

    My father contends that if Charles Dickens wrote an action movie, it would be “Mad Max 2.” I can think of no higher compliment for Mr. Miller, whose work is as varied (“Babe”) as it is excellent. He is now supposedly adapting Homer’s Odyssey for the screen. Perhaps if Mel isn’t too busy on his own directorial projects, he could play the archetypal Bowman.

  6. April 10, 2009 at 6:41 pm

    I just watched this and The Road Warrior a few weeks ago. Not a fan of the third one.
    I love the car stunts in these movies, something that sadly appears to be missing from todays movies.
    I don’t have much hope for the new one since I don’t think Mel Gibson is a part of it.

  7. April 10, 2009 at 6:56 pm

    Great post, John. Thanks for sharing your passion and memories of Mad Max and meeting Mr. Miller. Isn’t it ironic that MM’s original distributors thought audiences wouldn’t be able to follow the Aussie accents and colloquialisms, so they replaced it with a dialogue track that is universally felt to be one of the worst ever made (did they just pull people off the street)?

    I hope your daughter is doing well.

    Take care, John.

  8. 8 DeanneM
    April 10, 2009 at 9:20 pm

    Love the story and pics…So many great background stories; I hope they never end.

    Oh, you included the frame just before the horrific run down scene!! That was just not nice to watch!!

    Is it correct that Dr. Miller might be doing MM IV as an anime? I went looking for some information after our conversation a few days ago, and it seems that if he can’t find the opportunity to do a live action, he may go the anime route…how depressing!!

    I’ve wanted an early Falcon for a good 25 years at least(not Futura or Ranchero). Give me a nice rounded ’60 – ’63 Falcon sedan or truck. In fact, I think I see one that snuck into the shot in the third image – it was the Falcon XK truck pulling the RV. 🙂

    The Aussie XA/XB models that are the interceptor vehicles are nice, but the rare Ford XC Cobra is the Coup de Grace for me. White with Cobra racing stripes…nice!! Take a look…


    If you see one of these, let me know! Anyone done any of the Falcons as a model?

  9. 9 the bluesman
    April 10, 2009 at 10:52 pm


    I’d love a yellow or black Aussie falcon done up in MFP colors. I hear even a bse model is getting pretty expensive, then you have to put it on a boat, then do all the mods.

    As the dubbing…I have met a couple Australians and they were the nicest most interesting people I have met. One is a rock/blues/folk singer so that was doubly cool…and I had no problem understanding them talk.

    And not everyone in Australia is named Bruce!

  10. April 10, 2009 at 11:03 pm

    Great article. I remember watching this movie as a kid, but don’t remember much of the story. I think it’s time for a rewatch!

  11. 11 DeanneM
    April 10, 2009 at 11:10 pm

    bluesman –

    You’re right about the Falcons getting pretty pricey, especially the Cobras (if you scroll down in my previous link, it has approx pricing to expect – and a great shot of at least 25 Cobras all together…cool).

    But since there are so few of those models here in the states, if you’ve got the cash to buy it, get it here and prep it for registration, it’s a real nice head turner. Their value tends to be higher here to collectors in the know, too. I just know that I won’t be able to do it any time soon!

  12. 12 the bluesman
    April 11, 2009 at 9:11 am

    As much as I’d love a black v-8 interceptor, I may have to settle for Clint eastwoods Gran Torino!

  13. April 11, 2009 at 11:45 am

    Max mad-cool. 8)

    Hope that 4th one gets made SOME day> It would redeem the series from the last entry, if done well. It’s not that TD was a horrible film or anything, I just wasn’t crazy about it and thought more could have been done with Max. Still, I own it. Can’t NOT own it. 😀


  14. April 11, 2009 at 11:47 am

    I have the Max w/shotgun and dog action-figure in blister hangin’ on the wall. 8)

    One of my all-time fav collectibles.


  15. 16 DeanneM
    April 11, 2009 at 4:38 pm

    bluesman – If I have to settle for a car from the states, I HAVE to go with the muscle car with the beautiful lines; a Camaro, preferably ’68 SS. Now that would be okay with me!

    deg – ya, we know, you get ’em out and play with ’em when no one’s looking!! 🙂

    • 17 johneaves
      April 11, 2009 at 6:33 pm

      You big silly DEG still has it in the blister which makes him a true collector.. It is too hard to play with when they are still in the box!

  16. 18 DeanneM
    April 11, 2009 at 6:36 pm

    With deg’s imagination, I still think he does!!

  17. 19 johneaves
    April 11, 2009 at 7:20 pm

    I heard that you used to use GI JOE to beat up Ken!!!

  18. 22 Matt Boardman
    April 11, 2009 at 8:21 pm

    I think I must have seen the dubbed version of this film when I saw it because I had the same reaction to it you did, John. After reading this, I’m encouraged to find an un-dubbed version to check it out!

  19. 24 DeanneM
    April 11, 2009 at 8:46 pm

    See, I KNEW you had a Ken doll 😉

    • 25 johneaves
      April 11, 2009 at 8:53 pm

      NOT PLAY…. DESTROY!!!!!!! I Usually don’t post on the Weekend but I put one up for tomorrow,, It went up a few moments ago.

  20. 26 DeanneM
    April 11, 2009 at 8:59 pm

    I know you don’t usually even comment much on weekends, so thanks for entertaining me while I do an essay tonight!

  21. 28 Mark A-C
    April 12, 2009 at 6:24 pm

    Hi John,
    Great post, love the story about Mr. Miller. I’ve got friends who work in film here in Australia who say similar things about the gractious Mr. Miller.

    I grew up in Adelaide, Australia and saw the Max films as a kid, at a time when there were lot of Ford Falcon XB’s on the road. Pretty wild to see what they did on screen with that great Aussie hot rod, I even owned an old XB myself briefly in my late teens, always fun pretending to be Mad Max while driving!! The shots you posted take me back, although lots of Aussie highways still look like they do in the film….”the wide open road”


  22. 29 Razor
    June 7, 2009 at 5:01 pm

    Wow he looks like a fun guy too!

    Road Warrior holds a special place in my heart as it was one of my late father’s favorite movies and one of the few he made a point of showing me as a kid. I hope Mr Miller gets his due props.

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April 2009

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