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There are 4 movies in the Mad Max franchise:

Are the first three movies connected with the fourth one?

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Should one watch the first three Mad Max movies before watching Fury Road?

If your emphasis is on the word "should", then my answer is NO. It's not necessary that you should watch the previous ones before watching Fury Road.

Consider, Fast & Furious movies, they've been making movies for more than a decade but each movie comes with new plot and additional characters. And they make it simpler for the audience by showing flashbacks of the previous movies in the current one or they show a reel of catchy scenes from previous movies as in Fast & Furious 6 credits song at the beginning.

This post quotes on what cast and director says about the movie.

We’re conditioned to think of series of movies as being part of an explicit chronology, but that’s not how this one works. There was talk at one point of Fury Road being a film set between The Road Warrior and Thunderdome, but it doesn’t play that way at all.

Tom Hardy said,

We have to take it differently as George is taking it. It’s a relaunch and revisit to the world. An entire restructuring. That’s not to say that it’s not picking up or leaving off from the Mad Max you know already, but it’s a nice re-take on the entire world using the same character, depositing him in the same world but bringing him up to date by 30 years.

Miller said at SXSW this year,

It’s sort of a revisit. The [previous] three films exist in no real clear chronology, because they were always conceived as different films.

This question, you must be really interested in.

Do I Need to See the Other Films First?

No. Fury Road establishes everything you need to know about the characters and world.

I mean, you should see the other movies, because they’re good (Mad Max), great (The Road Warrior), and very uneven but with some really excellent bits (Thunderdome). But if this is your first ride with Max, this movie tells you everything you need to know.

But Isn’t an Actor From the Original Mad Max in This One?

Yeah, he is. You might have heard that Hugh Keays-Byrne, who plays the main bad guy in the new film, also played the bad guy in the original movie. That’s true, but they’re different characters. There’s no connection between them at all.

This is the second time Miller has used a major actor twice in Max’s films — Bruce Spence played two very similar but ultimately different characters in The Road Warrior and Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome. And the look of the Thunderdome character Scrooloose seems to have influenced the design of the War Boys (like Nicholas Hoult’s character) but there’s no link between them.

Read the full post if you're interested in questions like,

Should I See Fury Road in 3D?

Can You Recap the Other Mad Max Films?

My suggestion, you need not to worry whether you should watch the previous movies or not. But I'm sure the writers and director made this movie for new MAD MAX audience as well, without the need to watch the previous films.

  • 3
    Now that, that is what I call a good answer on such a question. While all those answers make sense to some degree, that's the first one I dare to upvote. – Napoleon Wilson May 16 '15 at 12:03
  • @chaitanya89, If there's no link whatsoever and they are completely different films, Then why is it called "Mad Max: Fury Road" instead of simply just "Fury Road"? Is it just a marketing trick to trick viewers and get more money? – Pacerier Jun 11 '15 at 0:25
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    @Pacerier The movies are connected but it's not necessary to watch the previous ones before watching Fury Road. Please check what Tom Hardy and George Miller quoted. – chaitanya89 Jun 11 '15 at 5:30
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Yes, if you want to fully understand the story of Mad Max. Saying that you can watch any of the movies alone, and still enjoy them. At least watch the first one to learn how Max Rockatansky turned into the Mad Max.

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    Yes, the Stories are independent but to understand the character and the time in which stories take place, it would be a good idea to watch the previous installments. – Ankit May 15 '15 at 10:16
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    I'm not sure it's really necessary for anything. The stories are not connected at all and the transfer in setting from 1 to 2/3 is so utterly inconsistent it makes you wonder if they are not supposed to be completely independent movies. So to "fully understand the story of Mad Max" I'm not sure you need to watch them all. – Napoleon Wilson May 15 '15 at 12:34
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    I'm going to agree with this answer. The first one is necessary if you really want to understand why Max is the way he is. It was also a really good, groundbreaking movie in that prior to Mad Max there are few (if any) Australian-made movies which found an American audience. The only thing I disliked about it was the obvious sped-up film in an effort to make chase scenes seem faster. – Johnny Bones May 15 '15 at 17:12
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    @JohnnyBones "if you really want to understand why Max is the way he is" -- You don't need to understand that before watching Fury Road, though. Perfectly fine to catch up on the other MM films afterwards. – DisgruntledGoat May 26 '15 at 11:51
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    I agree that if you want to fully understand Max, you need to watch all the films, but after watching Fury Road, I'm not convinced you need to fully understand Max at all to enjoy this film. He's really a supporting character in this one. (Not to say he isn't a big part of the movie--but his backstory isn't, IMHO). – DA. May 27 '15 at 20:10
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There are actually two questions being asked. Now that I've seen Fury Road, I can offer a more concise answer to both:

Should one watch the first three Mad Max movies before watching Fury Road?

