Never wide-released in the U.S. theaters, Mel Gibson almost didn't get the role of Max. He was in a barfight and woke up in the hospital. He checked himself out and rushed to the casting call and apologized about his bruised & battered face; but it was just what director George Miller was looking for.
In a desolate future, police are trying to keep on top of crazy drivers and roving gangs (in later sequels we're told that there's been a nuclear war). Burned out top-cop Max quits, then his wife and kid are killed by a vicious biker gang and Max sets out on high-speed revenge. The U.S. distributor tried dubbing the movie with American voices, as had been done with Hercules In New York (Schwarzenegger), then tossed it on a shelf - finally to be released after "Road Warrior" (Mad Max 2) became a big hit (hopefully the current cable-TV showings of Mad Max are not the dubbed version). A third Mad Max film (Beyond Thunderdome) came out in 1985, guest-starring Tina Turner as an evil queen who captures Max in her post-apocalyptic desert city.
George Miller is currently casting for an actor to play Max in the upcoming 4th Mad Max movie (Mel Gibson's too busy)
"Mel Gibson" availability on video and on DVD from Amazon.com