Despite what you may have seen on popular memes circulating in the New Year, Mad Max was not set in 2021.

The classic dystopian action film portrays a world where lawless motorcycle gangs rule the streets, while violence and anarchy abound. Given the tumultuous headlines which have dominated the real world - from mass shootings, to riots in the nation’s capitol - it’s understandable why some online individuals would like to connect the dots between Mad Max and modern society. Such a link would make the movie seem prophetic, while also offering juicy clickbait. Problem is, it’s wrong.

The trailer for the original Mad Max, which was initially released in Australia in 1979 before reaching American shores in 1980, states that the events of the film occur “In the not too distant future.” These sentiments are echoed in the films itself, which opens with a title explaining that the story happens “A few years from now.”


This would put the timeline of Mad Max in the mid-’80s, an estimate that seems verified by two very brief yet notable visual elements in the film. The first shows a road sign with graffiti Among the small scrawled words is the date "December 6, 1984." The second comes from a sign at the Halls of Justice, which notes that the MFP (Main Force Police) were established in 1983. Though these are blink-and-you-miss-them moments, they lend credibility to the film's intended timeline.

This "Mad Max Was Set in 2021" Meme is Wrong

Even the sequels which followed the original Mad Max are unlikely to have ever taken place in 2021. As noted by Screen Rant, The Road Warrior (1982) took place three years after the first film, with Beyond Thunderdome (1985) set sometime around 1999, and Fury Road (2015) roughly in 2050.

So ignore those memes which keep popping up on social media proclaiming that 2021 was the setting of Mad Max. Or, better yet, inform the people posting them that their information is wrong. In the meantime, those searching for movies which really were set in 2021 can find a collection here.

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