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The Road Warrior (1981)

NOTE: This commentary is only available on the HD-DVD and Blu-ray releases of the film.

Commentaries on this disc:

Commentary 1: Screenwriter/director George Miller and director of photography Dean Semler Rating:7.4/10 (8 votes) [graph]Login to vote or review
Reviewed by reidca on November 10th, 2007:Find all reviews by reidca
An informative, relaxed chat between director Dr George Miller and Dean 'Deano' Semler that as Semler puts it, has come many years late. The track seems to be geared towards the US market (hey, if its called Road Warrior and is introduced by Leonard Maltin how can it not be) and it is packed with anecdote and observation. Semler and Miller get technical often and talk about lenses, hand held (they had no Steadicam), working during magic hour, but will often also talk about the (almost) completely exterior location shooting, getting rushes 2 days later and Miller identifies many of the actors (Arkie Whiteley who passed away, Humungous was a Swedish Mr. Universe, Mike Preston was a boxer, even Syd Halen!). They speak at length about young Emil Minty who plays the Feral Kid and Semler remembers the classic line that the crew used to say "When is Emil not Emil, when he's a Minty" (you have to be Australian to get it!). Miller sometimes gets his stories wrong, but at least it confirms the chat wasn't scripted or edited! They discuss multi-skilling within Australian crews at that time and Miller goes on to comment how New Zealand seems to be that way at the moment - he refers specifically to Richard Taylor, who runs the costume, makeup and visual effects departments at Weta (Side note, I noticed Andrew Lesnie, DP on the Lord Of The Rings films, was the documentarian cameraman on this film). Miller also name drops Joe Dante, as Dante commented (presumably during the making of Twilight Zone The Movie?) on the constantly changing light levels and cloud cover during the final chase sequence.
Reviewed by TommyT on January 29th, 2010:Find all reviews by TommyT
Not a bad commentary by Miller & Semler, they reveal many things about the production that I didn't know & I've been a fan of the movie for about 20 years. It was cool to hear how the costumes were designed (the designer raided sports & S&M shops for anything she could get her hands on) & the talk about the location shooting in the middle of nowhere Australia was interesting too. If I had one criticism, it's that Miller & Semler nearly put me to sleep; their voices are lethargic & though they're excited to do a commentary, I wish they would show some more enthusiasm! However, I'll take this track for now since it & a decent edition of this film were both long overdue.
Reviewed by Uniblab on August 16th, 2013:Find all reviews by Uniblab
For those who like their "classic" movie commentaries with a comprehensive account with a systematic flow of information, this one is certainly a disappointment. Although Miller and (mostly) Semler (in a sometimes unitelligible Australian accent) do tell some very interesting things about the making of the movie, the "Reminiscence + Back-Patting" combo ends up taking the lead and rendering the track not as good as it could be. What is most impressive is their humility of talking about the movie as the low-budget Australian movie it actually was, even though it is now long-established as an all-time action classic.
Reviewed by Agressor on June 16th, 2014:Find all reviews by Agressor
the 3 reviews above has the commentary pretty well summed up. I can concur with the statements about Miller and Semler being very subdued, and that combined with their Australian accents made my comprehension of the commentary occasionally difficult.

I did however find it a worthwhile listen, a movie like this (produced with extremely limited resources and later becoming a worldwide classic) lends itself to some good chatting and I found it fascinating that it only took one year from Miller starting to write the script to the film premiering! We get a good mix of technical explanations regarding the production to more frivolous anecdotes like the mailman breaking through their barricades while filming the climactic highway chase.

I also found Millers story of the dog really sweet.
Reviewed by Pineapples101 on January 5th, 2017:Find all reviews by Pineapples101
Not much I can add to the above, just to say that I really enjoyed this track. Always great to hear two mates recounting a films production.
I really hope Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome gets a commentary track as good as this one day.
Reviewed by grimjack on May 21st, 2021:Find all reviews by grimjack
This is a phenomenal track! You can really hear their amazement that they pulled it off, and their sheer enjoyment of just watching it again.

A lot of the technical aspects and style choices are brought up. Some for budget, and safety was definitely not the highest concern. There were only six stunt men for the entire film! There were some helicopter shots where they just hung off a board while heavy crew members sat on the other end of it.

Miller comments on the fact that he got the idea on Christmas day, and started writing it, and the film came out on Christmas Eve the following year. Amazing!

They ask us the viewer if we ever noticed the different levels of overcast weather from shot to shot. There are so many interesting little stories they tell each other that they did not know at the time or learned about later. (A kid actor in this film appeared in the DoP film The Alamo).

This will definitely make you appreciate and enjoy the film even more!
Reviewed by aderok on June 14th, 2021:Find all reviews by aderok
Independent Filmmaker(s) discussing low budget filmmaking.