The Mad Max Wiki

Toecutter's Gang, also known as "The Zed Runners," or "The Acolytes," was a motorcycle gang that terrorized Highway 9, Sector 26 following the destabilization of civilization. They were led by the psychotic Toecutter, along with Bubba Zanetti, and were often engaged in "road wars" with the Main Force Patrol.



The gang on the attack.

Many of the gang members acted (or in fact were) psychotic, striking fear and uncertainty into all they came across. Some were more contemplative in their madness such as Toecutter, Bubba Zanetti, and Cundalini, whilst others like Diabando, Starbuck, and Mudguts acted more like rabid animals. However, collectively, they were all known thieves, murderers, and rapists.

No doubt Writer-Director, George Miller, was heavily influenced by the rise of real-world gangs in the 1960's and '70's as many of them had become notorious -- "The Hell's Angels," for example -- for engaging in a slew of criminal behavior to include producing and selling drugs, prostitution, and engaging in violent "gang wars" with rivals. The gangs of the day had amassed terrible reputations, so it is easy to see that should law enforcement fail, or civilization for that matter, organized gangs would further devolve into a Darwinian state of "Survival of the fittest."

Hence, gangs were an easy archetype for Miller et al to use as the villain to the Main Force Patrol Officers who swore to uphold the peace, a la the "Wild West," in a world that was quickly spinning further out of control. In fact, the gang archetype would be just the precursor to the devolved tribes that we would later see in the franchise.

The Fall of Max Rockatansky[]

Mad Max is first and foremost a tragedy as the narrative unfolds to convey not only the fall of the world, civilization as we knew it, but also the fall of man -- in this case the protagonist, Max Rockatansky, who we are meant to relate to.

As the hero of the story, Max is sworn to protect "Justice For All;" to uphold law and order, to fight against the forces of chaos in order to keep the peace and to enforce the line of demarcation between man and animal.

However, as the events of the film unfold, we see Toecutter's Gang, the evil force of chaos and Anarchy, collide with Max's orderly life in a most calamitous way. Toecutter and his gang of rapists, thieves, and thugs perpetually encroach on what is left of a fragile society. Toecutter et al keep pushing the "lines" in the sand, forcing law and order to dare to deal with them.

Toecutter's gang preys on jessie

Toecutter's gang preying upon a mother and child.

Enter, Max Rockatansky and the Main Force Patrol. The MFP fights back! But the war had just begun. Once Nightrider is killed in a car chase, Toecutter blames the MFP. The war then turns personal as he and his gang of miscreants methodically exact revenge until they begin to stalk and torment the Rockatanskys. For Max, things quickly spiral out of his control.

Toecutter and his gang run down and kill Jessie and Sprog, resulting in their deaths, the deaths of innocents, the death of innocence.


The Fall of Max Rockatansky - The Rise of Mad Max.

Then the fall -- Max is twisted beyond repair, much like the wreckage of the road wars. And even though he has sworn as an officer of the law to uphold the "Justice" agreed upon by a civilized society, he succumbs to the "Madness," he becomes like them, he becomes "The Dark One," a vigilante avenger who becomes the law in every way he sees fit. And there is no mercy as he hunts down and kills Toecutter, Bubba Zanetti, and Johnny "The Boy," to make them account for the terror and havoc they wrought, but especially for the destruction of his happy life.

Known Members[]


    Most of the gang members have a tattoo in the shape of the Greek letter "Phi" (which is also written φι), the beginning of the word Phonax (φονιάς or Phionas) which means killer. You can see it with Johnny the Boy who doesn't have a tattoo at the start of the movie, but after burning Jim Goose, he proudly sports this tattoo on his neck, as a kind of recognition.
  • The gang seen in Mad Max was a real biker gang, called "The Vigilantes," who worked with their own motorcycles. This was much cheaper for the low budget film than paying extras, especially since the gang was paid in packs of beers.