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Mad Kwaks

Posted on July 19, 2010 by Andrew in Classic, Video. 12 comments

Say the words “best ever motorbike film” to most riders, and you’ll probably hear them namedrop films like “The Wild One”, “Easy Rider”, or “On Any Sunday”. But there’s one that those in the know will tell you trumps them all when it comes to showing the insane rush of riding road bikes at speed; the original Mad Max movie from 1979.

Short on cash, George Miller (the film’s writer, director and co-producer who went on to make the Witches of Eastwick, Babe, and Happy Feet) enlisted the help of the Melbourne chapter of the Vigilantes outlaw motorcycle gang… as you do. Giving them access to free bikes and paying them mostly in beer, he let them loose on Victoria’s country roads and filmed the chaos. In the now infamous bridge scene, Vigilantes members were asked to drop and slide two Kawasaki KZ1000’s for the cameras. The riders, trying to get the best shot possible, stayed nice and close to the bikes after they hit the deck. The results? A tumbling 250kg bike comes damn close to breaking a gang member’s neck and the world gets one of the best bike stunt sequences ever filmed.

Somehow modern CG doesn’t quite stack up, does it?

  • Toby

    I remember seeing this when I was thirteen and for the first time in life wondering if cars were cooler than bikes.

  • Ecosse

    "Somehow modern CG doesn’t quite stack up, does it?"

    you can say that again! they’ll never remake this film to equal the original.

  • MikeMachine

    Thats one movie I have to watch again. Thanks for reminding me.

  • Tom

    I’m pretty sure that scene did result in a death, would sure be lucky to survive a clip to the head like that….

    Another great Oz bike film is of course Stone – again with the kwaka zeds, and also a great chase scene in The Man From Hong Kong (Honda 750/4 doing its thing)

  • I love these movies. If I’m not mistaken, someone has just signed a contract to make 2 more movies. I don’t think they’re going to be remakes, but sequels. (Source: )

  • It is pretty big in Japan and there are many websites dedicated to the movie. One site was selling the MFP leather jacket replica that Max and Goose were wearing in the movie along with badges and stickers. There are many guys who were into Jim Goose/ Toecutter bike replica. From one enthusiast building one from found parts to the bike custom shop called Whitehouse selling complete replica bike, utilizing Kaw police 1000 as a base bike. The shop even sold Goose replica helmet one point.
    Here are some of those sites

  • Ecosse

    there is/was an american company selling goose fairings. can’t recall the name and have been frustrated with unsuccessful google searches.

    found it once by accident. will find it again.

  • dannyb

    just watched this film earlier this week. Those bike scenes were so cool. i really need to build myself a "toecutter"

  • Pamberjack

    Thanks for the comments, guys. I’m going to see if I can re-upload that clip as my initial attempt looks pretty "jaggy".

    Mike – good call on "Stone". I’ll put that down for a possible future article.

    I’ve got high hopes for the new movie – MIller is a smart cookie and he’d hopefully have the vision to treat his baby to a proper addition. Apparently it has now become TWO movies, not one. Click here for more.


  • Pamberjack

    Also: click here for more info on the bridge itself.

    "Please note that despite persistant rumours to the contrary, the stuntman who was hit in the head by the bike was most certainly NOT killed. They wouldn’t have used the footage for starters. He is most certainly alive and well today."

  • Tom

    Ahh – good to know that such a fine piece of choreographed riding didn’t result in a fatality – and that another urban myth has been cleared. The last bike film fest I had with a few mates really chewed the fat on this one.
    Thanks for the blog – its a daily reader!

  • Pamberjack

    Better version of video here: