The 7 Best Moments In The Mad Max Series

Few movie franchises personify the post-apocalyptic wasteland to the same extent as Mad Max. Creating the prototypical dystopian landscape with his original Mad Max trilogy, director George Miller set the gold standard for the entire post-apocalyptic genre through his work on the series, influencing countless movies, video games, and comic books that followed (including Fallout, Borderlands, and Waterworld, among many others).

While there’s no denying Mad Max’s endearing legacy on the trajectory of the science fiction or action genre, it’s also worth pointing out how singularly great each installment of the Mad Max franchise is in and of itself. With the latest addition to the Mad Max series, Furiosa, recently arriving in theaters, we thought we’d take a look back at some of the absolute best moments in the Mad Max saga thus far, ranking them from worst to best.

“Just Walk Away”

Roadshow Films

A villain’s introduction sets the tone for their entire role in the film, be it someone as chilling as Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs or laugh-out-loud hilarious as Captain Hook in Peter Pan. When it comes to Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior, then, there’s no question that the Lord Humungus and his sinister band of raiders make quite the first impression upon their debut. Terrorizing the hapless oil reserve settlers with an equal number of threats and empty promises of mercy, viewers are instantly able to recognize a formidable threat the moment Humungus picks up his microphone and begins to speak.

Max Meets the Last of the V8s

Indiana Jones has his whip, Luke Skywalker his lightsaber–Max Rockatansky, on the other hand, has his trusty V8 Pursuit Special. A supercharged GT Falcon offered to Max as an incentive to remain on the Mobile Police Force, it’s impossible not to get goosebumps seeing the M.P.F.’s mechanic unveil the car, all the while listening to the mighty roar of its 600 horsepower engine. A gearhead’s ultimate fantasy, it’s also that rare scene that appeals to people completely unfamiliar with car terminology.

Max Chases the Toecutter

Having spent the first two acts of Mad Max methodically destroying Max’s life, the tables turned against the charismatic Toecutter in the last chapter of Mad Max. With his merciless biker gang in shambles and a vengeful Max hot on his trail, audiences waited with baited breath to see whether Max might finally get his hands on the Toecutter, or whether the murderous biker might successfully get away. Fortunately, as with every irredeemable psychopath in the Mad Max series, Max made sure that the Toecutter received his just desserts, sending the deranged maniac head-first into an oncoming 18-wheeler (to the utter jubilation of the audience watching at home).

Max’s Introduction

Just as a villain’s introduction has the potential to make or break their character, a hero’s initial debut makes all the difference when it comes to capturing audiences’ attention. Case in point with Max’s initial on-screen appearance in the original Mad Max. Calmly listening in on an intense police chase between the M.P.F. and the unhinged Nightrider before joining in on the pursuit, viewers are told everything they need to know about Max before they even see his face.

Furiosa vs. Max and Nux

There’s no shortage of exquisitely shot action sequences in Mad Max: Fury Road, but one of the best has to be the pulse-pounding brawl between Furiosa, Max, and a borderline unconscious Nux. Though chained to his War Boy captor, Max still manages to hold his own against his more-than-capable opponent in Furiosa, countering Furiosa’s relentless offense with his signature brute strength. Tense, stylish, and memorably inventive, it’s the perfect way to have two characters as tough and resourceful as Max and Furiosa meet in a face-to-face encounter.

Furiosa and Max vs. The Bullet Farmer

Having reluctantly set aside their differences for the sake of mutually assured survival, Max and Furiosa quickly become a force to be reckoned with halfway through Mad Max: Fury Road. As evidence of their instantaneous chemistry, viewers don’t have to look any further than the duo’s desert battle against the rampaging Bullet Farmer. Bogged down in the middle of fog-shrouded marshes and struggling to free their rig, Max and Furiosa do their best to pick off the looming Bullet Farmer from a distance. With classical opera blaring in the background and the Bullet Farmer proclaiming himself “the Conductor of the Choir of Death,” few post-apocalyptic action sequences get as downright metal as this scene.

The Famous Thunderdome Fight

Roadhouse Films

The epitome of the Mad Max series, the titular Thunderdome fight of Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome illustrates the sheer creativity behind George Miller’s dystopian franchise. Abandoning any pretext in reality and opting for a more bizarre portrayal of post-apocalyptic society, Max’s battle against Blaster inside the Thunderdome unfolds like a grizzled combination of Medieval Times and Cirque du Soleil. Traipsing around the steel enclosure and wielding all kinds of barbaric weapons against one another, it’s impossible to overstate how refreshingly unique the entire Thunderdome sequence is within the third installment of the Mad Max series.

About the author

Richard Chachowski

Richard Chachowski is an entertainment and travel writer who has written for such publications as Fangoria, Wealth of Geeks, Looper, Screen Rant, Sportskeeda, and MDLinx, among many others. He received his BA from The College of New Jersey and has been a professional writer since 2020.