Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

The Road Warrior (1982)
(aka Mad Max 2 (1981))


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

The Road Warrior (1982) (aka Mad Max 2 (1981, Australia))

In George Miller's exciting post-apocalyptic adventure thriller film (a sequel to the grim revenge/action film Mad Max (1979)) - a comic book-styled B-film about an ex-Australian cop known as the "Road Warrior" - or Mad Max Rockatanksy:

  • in the opening prologue (voice by Harold Baigent) - revealed to be spoken in the future by the Feral Kid (Emil Minty) during a flashback; the well-delivered narration told about the post-apocalyptic, lawless wasteland of the outback of Australia, where fuel was very scarce due to a collapse of the oil-based industry, and petrol (now a precious commodity) was fought over by gangs
  • Mad Max was re-introduced, and the environment was described (with mostly black-and-white newsreel footage from the previous original film - including the murder of Max's wife and child by a biker gang): "My life fades, the vision dims. All that remains are memories. I remember a time of chaos, ruined dreams, this wasted land. But most of all, I remember the Road Warrior, the man we called Max. To understand who he was, you have to go back to another time when the world was powered by the black fuel and the deserts sprouted great cities of pipe and steel. Gone now, swept away. For reasons long forgotten, two mighty warrior tribes went to war and touched off a blaze which engulfed them all. Without fuel they were nothing. They'd built a house of straw. The thundering machines sputtered and stopped. Their leaders talked and talked and talked, but nothing could stem the avalanche. Their world crumbled, the cities exploded. A whirlwind of looting, a firestorm of fear. Men began to feed on men. On the roads, it was a white-line nightmare. Only those mobile enough to scavenge, brutal enough to pillage, would survive. The gangs took over the highways, ready to wage war for a tank of juice. And in this maelstrom of decay, ordinary men were battered and smashed. Men like Max, the warrior Max. In the roar of an engine, he lost everything, and became a shell of a man, a burnt out, desolate man, a man haunted by the demons of his past. A man who wandered out into the wasteland. And it was here in this blighted place that he learned to live again."
Mad Max Witnessing the Murder of His Wife During the Opening Voice-Over Narration
  • there were opening (and closing) images of lone cop road warrior Mad Max (Rockatanksy) (Mel Gibson) standing as a lone figure on a highway amidst visions of a post-apocalyptic violent world; an ex-member of the Australian highway patrol (the Main Force Patrol (MFP)), the road warrior wandered the barren, lawless highways of an Australian outback wasteland in his black Interceptor (a black, super-charged V-8 Ford Falcon XB Coupe) along with his Australian cattle dog
  • in an early scene, Max was being chased on an Outback road in Australia by members of an anarchic, violent road gang (two cars and a motorbike); when he activated his booster, he outran the pursuers, and caused the wreckage of the two cars (at the site of a previously-crashed tanker-truck with an empty gas tank); as he collected leaking gasoline from one of the two cars, the only two surviving marauders drove up on their motorbike: injured red mohawk-haired punk crazy warrior Wez (Vernon Wells) (and his blonde male companion) who maniacally and threateningly screamed toward Max - a declaration of vengeance

