How Mad Max Revolutionized What the Future Looked Like in Film

As we gear up (heh heh) for the first new Mad Max film in almost 30 years, let’s consider the lasting influence of the original trilogy. Just one look at the awesomely extensive list of parodies and homages to 1981’s Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior easily confirms its status as an action classic, but the series’ most enduring legacy is absolutely the punk postapocalypse vision of the future created through the three films’ design and costuming. Sure, sci-fi costume and design was influenced by both fashion trends of the time and literary source material increasingly fascinated with grim, dilapidated, techno-dystopias. But in terms of creating a vision of the future filled with DIY hacked hardware and punk-styled thugs clad in bondage gear and sports pads, Mad Max and Road Warrior did it first and did it best. After Road Warrior, almost every film depicting a postapocalyptic world or dystopia for the next 25 years would lean heavily on its aesthetic for their imagining of our horrible, Mohawked future. Here, then, is a survey of just some of the many, many films influenced by George Miller’s wild original Mad Max trilogy.

How Mad Max Revolutionized Movie Design