Mad Max, Reaganism and The Road Warrior

  • J. Emmett Winn


IN 1981 THE AUSTRALIAN-MADE FILM The Road Warrior drove into the US film market.(1) The film was well received and quickly became, at that time, the most popular Australian movie ever released in the US, and since its debut has played regularly on US cable television.(2) Much has been written about the international success of this film and its predecessor, Mad Max, and the last in the trilogy Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome.(3) Contributing to that body of research, this paper addresses the American success of this Australian film within the cultural/political context of the US at the time of its North American release, and discusses its resonance with Reaganism. The fundamental goal of this examination is to situate the films in the larger context of cultural hegemony. The importance of this study lies in the critique of these films as they aid us in understanding the...