Max with His Dog in His Interceptor Vehicle

Max Was Pursued in His Interceptor By Two Vehicles and a Motorbike

Max Confronted the Surviving Marauders After Wrecking the Two Cars

Punk Crazy Wez (Vernon Wells) and Blonde Companion on Motorbike
  • a booby-trapped Gyrocopter was piloted by looney, comical helicopter-gyro pilot, Gyro Captain (Bruce Spence), to steal fuel from unsuspecting bypassers; when Max approached, he seized a snake that had been set as a trap to strike at anyone who came close; Max found himself threatened by the Gyro Captain wielding a crossbow, but the tables were turned when Max's dog attacked; Max took the man prisoner as he was directed toward a remote oil refinery 20 miles away that was a promising location for a tanker full of fuel: ("Gas! Fuel! Gasoline! Thousands of gallons of it! As much as you want!")
  • from a rocky promontory, the two watched through binoculars as a nomadic, barbaric, terrorizing horde of Marauders circled the oil refinery; they saw a small, besieged band of decent-living refugees or survivors (in a colony) who were defending a small fuel depot at the refinery; the next day, Max and Gyro watched from afar as a group of townsfolk (in four vehicles going in opposite directions) left the compound (on a sortie); they were immediately pursued by evil, crazed warriors
  • Max and the Gyro Captain observed in horror the capture of the occupants of one vehicle: including the brutal (and lethal) wounding of the male driver Nathan (David Downer) and the rape (and murder) of a female victim (Kathleen McKay); later, Max came upon the devastation and killed the rapist by striking him across the face with a set of bolt cutters; when he came up to badly-wounded Nathan who gratefully thanked him, the amoral Max coldly asserted: "Save it. l'm just here for the gasoline," before driving him back to the settlers' colony to return him
  • inside the compound, Max negotiated with the settler leader Papagallo (Mike Preston) for fuel promised by Nathan, but the leader reneged on the deal when Nathan died: ("If you had a contract, it was with him. And it died with him"), and Max was regarded with great skepticism and as an opportunist: ("He's a parasite! Trading in human flesh! Mercenary trash!"); other prominent members of the settlement were introduced - the Feral Kid (who had been hiding in a tunnel opening), and a strident Warrior Woman (Virginia Hey); with the approach of Humungus' gang, the gates to the refinery were hurriedly closed (with a school bus reinforced and shielded on its sides by armored metal plates) and Max found himself chained to a pipe

The Feral Kid (Emil Minty)

Settler Leader Papagallo (Mike Preston)

Warrior Woman (Virginia Hey)
  • in the next sequence, the warrior-leader Humungus (Kjell Nilsson), who was wearing a black hockey mask to cover his disfigured or battle-scarred face, confronted the colony with a major speech; he showed off two captured colonists (strapped to the front of a vehicle) and the corpses of many others; he was announced by Toady (Max Phipps): "Greetings from The Humungus! The Lord Humungus! The Warrior of the Wasteland! The Ayatollah of Rock and Roller!"
  • Humungus knew that the colonists' sortie was to locate a large semi-tractor rig to haul their fuel-filled oil tanker from the compound: "I am gravely disappointed. Again you have made me unleash my dogs of war. Look at what remains of your gallant scouts. Why? Because you're selfish! You hoard your gasoline....Now, my prisoners say you plan to take your gasoline out of the Wasteland. You sent them out this morning to find a vehicle. A rig big enough to haul that fat tank of gas. What a puny plan! Look around you. This is the Valley of Death.... Humungus will not be defied!"
  • toward the conclusion of his speech during the stand-off, the Feral Kid (emerging from a nearby tunnel opening) flung his metal boomerang at the Marauders, killing Wez's blonde partner; Wez furiously called for an immediate attack: "No! No more talk! We go in! We kill! Kill! We kill 'em! They kill us, we kill them! Kill 'em! Kill 'em! Kill! Kill!" - but Humungus fought against him, subdued him, and took command: "We do it my way. Fear is our ally. The gasoline will be ours. Then you shall have your revenge"
  • before departing, Humungus offered the colonists their lives if they left the refinery and their fuel: "There has been too much violence. Too much pain. But I have an honorable compromise. Just walk away. Give me the pump, the oil, the gasoline and the whole compound, and I'll spare your lives. Just walk away. I will give you safe passage in the Wasteland. Just walk away and there will be an end to the horror. I await your answer. You have one full day to decide"
  • there was a subsequent vigorous debate between many colonists who wanted to give up, while Papagallo and the Warrior Woman argued that they must continue to resist the "vermin on machines" and "defend the fuel"; Max offered to deliver a rig to haul the tanker, the one that was earlier left on the road during the introductory chase; in exchange, he asked for his car filled with fuel: "Two days ago, I saw a vehicle that could haul that tanker. If you wanna get out of here, you talk to me. (later that night) Okay, so that's my offer. I deliver a rig big enough to haul that tanker of yours, you give me back my vehicle and as much juice as I can carry"
  • with the allied help of the Gyro Captain, 5 gallons of diesel fuel were carried in jerry cans to the Gyro Captain's copter, and then the two flew to the big rig-truck - to fill it - before Max drove the truck rig back to the compound; the Gyro Captain reluctantly called out "We're partners" as he watched Max drive away in the rig; he actually helped to create a diversion during their return, when Max was pursued by Wez and other Marauders, by dropping a snake onto Humungus' gang from his gyro-copter; Wez was briefly able to get into the compound on the back of the rig and cause havoc, while the rest of the gang tried unsuccessfully to break through the gate; during the conflict, Papagallo was wounded (with a crossbow-arrow in the leg)

The Gyro Captain Shouting To Max As He Drove Away to Return the Big Rig To the Compound: "We're partners!"

