According to trivia book "Movie Mavericks" by Jon Sandys, one of the more spectacular stunts in the film was actually a serious accident. One of the motorcycle-riding raiders hits a car, flies off the bike, smashes his legs against the car, and cartwheels through the air towards the camera. This was a real, genuine accident: the stuntman was supposed to just fly over the car WITHOUT hitting it. But the near-fatal incident looked so dramatic that it was kept in the movie. The stuntman broke his leg badly, but survived. (If you look at the stuntman's body frame-by-frame through his cartwheels, you can see that one of his legs is bending at a slightly unnatural angle around the knee...ouch.)
The dog used in the film, named simply "Dog", was obtained from a local dog pound and trained to perform in the film. Because the sound of the engines upset him (and in one incident, caused him to relieve himself in the car), he was fitted with special earplugs. After filming was complete, he was adopted by one of the camera operators.
Reasons for Max's strange & mismatched outfit: Right arm of jacket missing - arm was run over by a bike in Mad Max and medics would have cut the sleeve off rather than pull it over a damaged limb. Squeaky leg brace - kneecap shot through in the previous movie. Harness with spanners and other objects dangling off it - for running repairs on his Interceptor. First two fingers of each driving glove missing - easier insertion/ retrieval of shotgun shells from his sawed-off shotgun.
The tanker roll stunt at the end of the chase was deemed so dangerous that the stunt driver was not allowed to eat any food 12 hours before they shot in the likely event that he could be rushed into surgery.
A piece of narration opens the film over a montage of images summarizing what happened to the planet. This was not used for the Australian version.
Humungus was originaly supposed to be Max's partner Jim Goose. They decided against this, but left a few hints, such as horrible burns behind Humungus' goalie mask, his raider's use of police vehicles, and his own use of a similar weapon to the MFP's standard sidearm.
Contributing to the cost of production was the most expensive set ever constructed for an Australian film: the desert compound built in the desert of Broken Hill, New South Wales. The production also boasted the largest explosion ever created for an Australian film, which destroyed that very set.
Renamed "The Road Warrior" for North American distribution because at the time, the original Mad Max had only been released there on a limited basis, so calling it Mad Max 2 would have confused viewers.
Because he was relatively unknown in the US, the trailers did not feature Mel Gibson, but instead focused on the chases and action scenes.
Max's dog was saved from being euthanized by the filmmakers. One day before he was to be put to sleep, members of the crew visited his shelter looking for a pet to cast for the film. He was picked out of a number of other dogs due to him picking up a rock off the ground and playing with it like a toy. The crew members realized the dog could have a real presence on film and had the potential to be trained. Mad Max 2 ended up being the only film he appeared in.
After Mad Max was finished and before that film's release, all of the cars were supposed to be destroyed, including the black Interceptor, but someone thought the Interceptor was too good to lose, so they saved it from the crusher. When the sequel was in its planning stage, someone found out the Interceptor had somehow survived, so they tracked it down, and bought it back.
The logo on the tank truck is "7 Sisters Oil", reference to a conspiracy theory, popular before OPEC-conspiracy theories took over, that Standard Oil and six other companies controlled the world oil
One of the factors which led to using the location was the prediction by rainfall charts that there would be virtually no rainfall during the shoot. But during the shoot, it did rain - the first time there had been rain in over four years. Production was shut down for over a week.
The opening credits and narrated prologue are in mono - the Dolby Stereo sound kicks in on the 'whoosh' sound as the film fast-forwards to the present.
Although it might not look it, the location was actually extremely cold. Mel Gibson would spend his time in between takes huddled under blankets despite being kitted out in a leather outfit, while the marauders suffered in particular with their costumes which deliberately exposed their buttocks.
Director/Co-Writer George Miller was given the rights to this and Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome to get him to step aside as the director of Contact.
The budget for the film was approximately ten times larger than the one for its predecessor.
Mel Gibson's favorite Mad Max film.
Originally, this was the conclusion of the "Mad Max" story, which Max's fate would never had been revealed and George Miller, Terry Hayes and Byron Kennedy had no intentions of making a third installment. However, George Miller had planned to make a post-apocalyptic "Lord of the Flies" film about a tribe of children living in the wild, who are found by an adult. When Miller was suggested that Mad Max is the adult who finds the children, it became the third instalment Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome.
According to cinematographer Dean Semler, the camera rig used to get medium close ups of Max driving required him and an ac to stand on a small platform mounted to the driver's side of the car. They found out during one sequence that they miscalculated the lift, because whenever they went up or down a hill the platform would actually scrape the ground, sending out a shower of sparks. (Initially alarming all involved, they just shrugged and kept shooting without cutting.)
The film that convinced Steven Spielberg that George Miller would be a great choice to direct Nightmare at 20,000 Feet, the fourth (and arguably the best) story in Twilight Zone: The Movie
Original cut of the movie was lot bloodier and more violent but it was cut down heavily by Australian censors. When it was submitted to the MPAA, two additional scenes (Wez graphically pulling an arrow out of his arm and close-up shot of him pulling the boomerang out of his dead boyfriend's head) were cut down. Although there is a version that includes MPAA cuts, there never was any full uncut version with pre-MPAA cuts included.
Humongous' pistol case contains an ornamental skull & crossbones; it appears to be a Totenkopf or "Death's Head" design, an infamous emblem of the Nazi S.S.
George Miller also met with John Seale as a potential cinematographer before giving the job to Dean Semler. Seale would come to the franchise over thirty years later for Mad Max: Fury Road (2015).
Because it was filmed out in a remote region of the Australian Outback, the production team would have to wait 2-3 days before they could get to see the dailies.
Opening scene was originally shot with Max driving past a farm that Wez and others were ransacking while the bodies of the owners that they killed were hanging dead from a tree. During the massacre the sound of a high powered V8 approaching is heard by Wez. In the distance he sees the interceptor with it's large fuel tanks drive past. Wez jumps on his bike and he and the others make chase. The camera then panned out of the car's charger to signify a short passage of time and THEN the scene is as we know it with just Wez and two cars still in pursuit due to the Interceptor's power.
The Road Warrior (1981)
Mad Max 2 (original title)
R | 1h 34min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi | 21 May 1982 (USA)
In the post-apocalyptic Australian wasteland, a cynical drifter agrees to help a small, gasoline rich, community escape a band of bandits.
Director: George Miller
Writers: Terry Hayes (screenplay by), George Miller (screenplay by)
Stars: Mel Gibson, Bruce Spence, Michael Preston