Trauma and Disability in Mad Max

Beyond the Road Warrior’s Fury

  • Mick Broderick
  • Katie Ellis

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xii
  2. Mick Broderick, Katie Ellis
    Pages 1-10
  3. Mick Broderick, Katie Ellis
    Pages 11-31
  4. Mick Broderick, Katie Ellis
    Pages 33-51
  5. Mick Broderick, Katie Ellis
    Pages 53-74
  6. Mick Broderick, Katie Ellis
    Pages 75-92
  7. Mick Broderick, Katie Ellis
    Pages 93-103
  8. Back Matter
    Pages 105-109

About this book


“The Mad Max films have been understood from numerous perspectives, from auteurism to national cinema to action adventure to gender to science fiction to dystopia. Mick Broderick and Katie Ellis have surpassed that literature with this exciting and profound work. Trauma and Disability is more than a new optic through which to view a storied series; it is a challenge to film studies and cultural analysis more broadly to wake up, smell the burning guzzoline, and rethink normativity.”
Professor Toby Miller, Loughborough University London, UK

Mad Max is more relevant today than ever, with climate change destroying the Earth and many despot leaders worldwide. Broderick and Ellis critique the imagery of trauma within the films and focus attention on the many narratives involving disabled characters. Their explication of representations of bodies, disabled and nondisabled, makes a significant contribution to our understanding of multiple Mad Max films, specifically, and popular culture, generally.” 
Professor Beth Haller, Towson University, USA 

This book explores the inter-relationship of disability and trauma in the Mad Max films (1979-2015). George Miller’s long-running series is replete with narratives and imagery of trauma, both physical and emotional, along with major and minor characters who are prominently disabled. The Mad Max movies foreground representations of the body – in devastating injury and its lasting effects – and in the broader social and historical contexts of trauma, disability, gender and myth.
Over the franchise’s four-decade span significant social and cultural change has occurred globally. Many of the images of disability and trauma central to Max’s post-apocalyptic wasteland can be seen to represent these societal shifts, incorporating both decline and rejuvenation. These shifts include concerns with social, economic and political disintegration under late capitalism, projections of survival after nuclear war, and the impact of anthropogenic climate change.
Drawing on screen production processes, textual analysis and reception studies this book interrogates the role of these representations of disability, trauma, gender and myth to offer an in-depth cultural analysis of the social critiques evident within the fantasies of Mad Max.

Mick Broderick is Associate Professor of Media Analysis at Murdoch University, Australia. 

Katie Ellis is Associate Professor in Internet Studies and Director of the Centre for Culture and Technology at Curtin University, Australia. 


Trauma Disability Post-apocalypse Mad Max Australian Cinema

Authors and affiliations

  • Mick Broderick
    • 1
  • Katie Ellis
    • 2
  1. 1.School of ArtsMurdoch UniversityMurdochAustralia
  2. 2.School of Media, Creative Arts and Social InquiryCurtin University of TechnologyPerthAustralia

Bibliographic information