The Road Warrior (1981)

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Max and the Gyro Captain help a group of post-apocalyptic survivors transfer oil past a gang lead by Lord Humungus.


Genre

Post-Apocalyptic, War

Characters/Groups

Max - Mel Gibson

The Gyro Captain - Bruce Spence

Pappagallo - Mike Preston

The Toadie - Max Phipps

Wez - Vernon Wells

The Humungus - Kjell Nilsson

The Feral Kid - Emil Minty

Warrior Woman - Virginia Hey

Zetta - William Zappa

The Captain's Girl - Arkie Whiteley

Mechanic - Steve J. Spears

Curmudgeon - Syd Heylen

Big Rebecca - Moira Claux

Nathan - David Downer

Quiet Man - David Slingsby

Mechanic's Assistant - Kristoffer Greaves

Broken Victim - Max Fairchild

Defiant Victim - Tyler Coppin

Golden Youth - Jimmy Brown

Grinning Mohawker - Tony Deary

Victim - Kathleen McKay

Bearclaw Mohawk - Guy Norris

Tent Lovers - Anne Jones and James McCardell

Voice of Narrator - Harold Baigent

Dog

Derek

Timbo

The Humungus' Gang

The Refinery Settlers

Character thumbnails with links to profiles

Detailed Synopsis

The Voice of Narrator begins, "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."

Near Mundi Mundi Look Out, Max and Dog are being chased by Wez and members of The Humungus' Gang. Max starts to run low on fuel and Dog goes to the back of the vehicle. As a member of Humungus' Gang fires a bolt at Max, Max hits the breaks and the bolt hits Wez in the arm. Max then rams the one vehicle causing it to crash into another vehicle being driven by a member of Humungus' Gang. Max stops his vehicle and begins to collect fuel from the destroyed vehicle. Wez rides up and pulls the dart out of his arm, screams at Max and rides away. Max searches a semi with trailer attached and finds the driver dead and a music chime that plays Happy Birthday to You, which he keeps. As he is driving, Max comes across a gyrocopter parked in a clearing. He pulls over and sees a snake coiled on the gyrocopter. As Max grabs the snake, The Gyro Captain climbs out of a hiding spot and points a crossbow at Max. The Gyro Captain taunts Max about stealing his gas, and Max warns him the tanks on his vehicle are booby trapped. The Gyro Captain makes Max turn off the explosives trigger on the bottom of his vehicle, but is then attacked by Dog. Max pulls a knife on The Gyro Captain who makes a deal to spare his life in exchange for telling Max the location of a working oil refinery.

They drive to a hill near the refinery and park before climbing towards the top of the hill. As Max is using his binoculars to spy on The Refinery Settlers, he sees them being attacked by The Humungus' Gang, and sees Wez ride up and yell something to The Humungus. Max chains The Gyro Captain to a dead tree and continues to monitor the refinery. One evening, The Humungus and his Gang drive away from the refinery. In the morning, a group of vehicles leave the refinery and drive in different directions. They are quickly followed and overtaken by The Humungus' Gang. He watches the progress of one vehicle and sees it crash. He sees Victim being raped and Nathan being pulled out and shot with a crossbow bolt by Wez. Wez and Golden Youth leave and most of the other Gang follow. Max leaves and The Gyro Captain continues to watch what is happening and sees Grinning Mohawker kill Victim with a crossbow bolt. Max walks up to Grinning Mohawker and kills him by hitting him in the head with bolt cutters. He then goes to Nathan, who is still alive and makes an agreement with him to take Nathan back to the refinery in exchange for all of the fuel he can take.

