Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985)

mad max beyond thunderdome poster 1985 movie
7.5 Overall Score
Story: 6/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 9/10

Great visuals, Tina Turner, the Thunderdome, Master Blaster

The second half of the film loses direction

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome

Studio:  Kennedy Miller Productions

Genre(s):  Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Action/Adventure

Release Date(s):  July 10, 1985

MPAA Rating:  PG-13


Max…we don’t need another hero…

Max Rockatansky (Mel Gibson) finds his goods stolen by a pilot (Bruce Spence) and his son (Adam Cockburn) which leads him to the community of Bartertown.  Here, Max finds himself embroiled in a power struggle between Aunty Entity (Tina Turner) who is trying to control Bartertown and Master (Angelo Rossitto) who controls the power to Bartertown with his muscle Blaster (Paul Larsson).  When Max is betrayed by Aunty Entity, he’s left in the desert to fend for himself and encounters a group of abandon children who also looking for a hero…something Max does not want to be.


Who rules Bartertown?

Directed by George Miller and George Ogilvie, Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome is the follow-up to the 1981’s Mad Max II (or The Road Warrior as it was known in the U.S.).  The movie was met with mixed reviews but garnered a huge cult following as the Mad Max series’ popularity has grown.  Tina Turner’s accompanying song “We Don’t Need Another Hero (Thunderdome)” was a Top-Ten hit in many countries.

I love Mad Max.  I was just at the right age where Mad Max and Road Warrior were gaining popularity in the United States.  I actually did see Mad Max before The Road Warrior, but probably saw Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome before The Road Warrior also.  Though I enjoy the film immensely, I also think it is my least favorite of the trilogy.


Master-Blaster rules Bartertown!!!

The first Mad Max had that low-budget grindhouse style.  The Road Warrior went all out with an amazing chase scene.  This movie shows the deterioration of Max’s world but lacks the direction of the previous films.  I love the first half of this film with Bartertown, Blaster-Master, the crazed Tina Turner, and of course the awesome Thunderdome, but the movie then switches to the Lost Boys style story with the kids…The train/airplane chase at the end also just doesn’t live up to the epic truck chase of Mad Max II.

The rather stodgy acting of the film still works with the movie.  Tina Turner and some of the other actors in the film aren’t the best actors, but they work here.  The world has fallen apart and the deteriorated language also works.  The delivery of Turner’s lines shows she knows the power of words (so the fact it sounds like she’s reading the script doesn’t matter)…ditto with the kids who can barely speak.  In addition to them, you get the fun Master Blaster…who of course rules Bartertown!


Great, now I get to babysit kids…

Visually is where Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome excels.  The series’ progression from Mad Max to Mad Beyond Thunderdome shows a world collapsing.  It is a lot more raw than the original film, but also shows a society even more on the brink than the “Wild West” of Road Warrior…the machines are starting to run down as the infrastructure collapses.  Plus, you get that great Tina Turner costume.

Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome is a fun movie but doesn’t quite reach the levels of the previous films.  It is worth seeking out all three films and seeing an interesting vision of a post-apocalyptic world.  The film had a moderate success, but despite this, Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome marked the end of the series until 2015 when Mad Max:  Fury Road was released with Tom Hardy replacing Mel Gibson in the leading role.

Related Links:

Mad Max (1979)

The Road Warrior (Mad Max 2) (1981)

Mad Max:  Fury Road (2015)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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