Played by Mel Gibson in Mad Max (1979, dir. George Miller).
Max is a cowboy, but his steed is a souped-up hot rod from hell. And his terrain is not the Old West but an anarchic, radiation-fried Outback peopled with mohawked nutjobs and various other desperados, all competing for the most precious resource left: fuel.
Max, like the antiheroes of Sergio Leone’s spaghetti westerns, mostly looks out for number one, but when his interests intersect with those of doomed innocents, he can usually be counted on to save the day.
Defining Moment: Near the end of the original, our hero (then just a cop with stellar driving skills) sees his family slaughtered by the same brand of sickos he’ll encounter later. It’s enough to make Max really, really mad.