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Mad Max

Year: 1979
Production Co: Kennedy Miller Productions
Director: George Miller
Producer: George Miller/Byron Kennedy
Writer: Byron Kennedy
Cast: Mel Gibson, Hugh Keays-Byrne, Steve Bisley, Tim Burns, Sheila Florence
This is the movie many would consider Australia's first and most successful commercial effort. It's not as iconic or futuristic as the sequel, and has shades of the existentialism most of the 1970s New Wave was all about, but more so than anything else it was about a good cop, a cruel gang, and a car chase across the unforgiving Australian landscape.

Hugh Keays Byrne as the Toecutter is one of the scariest villains on film and you really feel Max's (Gibson in his star-making turn) desperation to get his wife and infant son away from such a terrifying psychopath.

But it's Tim Burns as Johnny the Boy who gets the more cinematic exit, as Max leaves him with the worst possible choice a baddie's ever had to make.

It was the arrival of a director we really needed at that time – and still do as long as the social workers at Australians various government finance agencies hold the reigns.

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