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definition - Mad_Max_Beyond_Thunderdome

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Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome

Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome

Original theatrical release poster by Richard Amsel
Directed by George Miller
George Ogilvie
Produced by Terry Hayes
George Miller
Doug Mitchell
Written by Terry Hayes
George Miller
Starring Mel Gibson
Tina Turner
Music by Maurice Jarre
Cinematography Dean Semler
Editing by Richard Francis-Bruce
Studio Kennedy Miller Productions
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Release date(s)
  • 10 July 1985 (1985-07-10)
Running time 107 minutes
Country Australia
Language English
Budget A$12,000,000 (estimated)[1]
Box office $36,230,219[2]

Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome is a 1985 Australian post-apocalyptic film directed by George Miller and George Ogilvie, written by Miller, Doug Mitchell and Terry Hayes, and starring Mel Gibson and Tina Turner. It is the third installment in the action movie Mad Max series, its story taking place fifteen years after that of the previous film. The original music score was composed by Maurice Jarre.



Max Rockatansky rides a camel-drawn wagon across the Australian desert when he is attacked by Jedediah, a pilot flying a Transavia PL-12 Airtruk, who steals his belongings and vehicle. Max continues on foot and stumbles upon the only nearby human outpost in the wasteland—the seedy community of Bartertown, founded and run by the ruthless Aunty Entity.

In Bartertown, electricity, vehicles, functioning technology are made possible by a crude methane refinery, fueled by pig feces. The refinery is located under Bartertown and is operated by the diminutive Master, who is carried around by his enormously strong bodyguard, Blaster. "Master Blaster" holds an uneasy truce with Aunty for control of Bartertown. Master, however, is beginning to exploit his position with energy "embargoes," challenging Aunty's leadership. She is furious with him but cannot challenge him publicly, as Master is the only one with the technical know-how to operate the machinery that powers Bartertown. The controlled chaos of Bartertown is maintained by a set of inflexible laws, including one that states that no contract can be broken, for any reason. The punishment for breaking this law is equally inflexible and invoked with the simple phrase, "bust a deal, face the wheel."

Upon entering Bartertown Max meets the Collector who recommends his talents to Aunty Entity. After being tested in a difficult audition, Aunty recognises Max as a resourceful fighter, and strikes a deal with him to provoke a duel with Blaster in the "Thunderdome," a gladiatorial arena where conflicts are resolved by a duel to the death. On his request so he can get a glimpse of Master Blaster, Max goes into Underworld, where he befriends a convict who was imprisoned for killing a pig in order to feed his children, and thus nicknamed Pig Killer (Robert Grubb). While there, Max discovers that Blaster is exceptionally strong, but is extremely sensitive to high pitched noises. Max finds his stolen vehicle in Master Blaster's possession and in an effort to size-up Blaster's fighting strengths, confronts them both, resulting in the necessary challenge to enter Thunderdome. The rules of Thunderdome, as chanted by onlookers crowding the arena, are simple —"two men enter, one man leaves." After a difficult match, Max defeats Blaster, with the aid of a high pitched whistle, but refuses to kill him when he discovers that Blaster is little more than a man-child with developmental disabilities. An enraged Aunty has Blaster executed and invokes the law since Max broke his deal with her. They wheel out a large, spinning metal disc (similar to a Wheel of Fortune) with several consequences. Possible outcomes include Death, Hard Labour, Complete Acquittal, Gulag, Aunty's Choice, Spin Again, Forfeit Goods, Underworld, Amputation, and Life Imprisonment. When spun for Max, it lands on "Gulag," resulting in his exile to the desert wasteland, strapped to the back of a horse. The horse runs after a bottle of water strapped in front of its face.

Some time later, Max is near death due to exposure. He is saved, though, by a group of children led by Savannah Nix. The children, hardened to the desert environment, are descendants of the survivors of a nearby crashed Qantas Boeing 747. They have formed a tribe in the sheltered oasis. Clinging to the hope of rescue, they keep their memories of the past civilization alive in the form of spoken "tells", including the return of the messianic "Captain Walker" who will repair the aircraft and return them to civilization. The "tell" explains that Flight Captain G.L. Walker at one point took the adults to seek help, promising they would be back to rescue the rest, but never returned. One of the kids is seen with a "sonic", a record attached to a stick. Max looks so much like Walker, the children believe that he has indeed returned to take them to "Tomorrow-morrow Land." After nursing him back to health, they are shocked that Max insists that they remain in the relative safety of the oasis, knowing that the only "civilization" within reach is the rough and hellish Bartertown.

Some of the children decide to leave anyway, determined to find "Tomorrow-morrow land," so Max goes after them.

