The film takes place two years after Mad Max. Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome takes place four years after the this movie.
Terry Hayes, George Miller and Brian Hannant were inspired by both Akira Kurosawa's samurai films and Joseph Campbell's book "The Hero With a Thousand Faces."
In one scene, Max eats a can of "Dinki-Di" dog food. "Dinki-Di" is Australian slang for "genuine, real."
The most expensive Australian film produced up to the time.
The purpose of the narration and footage from Mad Max at the beginning of the film, was to reintroduce the character of Max and to connect the world of "Mad Max 2" with "Mad Max" and to explain the back-story of why gasoline supplies were low, why crime was out of control and why the nuclear war, which happened a couple of weeks after "Mad Max" happened and the story was told from The Feral Kid's point of view, which is why he is the narrator.
The black Interceptor driven by Mel Gibson is a 1973 Ford Falcon XB GT Coupe, a car exclusive to Australia. A limited number of these cars were exported by Ford to New Zealand, South Africa (badged as a Fairmont - which was the upscale model of the Falcon), Thailand, and the United Kingdom, but never to North America (Australian Ford vehicles were not marketed in the USA since they were right hand drive). The Falcon XB (and previous XA model introduced in March 1972) had styling cues similar to the USA-market 1971-73 Mustang and 1970/71 Torino which was a clean sheet design unique to Australia since the Falcon nameplate was phased out in the USA in 1970 (last used as part of the Fairlane 500 and Torino series right after the final USA Falcons were phased out). Since only 949 of that particular model Falcon were ever produced, they have become highly sought after by car collectors on six continents; there are over 100 of them that have been brought over to the United States so far since 1998 (the U.S. Department of Transportation amended its importation policy where import automobiles 25 model years old or older are eligible for import into the USA regardless of compliance with the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards), primarily by importing/replica car companies like www.madmaxcars.com (The largest importer and builder of mad max replicas in the USA) along with several Interceptor replicas assembled from "non-GT" & "GT" Falcon coupes.
When the gyrocopter flies off carrying 2 people, one of them is a dummy as 2 real people would have been too heavy for the machine to carry.
On the Blu-Ray release, the credits refer to the film by it's original title, "Mad Max 2" rather than the American title "The Road Warrior", which had been used on most DVD releases.
More than 80 vehicles were involved in the production.
When Max comes back to the tractor to retrieve it, a squealing sound is heard as the engine is trying to turn over. This sound is caused because the truck has an AIR starter as opposed to an electrical starter. AIR starters were used briefly in the US in the 80's, then phased out because they did not perform well in cold temperatures.
Max's friendship with The Feral Kid was inspired by Shane, a nod to the friendship between Shane and Joey Starrett.
The first Australian film mixed in a Dolby soundtrack.
The yellow graffiti on the tractor trailer at the Mundi Mundi lookout reads "The Vermin Have Inherited the Earth".
The picture of the nude woman on the vertical stabilizer of the gyro is Karen Price, Playboy's January, 1981 centerfold. (She is most noticeable when Max first approaches the machine while the Gyro Captain is hiding under the sand.)
This film is considered an "Ozploitation" (Australian exploitation) picture.
The set for the refinery compound was blown up on 22 July 1981. The shot of marauders in the compound just before the explosion was filmed soon after dawn, with a waning gibbous moon visible in one scene.
Dean Semler returned to the same locations in Broken Hill, New South Wales, 6 years later to shoot Russell Mulcahy's Razorback.
In the opening scene, Max stands near a roadside sign that says "Mundi Mundi Look Out", where the movie was shot. The other locations on the sign are One Tree Hill 50, Los Angeles 3500, Casablanca 3500, London 4500.
The Warrior Woman had not been considered by George Miller to be a potential love interest of Max.
During production, co-writer Brian Hannant was drawn to a rock formation at Wilpena in South Australia, which inspired him to write a screenplay for a science fiction film about a soldier from a dark post apocalyptic future who arrives in 20th century Australia to prepare for the arrival of a city that has the ability to travel across time and space that is pursued by evil robots. That film was The Time Guardian (1987).
Emil Minty never says a word. He just growls. Its not until the end that we learn the film's narrator is actually The Feral Kid all grown up.
Most of the final action sequences (including Pappagallo's death by trident machete, Wez's final attempt to kill the Feral Kid, then the collision between Max's truck and Humungus' hot rod) were filmed on 24 July 1981. The collision caused more damage to the truck than expected, so the truck's turnover (scheduled for the same day) had to be postponed. The truck was repaired, then crashed the following day.
Max befriending The Feral Kid foreshadowed the following film Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, in which Max is rescued by a tribe of children, after he is banished and left to die in the post-apocalyptic Australian desert by the evil ruler of Bartertown, Aunty Entity.
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