Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome - Bust a deal, face the wheel!

19 April 2024
In the 1985 movie Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, Max Rockatansky (played by Mel Gibson) finds himself in Bartertown, a post-apocalyptic settlement where disputes and justice are handled in a unique and brutal fashion. 

After breaking a deal by not killing the child like Blaster, Max is subjected to the community's form of justice known as "Bust a deal and face the wheel."

The wheel Max faces is a large, carnival-like spinning wheel with various punitive outcomes written on it, each segment dictating a different fate for those who have broken the rules. This mechanism of justice adds to the chaotic and lawless aura of the film's setting, emphasizing the harsh survivalist ethic in the post-apocalyptic world. 

Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome - Bust a deal, face the wheel!

Here are the options on the wheel and their implications:

  • Death - The offender is killed.
  • Hard Labour - The offender is sentenced to perform strenuous, physically demanding tasks for a set period or until death.
  • Acquittal - The offender is found not guilty and set free without any punishment.
  • Gulag - The offender is exiled into the desert, typically tied to a domestic animal and given minimal supplies, reflecting a certain and likely slow death unless they can survive the harsh conditions.
  • Auntie's Choice - The ruler of Bartertown, Auntie Entity (played by Tina Turner), can choose any punishment she sees fit, which could be more or less severe than the options available on the wheel.
  • Spin Again - The offender is given a chance to spin the wheel again, facing whatever outcome it lands on next.
  • Forfeit Goods - The offender must relinquish their personal belongings or any items of value they possess.
  • Underworld - The offender is sent to work in the methane-producing underworld of Bartertown, which is a dangerous and unpleasant environment.

Each option on the wheel is designed to enforce the rules of Bartertown and maintain order, or at least the semblance of it, through a combination of fear, punishment, and randomness. 

This arbitrary system of justice highlights the breakdown of traditional legal structures and the rise of a more primitive, immediate form of law enforcement in the dystopian world of Mad Max. 


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About the author Jimmy Jangles

My name is Jimmy Jangles, the founder of The Astromech. I have always been fascinated by the world of science fiction, especially the Star Wars universe, and I created this website to share my love for it with fellow fans.

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