Max drives to the refinery and Big Rebecca cries out when she sees him carrying Nathan. Zetta yells to Derek to have a stretcher ready and Big Rebecca starts blaming Pappagallo for Nathan's injuries and Curmudgeon says he warned them that Pappagallo's plan was madness. Pappagallo starts questioning Max and Quiet Man walks up and asks about Victim and Max tells him Victim is dead. Max mentions the deal he had with Nathan and Warrior Woman tells Pappagallo to give Max nothing and Curmudgeon calls Max a parasite. Timbo attends to Nathan, but he dies and Pappagallo tells Max he only had a contract with Nathan and so he will get nothing. As Max is being kicked out of the refinery, his vehicle is rolled inside and Mechanic comments on it being the last of the V8's and shows Max the trigger mechanism he managed to take off. Dog runs out of the vehicle and starts chewing at Mechanic. A lookout yells The Humungus is coming back and everyone scrambles to secure the refinery and Max is handcuffed to a pole by Warrior Woman. As The Humungus and his Gang are driving up, Broken Victim, who along with Defiant Victim are tied up to the front of The Humungus' vehicle, yells at The Refinery Settlers not to attack. The Toadie introduces The Humungus who chastises The Refinery Settlers for attempting a puny plan. Defiant Victim yells to give Humungus nothing and Wez runs up and headbutts him. The Feral Kid throws his metal boomerang at Wez, who ducks it and when The Feral Kid throws it again, it hits Golden Youth in the head, killing him. Wez throws the boomerang back at The Feral Kid and misses him and when it is returning, The Toadie tries to catch it and has his fingers cut off. After his Gang laughs at The Toadie, Humungus tells them to be quiet and says he has an offer for The Refinery Settlers. Wez demands they go in and kill them, but The Humungus chokes him unconscious after telling him they will have their revenge after they get the gas. The Humungus has Bearclaw Mohawk take Wez away and then makes his offer. He tells The Refinery Settlers if they leave everything, he will give them safe passage out of the wasteland, and they have one day to decide.

After The Humungus leaves, Quiet Man shoots an arrow and yells they will never walk away. Big Rebecca wants to accept The Humungus' offer, while Warrior Woman and Zetta don't. Curmudgeon offers to speak with The Humungus and Pappagallo thinks their sacrifices would be for nothing if they walked away. The Feral Kid shows Max his boomerang and Max gives The Feral Kid the music chime he found. Warrior Woman says she is staying, while the majority of the others throw down their weapons and The Captain's Girl says they get weaker while Humungus gets stronger. Max whistles and tells them he knows where a semi is that can haul the fuel tanker. Max has a meeting with Pappagallo and the other leaders of The Refinery Settlers and makes them an offer, he gets the semi and they give him back his vehicle and all of the fuel he can take and Papagallo agrees to the deal. Max is given some diesel and he and Dog start to walk back towards the semi he saw. He falls into a trench and as Bearclaw Mohawk starts to walk to where Max is hiding, The Feral Kid starts howling like a dog and Bearclaw Mohawk eventually walks away after throwing a rock towards the howling. Max walks to where he left The Gyro Captain and finds him gone. He eventually finds him dragging the log he was chained to. Max then forces The Gyro Captain to carry the diesel jugs. They go to where the gyrocopter is and find a dead member of The Humungus' Gang bitten by The Gyro Captain's snake. They fly in the gyrocopter to the semi and Max leaves after giving The Gyro Captain the key to his handcuffs.

Wez hears the semi heading towards the refinery and alerts everyone. The Humungus shoots at the semi's engine, which brushes a tent over, exposing Tent Lovers. Wez, who had jumped onto the semi, attacks Max while a member of The Humungus' Gang starts to shoot out the semi tires. The Gyro Captain throws his dead snake on the Gang member who shoots the driver in the back. The Refinery Settlers briefly open the gates and Max makes it in along with two of The Humungus' Gang's vehicles before it is closed. Wez yells at the Gang that made it inside to open the gate, but they are killed. He sees Quiet Man and runs at him and headbutts him before throwing him to the ground from a landing. Pappagallo is shot in the leg by a crossbow bolt and falls to the ground. Max runs to the flame thrower Pappagallo was manning and forces The Humungus' Gang back. The Gyro Captain lands inside of the refinery and is greeted by The Refinery Settlers. Pappagallo tells Zetta to get everyone organized so they can leave that night. Mechanic's Assistant relays the damage to the semi to Pappagallo who tells Mechanic he has twelve hours to fix the semi. Warrior Woman apologizes to Max for what she said before and Big Rebecca gives Max some shotgun shells she had saved. He tells her he is leaving and gives her the shells back. That night The Refinery Settlers that had been captured are tortured in The Humungus' camp. The Gyro Captain tries to convince The Captain's Girl to leave with him during the night, but she refuses to leave the others. Pappagallo tries to get Max to drive the semi, and after Max refuses insults Max, who punches him. The Feral Kid tries to leave with Max, but Max shoos him away. As Max leaves, Zetta sees him leave and suggests to Pappagallo that they take his vehicle, but Pappagallo refuses and says Max is an honorable man. Max drives away after The Gyro Captain tries to convince him to stay.

