Mad Max Movies in Order & How Many Are There?

Mad Max is an Australian post-apocalyptic action movie franchise created by Byron Kennedy and George Miller. The franchise started with Mad Max in 1979, and so far there have been three sequels: Mad Max 2 (1981), Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985), and Mad Max: Fury Road (2015). The franchise had a significant influence on pop culture, especially in the action genre and apocalyptic fiction. Aside from the Mad Max film series, there are also Mad Max video games and novellas. In 2016, Mad Max: Fury Road was awarded six Academy Awards of its ten nominations.

Mad Max franchise follows Max Rockatansky, a man trying to survive in a future, post-apocalyptic Australia. The land has suffered from societal collapse because of war and resource shortages. He is a lone wolf, a warrior who helps small groups left of society across outback Australia, the so-called Wasteland. It helps by gathering resources or defending against rampaging road gangs. In the first three movies, he is played by Mel Gibson, before handing the mantle to Tom Hardy in the most recent film.

How Many Mad Max Movies Are There?

There are four Mad Max movies. The original called Mad Max was released in 1979. Next, in 1981 came the sequel Mad Max 2, or The Road Warrior as it was called in the United States. Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome is the third installment premiering in 1985. After 30 years, in 2015, Mad Max: Fury Road hit the big screens.

Mad Max Movies In Order (At A Glance)

When released in 1979 Mad Max had a warm reception by critics and it is a staple among action movies. But, the sequel Mad Max 2 which came out 2 years later is considered one the best action movies of all time, proving that not all sequels are worse than the original. Mad Max Thunderdome is regarded as the worst entry to the franchise, but it has one of the most iconic action sequences in the whole franchise. In 2015, Mad Max: Fury Road came out and gave new life to the franchise and took the awards scene by storm. The following are Mad Max movies in order:

  1. Mad Max (1979)
  2. Mad Max 2 (1981)
  3. Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985)
  4. Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)

All 4 movies are action-packed and feature our unlikely hero Max Rockatansky. But did you know that Tina Turner plays the over-the-top eccentric ruler of Bordertown called Aunty Entity in the third installment? And in Mad Max: Fury Road we are introduced to Furiosa, a badass, and she is played by the gorgeous Charlize Theron.

What Is The Best Way To Watch Mad Max Movies?

The best way to watch Mad Max movies is in release order. The first three installments that came out in the 80s are connected and are a great introduction to the characters and the world. The fourth movie, even though not connected to the first three, should be watched last because the knowledge from the previous makes this amazing movie even better.

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Mad Max Movies In Order By Release Date

1. Mad Max (1979)

Director: George Miller
Stars: Mel Gibson, Joanne Samuel, Hugh Keays-Byrne, Steve Bisley
Written By: James McCausland, George Miller
Runtime: 93 minutes

Synopsis: In a not-too-distant dystopian future, when man’s most precious resource — oil — has been depleted and the world plunged into war, famine, and financial chaos, the last vestiges of the law in Australia attempt to restrain a vicious biker gang. Max (Mel Gibson), an officer with the Main Force Patrol, launches a personal vendetta against the gang when his wife (Joanne Samuel) and son are hunted down and murdered, leaving him with nothing but the instincts for survival and retribution.

2. Mad Max 2 (1981)

Director: George Miller
Stars: Mel Gibson, Bruce Spence, Michael Preston, Max Phipps
Written By: Terry Hayes, George Miller, Brian Hannant
Runtime: 96 minutes

Synopsis: After avenging the death of his wife and young son at the hands of a vicious gang leader, Max (Mel Gibson) drives the post-apocalyptic highways of the Australian outback, fending off attacks from nomadic tribes that prey on outsiders. Falling into an encampment led by the relatively peaceful Pappagallo (Mike Preston), Max at first schemes to steal their oil, but soon becomes the group’s reluctant defender against the hulking Humungus (Kjell Nilsson) and his ruthless marauders.

Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985)

Directors: George Miller, George Ogilvie
Stars: Mel Gibson, Tina Turner, Bruce Spence, Adam Cockburn
Written By: Terry Hayes
Runtime: 107 minutes

Synopsis: In the third of the “Mad Max” movies, Max (Mel Gibson) drifts into an evil town ruled by Turner. There he becomes a gladiator and gets dumped in the desert where he is rescued by a band of feral orphans who have been looking for help for years. When several of them take his appearance as a sign and go off into the desert, he follows them back to the town.

4. Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)

Director: George Miller
Stars: Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult, Zoë Kravitz
Written By: Brendan McCarthy, Nick Lathouris, George Miller
Runtime: 120 minutes

Synopsis: Years after the collapse of civilization, the tyrannical Immortan Joe enslaves apocalypse survivors inside the desert fortress the Citadel. When the warrior Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron) leads the despot’s five wives in a daring escape, she forges an alliance with Max Rockatansky (Tom Hardy), a loner and former captive. Fortified in the massive, armored truck the War Rig, they try to outrun the ruthless warlord and his henchmen in a deadly high-speed chase through the Wasteland.

Where To Watch Mad Max Movies?

Mad Max series can be found on HBO Max. Additionally, Mad Max: Fury Road can be found on Netflix as well. All of the four R-rated, actions can be streamed right now!

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Do You Need To Watch Mad Max Movies In Order?

The stories of the first three movies are connected and they should be viewed in release order to make sense. To be honest, Mad Max: Fury Road is so good and stunningly beautiful that you don’t have to watch the first three to enjoy it. The story of this movie is different from the first three movies. But, it goes without saying, that if should watch all of them in release order for maximum enjoyment.  

Are Mad Max Movies Connected?

Only Mad Max (1979), Mad Max 2 (1981), and Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985) are connected story-wise, while Mad Max: Fury Road is a separate story. In the first three movies, we follow Max Rockatansky we meet Max, see him drive the post-apocalyptic highways of the Australian outback, and become a gladiator. In the fourth one, he teams up with Imperator Furiosa to escape a cult leader by driving in an armored tanker truck.

Will There Be More Mad Max Movies?

Two more movies are confirmed in the Mad Max Series, but Tom Hardy revealed he signed a contract for three Mad Max movies after Fury Road. As of now, we know the name of the first sequel- Mad Max: The Wasteland, but there is nothing else we know about the movie. The second announced movie is a spin-off about Furiosa. Anya Taylor- Joy will be staring in the titular role, alongside Chris Hemsworth and Tom Burke will also star in unspecified roles. Filming began in June 2022, and we already have some set photos. The release was announced on May 24, 2024.

  • Marija is a big TV series and film enthusiast. Her guilty pleasures are sitcoms and cheesy romance novels. She loves discussing high fantasy and fiction, especially LOTR, Game of Thrones, Harry Potter and Marvel.