ER doctor turned filmmaker George Miller’s hell-on-wheels vision of the future notched a novel international action hit for the burgeoning Australian cinema, while giving new meaning to the notion of a “road movie.” The battle-ready cars, ravaged landscapes, and punkish road warriors make for one of the defining dystopias visualized in cinema. In the soon-to-be-tetralogy’s first installment, a young and strapping Mel Gibson stars as Max Rockatansky—skilled and loyal patrolman in an Australia overrun with bands of motorcycle-mounted psychopaths. Danger is not confined to the roads, however, and when mounted marauders go after those near and dear to Max, something in him changes. With a richly imagined cast of characters and inspired car chases, Mad Max is at once a playfully wild ride and an acute expression of one man’s blinding, inarticulate rage.

Screening with George Miller's rarely-shown short Violence in the Cinema Part 1.

Print courtesy of the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia.