With all the hype about Mad Max: Fury Road we thought it would be cool to give you some of the trivia and rumors that surround the original 1979 Mad Max movie.
The original movie only had a $35,000 budget and was mostly funded by George Miller who worked as an emergency room doctor. His experience in the ER helped significantly with the realism of the car accident scene.
Mel Gibson didn’t actually audition for the part of Max, he went to the audition with his friend Steve Bisley. Mel had been in a fight the night before and, according to him, looked like “a black and blue pumpkin.” Mel was told to come in a few weeks later because they needed freaks, at which time he read for a part and was given the role of Max. Mel’s friend Steve Bisley got the role of Jim Goose
The Blue Van that was crashed during the opening scene belonged to George Miller. It had the engine removed and was pushed into the path of the oncoming cars for the crash. Because the engine was removed the vehicle was significantly lighter creating the uncontrollable spin and making the scene that much better.
The very first scene that was shot was of Johnny the Boy (Tim Burns) breaking the chain on the overpass phone. Part of the reason for the rushed scene was the fact that they didn’t have permission to film there and were trying to get it done before they were caught.
Max’s name is Max Rockatansky, which is seen printed on the side of the yellow Pursuit Special, apparently “The Dark One” was supposed to be Max’s original partner.
The name Rockatansky came from a 19th-century pathologist named Carl von Rokitansky, who is the originator of the Rokitansky procedure, a common method to remove internal organs during an autopsy.
The ‘get-out-of-jail-free card’ that Goose gives the triker is an inside joke. To save money they hired an actual bike gang. Each day the gang rode to the set in costume, many of them carrying prop weapons. Fully expecting them to be stopped by police, each biker was given a letter explaining the film and hoping that police would let them off.
Because the budget was so low, many of the police interceptors were frequently repainted to be used in different scenes, and apparently the paint was still wet during filming.
There was only one set of actual leathers used in the film, everyone else wore vinyl costumes. Whether it was Max or Goose in the real leathers is up for debate (Depending which site you read,) but it was probably Goose as Max later has a torn left knee during the fight with Johnny and the other knee is torn when he is shot.
The motorcycles are late-model demos donated by Kawasaki and many of them were kept by the bikers after shooting.
The Nightrider’s crash did not go as planned, but still resulted in some spectacular effects. They installed a military booster rocket in the back of the car, apparently if went out of control, missed the fuel tanker and veered off into a field where it chased the film crew for a quarter-mile. The actual explosion was later recreated with a towed car.
The Australian accents were deemed too difficult for American audiences to understand so before the film was released in the U.S. it was redubbed with American voices. The 2002 special edition DVD was the first US DVD to feature the original Australian track. The only original voice kept in the American release was the singer from the nightclub, Robina Chaffey.
The term “V8 Interceptor” was not used until Mad Max 2:The Road Warrior, in the original movie it was the “Pursuit Special” After Max takes the car, the MFP dispatcher says over the radio, “Code unspecified. We have a query/locate on a black Pursuit Special: Unauthorized use by a Main Force officer.”
The yellow interceptor car was a decommissioned police car and was a Ford Falcon XB sedan.
The handcuffs that Max uses on Johnny the Boy are toy handcuffs
The road sign near the beginning of the film that read: “Anarchie” and “Bedlam” actually exists in Australia