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How to Watch the Mad Max Movies in Order, including Furiosa

This franchise is bigger and better than ever after 45 years

Phil Owen
Anya Taylor-Joy, Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga

Anya Taylor-Joy, Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga

Jasin Boland

Mad Max has been a fairly singular franchise, with five movies made across 45 years, all by the same filmmaker, George Miller, who came up with the whole thing back in the day. Hollywood doesn't have a lot of stories like that — few filmmakers are ever in a position to control a franchise that way for any period of time at all, much less for decades. Even better, though, is that Miller, at 79 years old, is still a spectacular action director. The latest in this series, Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga, is an absolute blast, and there's no argument to be made that anyone else should be in charge of this thing.

With Mad Max having been around for so long, it's not quite a unified series, not in the usual sense, and you're probably wondering how to watch the Mad Max movies in order. After Miller released three Mad Max films between 1979 and 1985, it took 30 years for Mad Max: Fury Road to come to fruition — and that caused some major hiccups in the franchise timeline, which we'll get into shortly.

A word to the wise, though: Every movie in this series stands mostly on its own, and so there isn't some urgent need to sweat all the particulars of the timeline the way there is with, say, Marvel and other franchises that are big on long-term storytelling. But these movies do take place on one timeline, and having a sense of the bigger picture will make watching the series as a whole just a little more rewarding. Let's take a look at how to watch the Mad Max franchise in order ahead of Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga.

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1. Mad Max (1979)

Today we think of this series as a post-apocalyptic thing, but that original film took place in more of a mid-apocalypse scenario — in the mid-1980s, a major energy crisis led to a major economic crisis, and Australian society began to break down outside of the cities. So there's still enough civilization that they have a police force, which Max (Mel Gibson) is a part of, but things are looking bleak as a crazed biker gang, led by a dude called Toecutter, rampages across the highways and rural areas and murders Max's family in the process. Max gets his revenge, but he loses a big part of his humanity along the way — but with civilization continuing to collapse, he probably didn't need it anyway.

2. The Road Warrior (1981)

A few years after the timeline of Mad Max, the various global crises have all gotten worse thanks to a new world war — we're at like three quarters of an apocalypse by this point — and Max has been driving around aimlessly with his dog, scavenging fuel and whatever else he can find as he roams. But he runs afoul of another wannabe wasteland warlord with a biker gang, and ends up throwing in with a group of normal people living in an oil refinery. But when the fight was done, Max chose to continue wandering alone rather than stay.

3. Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985)

Another global war came and this time it turned nuclear, and we've arrived finally in the post-apocalypse — things have gotten so bad that Max's car is being pulled by camels. After he's attacked by bandits, Max follows them back home to a really cool place called Bartertown that's run by Tina Turner and features a gladiatorial arena called the Thunderdome. This is the film that establishes the aesthetic of the modern portion of the franchise — it's been a major impact on all sorts of post-apocalypse stories since, including Fallout.

**Timeline Break**

Technically, the two most recent films in the series, Fury Road and Furiosa, are part of a separate rebooted continuity — the dates from the original trilogy no longer made much sense after it took so long to get Fury Road made, and then casting Tom Hardy as Max just confused the issue further. But the broad strokes of history remain the same, and the events of those films did happen — these stories stand alone, remember, so the details matter less than the cumulative impact they've had on Max and the other people who have lived through all this.

4. Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga (2024)

This prequel to Fury Road also marks the first movie in the series to have a story that ties directly to another movie — before this film, Max was the only character to appear in more than one movie, but several Fury Road characters show up in this one. But the main one, of course, is Furiosa (Anya Taylor-Joy), since we spend this movie watching 18 years of her life, seeing how her fight against the warlord Dementus (Chris Hemsworth) plays out, and learning how she ended up in the servitude of Immortan Joe (Lachy Hulme). It's a very different experience than Fury Road was, but it's just as great.

5. Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)

Max (Tom Hardy), having turned nearly feral from all the crap he's gone through as civilization fell apart, is captured by Immortan Joe's forces and employed as a "blood bag" for a war boy who's escorting Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron) on a trip to Gas Town. Except Furiosa is actually pulling a fast one on Immortan Joe by helping his wives escape, and Max, as he does, is going to have to help her do it — and it's gonna be one of the greatest things you will ever watch.