That's purely personal opinion. Will you enjoy Fury Road more if you've seen the rest? It's hard to say. Max is actually mostly a supporting character in this film. His backstory isn't actually that relevant to this movie. Knowing his backstory may add a bit of insight into Max's character but, honestly, Fury Road is a 2 hour non-stop car chase. You're going for a ride and character backstories are really not a big part of enjoying this installment of the franchise. If you're a person that loves great action sequences, I think you'll enjoy this movie as much without seeing the previous installments as much as you will even if you had. If you hadn't seen the rest, you could certainly consider the first 3 'prequels' and perfectly fine to view after this one.

Are the first three movies connected with the fourth one?

Yes. They all feature Max as a character. I stand my by previous answer, however, that--aside from the first film--the Mad Max movie are first-and-foremost action movies. You're there for the action. You're there for the set design, the costumes, the stunts. The story is what ties it all together, but like the rug in the Big Lebowski, Max is almost a McGuffin more than a central focus of the story. He's the one there to take you along for the ride, but you're really there for the ride.

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    The story is still important. Action without storyline is empty. – Pacerier Jun 11 '15 at 0:27
  • @Pacerier I agree, though sometimes that's fine. Fury road is mostly action, but there's a story to back it up. – DA. Jun 11 '15 at 0:45
  • Yes, also see quora.com/Content-That-Contains-Spoilers/… – Pacerier Jun 11 '15 at 1:17
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    +1 "Max is actually mostly a supporting character". True. Even the V8 Interceptor is more of main character than Max himself. – Agent_L Jan 7 '16 at 11:41
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It's not entirely necessary but I'd say you should at least watch the first two simply because they're awesome! :D

The new one will make a lot more sense if you've seen those two, especially the first as its set at the point the apocalypse is just taking off. But saying that I'm sure you could watch the new one first and you'd enjoy and understand it, there's a good chance that you'll enjoy it more than everyone who's seen the first three first

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I think you can watch the new Mad Max without having to watch the older ones first. But you should watch the older films for background and no doubt, one will want more after watching the new one.

The second Mad Max film is very similar to Fury Road with Max helping a community against a gang of warlords in the wasteland. The third is similar in theme. The first is set just before the apocalypse and shows Max as a cop in a world where crime in getting out of control and where he avenges the death of his family.

-1

Without even being a spoiler, here's the plot to every single Mad Max Movie:

  • Mad Max wants to be a loner, but gets sucked into helping a group of people--people who usually have some fuel of some sort.
  • Crazy people wearing feathers and biker leather driving ridiculously modified vehicles in a really unsafe manner don't like Mad Max and chase him in hopes of getting said fuel.
  • Desert. Lots and lots of desert.

So, there you go. A few bullet points. There's a story arc between all the films, for sure, but it's an incredibly thin one mainly just to justify the next sequel.

I can't tell you if you should see the first three or not, but hopefully knowing that it's really about the action--not about the plot, will help you make the decision for yourself. Personally, these movies aren't about character development as much as they are about explosions and fast cars.

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    Your synopsis doesn't seem to apply so much to the first movie, though. – Napoleon Wilson May 15 '15 at 15:13
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    @NapoleonWilson true. First movie: less desert, fewer crazies. – DA. May 15 '15 at 15:32
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    And an actual personal family rescue/revenge quest. – Napoleon Wilson May 15 '15 at 15:33
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    @NapoleonWilson eh, that's just a side plot. :) – DA. May 15 '15 at 15:39
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    I disagree with the downvoters, but the family tragedy is the breaking point for Max that he reached after already being on verge due to what happened to his friend Goose. It cannot be just dismissed as a side plot. – Vedran Šego May 19 '15 at 12:10

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