Max catches up with them at the outskirts of Bartertown. They sneak in, intent on finding Master. Without Blaster to protect him, Master is little more than Aunty's slave. Max and the children free him (with the assistance of Pig Killer, who also escapes), but alert the guards, and a chase ensues, resulting in Bartertown's methane factory being rocked with a number of explosions, ending at the hideout of Jedediah. The kids then find out that the "sonic" is just an old French learning record. Max coerces Jedediah to help them escape in his plane, but there is too much weight and not enough runway between them and the attackers' vehicles, so Max takes a truck and drives it in front of the airplane, smashing through the roadblock, allowing the plane to take off. Max is found by Aunty, but having earned her respect, she spares his life.

Some time later, the children are in the ruins of a destroyed Sydney, lit up by thousands of fires and lights. Savannah, the leader of the children, recites a nightly "tell" of their journey and the man who saved them.


  • Tina Turner as Aunty Entity, the ruthless, determined ruler of Bartertown. Entity is a glamorous, Amazon-like figure who recognises a strength of character in Max, and hopes to exploit him in order to gain sole control of Bartertown from Master. Despite her brutality and Bartertown's chaos, Entity is an intelligent, cultured woman, who holds a hope of one day rebuilding society to its former glory.
  • Adam Cockburn as Jedediah Jr., Jedediah's son, who often helps his father steal supplies, flying his dad's plane whilst Jedediah procures the goods.
  • Frank Thring as The Collector, head of Bartertown's trade and exchange network.
  • Angelo Rossitto as Master, a diminutive former engineer, who parlays his technical expertise into building the methane extractor responsible for Bartertown's electricity. When the film begins, Master has grown power-crazed under the protection of Blaster, and frequently humiliates Entity into acknowledging his power. When Blaster is killed, however, Master becomes a far more subdued, humble character, and eventually escapes with the help of Pig Killer and the children.
  • Paul Larsson as Blaster, Master's silent, mentally-impaired bodyguard.
  • Angry Anderson as Ironbar Bassey, head of Bartertown's security and Aunty Entity's Number One Henchman. Despite his short height he is a fierce warrior figure, wearing a doll's head standard on his back, who comes to dislike Max more and more as the film proceeds. He is eventually killed in the film's climatic chase sequence.
  • Robert Grubb as Pig Killer, a convict in Bartertown sentenced to work in the methane refinery, shovelling pig feces. He befriends Max, and when Max and the children return to rescue Master, Pig Killer escapes to help them.
  • Helen Buday as Savannah Nix, leader of a tribe of child survivors (or the children of those survivors) from a crashed 747. Savannah is the one who ensures the tribe remembers its past through the "tells," and acts as a surrogate mother figure to many of them. She is also the partner of Slake.
  • Tom Jennings[3] as Slake M'Thirst, the male leader of the child tribe.
  • Edwin Hodgeman as Dr. Dealgood, the flamboyant Master of Ceremonies and chief auctioneer of Bartertown.
  • Amber Bennett[4] as a 2 year old listening to the story of how the tribe arrived in Tomorrow-morrow land.


George Miller, director of the first two Mad Max movies, lost interest in the project after his friend and producer Byron Kennedy was killed in a helicopter crash while location scouting. Miller later agreed to direct the action sequences, with George Ogilvie directing the rest of the film. There is a title card at the end that says, "...For Byron".

Critical reaction to the film was generally positive, it holds an 81% rating on Rotten Tomatoes,[5] although reviewers were mixed regarding whether they considered the film the highest or lowest point of the Mad Max trilogy. Most of the criticism was focused on the children in the second half of the film, which many felt was too reminiscent of the Lost Boys from Peter Pan.[6] On the other hand, critics praised the Thunderdome scene in particular; critic Roger Ebert called the Thunderdome "the first really original movie idea about how to stage a fight since we got the first karate movies" and praised the fight between Max and Blaster as "one of the great creative action scenes in the movies."[7]

American Film Institute Lists

  Additional scenes

Further scenes that would have fleshed out the character of Max much more than shown in the final movie were cut before international release for the sake of reducing the running time.

  1. Max sleeps soundly for the first time in many years in Crack in Earth (the oasis) and wakes up after dreaming of his wife and son, murdered by bikers in the first movie and starts to cry, realizing that he is no better than the "goons and crooks" that he used to hunt as an MFP officer.
  2. Max takes Gekko (the child from the tribe with the vinyl record tied to a stick) to the top of a sand dune at night, facing the lights of Bartertown and as the boy lies dying, tells him that they have reached Tomorrow-morrow land and are home.[10]


Capitol Records originally released the soundtrack album in 1985. It included the movie's theme song, Tina Turner's "We Don't Need Another Hero (Thunderdome)", which reached #1 in Canada, #2 in the U.S. and #3 in the British single charts. A double CD containing only Maurice Jarre's original music was issued in 2010 on Tadlow Music/Silva Screen Records.

  In popular culture

  Box office

Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome grossed $4,272,802 at the box office in Australia,[11] which is equivalent to $10,169,269 in 2009 dollars.


  External links



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