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The best Mad Max movies, ranked from worst to best

A bloodied Chris Hemsworth holds a gun and a steering wheel in Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga.
Jasin Boland / Warner Bros. Pictures

After nine years, the next chapter in the Mad Max franchise has arrived. But judging from the abysmal Memorial Day box office of Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga, there may not be any more trips to the wasteland for these films. That’s unfortunate because director George Miller has been directing and writing Mad Max movies since 1979, and they’re a cut above standard action flicks.

Now that Furiosa is in theaters, we’re ranking all the Mad Max movies from worst to first. If you’re a fan of the franchise, No. 1 is not going to surprise you. And aside from Furiosa, all of the other films are currently streaming on Max.

5. Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985)

Mel Gibson in Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome.
Roadshow Film Distributors

Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome notably gave the late Tina Turner one of her most memorable acting roles as Aunty Entity, the leader of Bartertown and the final villain that Mel Gibson’s Max fought in theaters. In order to reclaim his car, Max agrees to fight Aunty Entity’s rival, The Master (Angelo Rossitto), and his protector, The Blaster (Paul Larsson), in the deadly arena known as the Thunderdome.

When Entity inevitably betrays Max after he refuses to kill the combatants, she sentences him to die in the wasteland. However, Max doesn’t surrender to death, and he makes some new alliances to return to Bartertown and get his revenge on Entity.

Watch Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome on Max.

4. Mad Max (1979)

Mel Gibson as Mad Max in the movie, standing with a leather jacket and looking to the right.

Gibson was still a relative unknown when he portrayed Max Rockatansky for the first time in Mad Max. This movie is radically different from each of the films that followed it because there is still some semblance of society and civilization. Max is even an officer in the Australian Main Force Patrol, which attempts to keep the peace on the increasingly dangerous roads.

Nobody gave Toecutter (Hugh Keays-Byrne), Johnny the Boy (Tim Burns), and the rest of their biker gang the memo about keeping things civil, though. They target Max’s best friend on the MFP, Jim “Goose” Rains (Steve Bisley) before turning their focus on Max’s wife, Jessie (Joanne Samuel), and their child. If Max wasn’t “mad” before, he soon will be.

Watch Mad Max on Max.

3. Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga (2024)

Anya Taylor-Joy stands on a dusty road and glances over her shoulder in a still from Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga.
Warner Bros. / Warner Bros.

Just because Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga falls in the middle of the pack, it doesn’t mean this isn’t a great action flick. It’s just not as good as the two movies in front of it. It took nine years for Miller to get around to making a prequel to Mad Max: Fury Road, with Anya Taylor-Joy taking over the title role from Charlize Theron as a much younger Furiosa.

This movie is Furiosa’s origin story, as it chronicles how she was abducted by the warlord Dementus (Chris Hemsworth) as a child before she seeks her revenge on him as a young woman. Getting to Dementus is easier said than done, because he’s assembled an army around him. But that army hasn’t realized just how far Furiosa is willing to go.

Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga is now playing in theaters. 

2. Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (1981)

Mel Gibson in Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior.
Roadshow Film Distributors

Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior was where the franchise figured out what it was going to be. Rather than clinging to the last vestiges of civilization as in the previous film, Mad Max (Gibson) is now a loner who is scavenging for food and fuel in the wasteland in order to survive.

Max makes new enemies out of a biker gang led by Lord Humungus (Kjell Nilsson), a bad guy who was rocking a hockey mask while Friday the 13th‘s Jason Voorhees was still refining his look. Max also has an uneasy alliance with Pappagallo (Mike Preston) and his group of settlers, who don’t have many qualms about stealing Max’s car or his fuel. Regardless, the settlers need Max’s help in order to survive, and he needs them as well.

Watch Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior on Max.

1. Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)

Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron as Max and Furiosa in Mad Max: Fury Road.
Warner Bros.

Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron reportedly did not get along at all while making Mad Max: Fury Road, and that tension is apparent between their respective characters, Mad Max and Furiosa. They very convincingly hate each other for most of this movie.

The one thing that Max and Furiosa have in common is that they hate her old boss, Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne), even more than they dislike each other. When Furiosa decides to help Joe’s wives escape from his clutches, Max reluctantly gets involved in helping the women escape. But it’s a long journey in the wasteland, and Joe isn’t about to let his wives go without a fight. If Max and Furiosa want to survive, they’ll have to figure out how to coexist and work as a team.

Watch Mad Max: Fury Road on Max.

Editors' Recommendations

Blair Marnell
Blair Marnell has been an entertainment journalist for over 15 years. His bylines have appeared in Wizard Magazine, Geek…
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