Wez hears Max drive away and steals The Humungus' vehicle to chase after Max. Wez catches up to Max and causes him to crash by crushing his vehicle's windshield with an exhaust pipe. Dog is killed while defending Max and The Toadie and the member of The Humungus' Gang that killed Dog are blown up when Max's vehicle's booby trap explodes. The Gyro Captain sees a large plume of smoke and picks up an injured Max. Max wakes up bandaged and next to a dead Quiet Man and walks outside as Pappagallo tells everyone the plan and where to rendezvous. Max offers to drive the semi, and after initially refusing, Pappagallo agrees to it and hands Max a kerchief full of shotgun shells. The Feral Kid manages to sneak onto the semi, which also has Warrior Woman, Zetta and Mechanic riding on it. Max drives out of the refinery followed by Pappagallo in his own vehicle and The Gyro Captain in his gyrocopter. A group of The Humungus' Gang see the rest of The Refinery Settlers leaving the refinery and drive into the refinery, they are then killed when the refinery blows up.

A battle erupts between Max and those in the semi and The Humungus and his Gang. Zetta is killed when a grappling hook is thrown at him and pulls him and a piece of the trailer onto the ground. The Mechanic's legs catch fire when Bearclaw Mohawk shoots the bag of gas he is holding, and Mechanic drops it on his legs. Warrior Woman shoots Bearclaw Mohawk as he is trying to climb onto the rig, but is then shot by Wez with darts. Warrior Woman is pulled off the rig along with Mechanic, by a Gang member who is then killed when Max shoots the driver of the vehicle in the face with a shotgun round. This causes a chain reaction which kills multiple members of the Gang when the vehicle crashes and is then crushed by the semi. Tent Lover is killed when he goes to shoot a tire with a wrist crossbow and his hand gets caught in the tire. Max helps The Feral Kid into the cab of the semi and then shoots the Gang member that told Tent Lover to shoot the tire in the face and another Gang member in the crotch point black who had almost shot Max in the crotch with a bolt gun. Wez and Bearclaw Mohawk attack the semi cab and Defiant Victim and Broken Victim are killed when The Humungus runs into the rear of the rig. Pappagallo drives next to the semi and tells The Feral Kid to jump to him, but is killed by a trident thrown by The Humungus. The Gyro Captain drops a Molotov Cocktail on The Humungus, and a Gang member shoots the gyrocopter down. Max tells The Feral Kid to get a shotgun shell that had fallen on the hood of the cab. The Humungus has the majority of The Humungus' Gang stay back while he drives straight at the semi. As The Feral Kid is grabbing for the shell, Wez grabs towards him. Max manages to pull The Feral Kid into the cab shortly before The Humungus rams the semi, causing it to crash and killing him, Wez and Bearclaw Mohawk. The survivors of The Humungus' Gang see the trailer is filled with sand and drive away. An injured Max climbs out of the wreckage with The Feral Kid and The Gyro Captain drives up. The Gyro Captain brings The Feral Kid and Max to the rendezvous.

The Voice of Narrator continues..."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...in the fullness of time, I became the leader...the cief 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."