The Gang's Chase After the Big Rig

The Gyro Captain's Diversionary Tactics - The Dropping of a Snake
  • as dawn arrived, Humungus was incensed by the colonists' resistance - he killed their two hostages by crucifying them and lighting them on fire, and then announced he would seek revenge: "You have defied me! You will know the vengeance of The Lord Humungus! I promise you, nobody, nobody gets out of here alive!"
  • a serious discussion ensued between Pappagallo and Max about their contrasting futures; Max refused to drive the truck to the coast and claimed: "I've got all I need here"; Pappagallo tried to dissuade him: "You don't have a future. I could offer you that. Rebuild our lives. Max, buy a ticket for 2,000 miles"; Curmudgeon (Syd Heylen) displayed a multi-paneled post-card: "You have to come, Sonny. This is where we're going. Paradise! 2,000 miles from here. Fresh water, plenty of sunshine. Nothing to do but breed"; Pappagallo asked what Max wanted: "What is it with you, huh? What are ya looking for? C'mon, Max, everyone's lookin' for something. You happy out there, are you? Eh? Wandering, one day blurring into another? You're a scavenger, Max. You're a maggot. Do you know that? You're livin' off the corpse of the old world. Tell me your story, Max. C'mon. Tell me your story. What burned you out, huh? Kill one man too many? See too many people die? Lose some family? (Max gave back an angry glare) Oh, so that's it. You lost some family. That make you something special, does it? Hey? Listen to me. (Max punched him) Do you think you're the only one that's suffered? We've all been through it in here, but we haven't given up. We're still human beings, with dignity. But you, you're out there with the garbage. You're NOTHING!"
Pappagallo vs. Max

Pappagallo: "You don't have a future"

Curmudgeon's Post-Cards Depicting "Paradise" on the North Coast

Max Listening to Pappagallo's Insults
  • Max deserted the colony and drove away from the compound in his Interceptor, but was soon overtaken by Wez (and gang members) who struck Max's windshield with a piece of pipe, cracked it and limited visibility, and caused the vehicle to roll off the road; Max survived although he was seriously injured, and he crawled and hid behind a nearby rock; although Max's dog was killed by a cross-bow arrow, the car's booby-trapped tank exploded, killing Toady and the gang member who had killed the dog; assuming that Max was dead, Wez left the crash site ("It's all over, let's go"); the smoke alerted the Gyro Captain who retrieved the semi-conscious Max and brought him back to the compound in the gyro-copter
  • Pappagallo announced their detailed escape plan - he would drive the truck rig pulling the fuel tanker as a diversion, while the other settlers fled the compound (rigged with explosives) in the opposite direction in a convoy (including the school bus and other vehicles); everyone would rendezvous at sunset: ("Once you're outside there, split up and go as hard as you can. Now, 200 miles to the north, there's a place with a bridge called Powder River. That's our rendezvous. Give us till sunset. If we haven't made it by then, keep going")
  • in the next moment, the semi-recovered, still-wounded Max stumbled out of the infirmary and with a stunning change of heart, announced to everyone: "If it's all the same to you, I'll drive that tanker...I want to drive the truck"; Pappagallo attempted to dissuade him and Zetta (William Zappa) exclaimed: "You couldn't even drive a wheelchair!"; Pappagallo added: "You should look at yourself, Max: You're a mess," but Max insisted: "Come on, cut the crap! I'm the best chance you've got"
  • in the film's exhilarating and fast-paced chase finale - an escape attempt, a wounded Max drove the semi-trailer Mack truck (pulling the fuel-oil tanker guarded by the Warrior Woman and the Mechanic (Steve J. Spears)), with the Feral Kid on the cab (who hopped in at the last second), while Gyro provided air support and Pappagallo drove an escort vehicle

