Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985)

In George Miller's third Mad Max film, set in a post-apocalyptic parched world:

  • the wooden sign welcoming entrants to the remote Bartertown in the Australian desert: "Helping Build a Better Tomorrow"
  • the arrival of nomadic pilgrim and ex-cop "Mad Max" Rockatansky (Mel Gibson) in Bartertown where he was told by the town's corrupt and charismatic overlord Aunty Entity (Tina Turner) and the bald Collector (Frank Thring) that power was generated from methane-rich "pig s--t" in Bartertown's Underworld: ("Pigs--t. The lights, the motors, the vehicles - all run by a high-powered gas called methane. Methane comes from pigs--t")
  • the promotion of ritualized gladiatorial conflict to settle disputes - in the massive caged Thunderdome, surrounded by a bloodthirsty audience clinging to the bars; Aunty Entity urged Max to challenge and combat her rival - the weirdly-original, two-person Master-Blaster, composed of a "little one" (dwarf-midget) known as the Master (Angelo Rossitto) who controlled Underworld - "Master" was also "the brains" who rode on the back of the hulking, "muscle"-bound body known as Blaster (Paul Larsson)
The Thunderdome's Master of Ceremonies:
"Dying Time's Here!"
The Two-Part Master-Blaster
Aunty Entity
(Tina Turner)
  • Aunty Entity's introduction to the Thunderdome proceedings: ("Welcome to another edition of Thunderdome!")
  • the fight was set up by the black-robed, ghoulish Master of Ceremonies, Dr. Dealgood (Edwin Hodgeman), who held a scepter: ("Listen on! Listen on! This is the truth of it. Fighting leads to killing, and killing gets to warring. And that was damn near the death of us all. Look at us now, busted up and everyone talking about hard rain. But we've learned by the dust of them all. Bartertown's learned. Now when men get to fighting, it happens here. And it finishes here. Two men enter, one man leaves. And right now, I've got two men. Two men with a gut full of fear. Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls dying time's here!")
  • the introduction of the two combatants: Mad Max against the Master-Blaster: ("He's the ball cracker. Death on foot. You know him. You love him! He's Blaster! The challenger, direct from out of the Wasteland. He's bad. He's beautiful. He's crazy! It's the man with no name! Thunderdome's simple. Get to the weapons, use them anyway you can. I know you won't break the rules. There aren't any. Remember where you are. This is Thunderdome. Death is listening, and will take the first man that screams. Prepare! Two men enter, one man leaves!")
  • the scene of the spectators hanging on the giant caged dome and cheering the gladiatorial action between the battling protagonists bouncing on rubbery elastic bungee-type straps within the bars of the Thunderdome, and the denouement when Max blew on his high-pitched whistle (the sound was Blaster's weakness and incapacitated him), and then knocked off Blaster's helmet with a sledgehammer - and "Master" was revealed to be a retarded child: ("He's got the mind of a child") - and after a long hesitation, Max made a decision to disobey Aunty Entity and not kill his opponent; suddenly, Aunty's guards killed Blaster
  • Aunty announced Max's punishment for not killing Master and for breaking the deal of "Two men enter, one man leaves": (to the crowd) ("What's this?! Do you think I don't know the law? Wasn't it me who wrote it? And I say that this man has broken the law. Right or wrong, we had a deal. And the law says, 'Bust a deal, face the wheel'")
Dr. Dealgood at the Wheel to Determine Max's Fate
"All Our Lives Hang by a Thread"
  • the scene of Max's sentencing, after the spinning of a wheel to determine his penalty and fate, commented upon by Dr. Dealgood: ("All our lives hang by a thread. Now we've got a man waiting for sentence. But ain't it the truth? You take your chances with the law. Justice is only a roll of the dice, a flip of the coin, a turn of the wheel") - the wheel landed on "GULAG"
  • the exile of Max when he was banished into the desert wasteland of Gulag on the back of a pack animal during a sandstorm, where he was rescued by a tribal group of abandoned feral children and teenagers led by Savannah Nix (Helen Buday) who lived in a lush green oasis at the bottom of a rift in the desert; she called Max "Captain Walker" and expected him to magically fly them "home" back to civilization, a mythical place known as "Tomorrow-morrow Land" - seen in a few slides in a hand-held picture viewer (with pictures of Sydney, Australia before the apocalypse); the youths were descendants of the victims of an earlier Boeing 747 airplane that crashed, piloted by Captain Walker; its ill-fated flight was to escape the crumbling post-atomic cities
  • in the conclusion, the return of Max to Bartertown to rescue some of the tribe's members (and to free "Master" and take him along to help build a new home for the tribe), involving a classic, lengthy desert chase sequence in junkmobiles between Max and Aunty Entity (who wished to recapture "Master") - the chase ended with her smiling farewell to Max when she spared his life: ("Well, ain't we a pair, Raggedy Man? Ha, ha, ha. Goodbye, soldier")
  • the final flight toward abandoned, burned-out, dilapidated, nuclear-devastated Sydney, Australia -- and the epilogue -- Savannah Nix's poignant closing voice-over narrated monologue (her nightly Tell) about the tribe's journey and its salvation by Mad Max: ("This you know. The years travel fast. And time after time I done the Tell. But this ain't one body's Tell. It's the Tell of us all. And you got to listen it and remember. 'Cause what you hears today, you gotta tell the newborn tomorrow. I's lookin' behind us now, into history back. I sees those of us that got the luck and started the haul for home. And I 'members how it led us here and how we was heartful 'cause we seen what there once was. One look, and we knewed we'd got it straight. Those what had gone before had the knowin' and the doin' of things beyond our reckonin' - even beyond our dreamin'. Time counts and keeps countin', and we knows now finding the trick of what's been and lost ain't no easy ride. But that's our trek, we gotta travel it. And there ain't nobody knows where it's gonna lead. Still in all, every night we does the Tell, so that we 'member who we was and where we came from. But most of all we 'members the man who finded us, him that came the salvage, and we lights the city. Not just for him, but for all of them that are still out there. 'Cause we knows there'll come a night when they sees the distant light, and they'll be comin' home")
The Tribe's Salvation by Mad Max - Flight From Desert -
and Savannah's Narrated Epilogue

Bartertown Sign

In Bartertown: A City Powered by "Pig Shit"

Blaster's Helmet Dislodged, Revealing Retarded "Master"

Aunty Entity's Punishment For Max For Disobeying Deal: "Bust a Deal, Face the Wheel"

Max's Sentencing:
Exile to Gulag

Savannah Nix
(Helen Buday)

The Feral Children

The Paradise Known as "Tomorrow-morrow Land" (Pre-Apocalyptic Sydney)

Lengthy Desert Chase

Aunty Entity Sparing Max - and Her Farewell to Him: ("Well, ain't we a pair, raggedy man?...Goodbye, soldier")


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