The Warrior Woman Guarding Atop the Tanker
Max at the Wheel of the Truck Pulling the Tanker
  • during the sequence on the road outside the compound, Max was pursued and viciously attacked at breakneck speed by a convoy of bizarre vehicles, souped-up cars and motorcycles, and the savage band of punkish desert vandals; the nomadic warriors flung grappling hooks at the truck, and shot arrows from crossbows at it while leaping from vehicle to vehicle, blew some of the tires, and Gyro's fire-bombing gyroplane was hovering above the action with Molotov cocktails; during the exciting action, there were numerous crashes and deaths, including Wez's murder of the Warrior Woman with a high-powered arrow/dart gun; Humungus also killed Pappagallo with a hurled trident spear into his back

Wez with Arrow Gun That Killed Warrior Woman

Death of Pappagallo

Jump-Scare Moment - Wez Clinging to the Tanker's Front Fender
  • in the climax of the chase sequence, Max turned his Mack tanker truck around, and it crashed head-on into Lord Humungus' car coming from the other direction -- also killing Wez, who was clinging to the front fender of the tanker and was smashed between the two vehicles; after the tanker rolled over onto its side, miraculously, the Feral Kid, Max, and the Gyro Captain survived
  • after the massive destruction of the truck and tanker, in the film's major plot twist, it was revealed that the 40-foot tanker truck - allegedly filled with refined petroleum fuel ("precious juice") that was driven by Max in a breakout drive - had been a decoy as a diversionary tactic; unbeknownst to him, his fuel tanker was filled with reddish sand; the gasoline had secretly been hidden in large drums stored in the school bus (and possibly other vehicles), allowing the small band of settlers to ultimately escape to the northern coast (2,000 miles away) in a convoy; the fuel tanker began leaking its cargo - sand (Max held out his hand to catch some of the sand)
The Major Plot Twist: The Fuel Tanker - Filled With Sand

Max's Discovery: The Tanker was Filled With Sand

Convoy of School Bus and Other Vehicles

Gasoline Was Being Stored in Drums Inside the School Bus
  • the epilogue was conveyed by the same voice-over from the film's opening (from the Feral Kid); the Gyro Captain (who succeeded Pappagallo) went North with the settlers as their new leader, and the Feral Kid (the Narrator) with his bladed boomerang eventually became the Chief of the Great Northern Tribe when the Gyro Captain died
  • the closing lines: "And so began the journey north to safety to our place in the sun. Among us we found a new leader: the man who came from the sky, the Gyro Captain. And just as Pappagallo had planned, we traveled far beyond the reach of men on machines. The juice, the precious juice, was hidden in the vehicles. As for me, I grew to manhood and in the fullness of time, I became the leader the Chief of the Great Northern Tribe. And the Road Warrior? That was the last we ever saw of him. He lives now only in my memories."

Opening Sequence: The First View of the Road Warrior: Mad Max (Mel Gibson)

Max at the Site of a Booby-Trapped Gyrocopter

Confronted by the Gyro Captain (Bruce Spence) with Crossbow

The Barricaded Oil Refinery Colony

Max and Gyro Watched In Horror at Brutality and Rape

Mortal Wounding of Male Driver Nathan

The Brutal Rape and Murder of Female Victim (Kathleen McKay)

Humungus with Two Colonist-Prisoners Tied on Front of His Vehicle

Wez with Blonde Companion

The Colony Surrounded

Toady's Introduction of Humungus

Humungus' Speech

The Feral Kid's Killing of Wez's Blonde Companion with a Boomerang

Wez's Conflict with Humungus: "We kill 'em!"

Humungus' Ultimatum to the Colonists: "Just walk away"

Max's Offer to Get the Colonists a Big Rig to Haul Their Fuel Tanker

Humungus' Angry Declaration of Revenge: "Nobody gets out of here alive!"

Max - Seriously Wounded In His Crashed Interceptor

The Booby-Trapped Interceptor in Flames

Max Rescued in Copter and Flown Back to the Compound

Max: "I'll drive that tanker!...I'm the best chance you've got"

The Final Chase:

Molotov Cocktails Thrown From the Gyro-Copter

Pursuit of the Truck From the Compound

Flight of the Others From the Compound in the School Bus and Other Vehicles

The Booby-Trapped Compound Destroyed by Massive Explosions

Pursuit - Filmed from the Back and from the Front

Wez's Spectacular Death - Crushed by Humungus' Vehicle

Roll-over of the Truck Rig and Fuel Tanker

Last View of the Lone Road Warrior


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