Dennis Hopper star in this 1976 Ozploitation production about the famous Australian bushranger Dan Morgan who roamed the gold fields in the 1860s. Directed by Philippe Mora. The movie was based on the book, 'Morgan - the Bold Bushranger', by Margaret Frances Carnegie. Mora wrote the script on a ship voyage from London to Melbourne in 1974. This was submitted to the Australian Film Development Corporation in early 1975 who agreed to support it. The budget was raised from the Australian Film Commission (what the AFDC turned into), Greater Union and private investment, including Mora's father Georges, Margaret Carnegie, tycoon Victor Smorgon and Lyn Williams, the wife of artist Fred Williams. Mora and producer Jeremy Thomas flew to Los Angeles to cast the lead role. Their first choice for the lead, Stacy Keach turned it down; Martin Sheen and Jason Miller expressed interest in playing Morgan but Mora decided to cast Dennis Hopper instead. Hopper's fee was $50,000.
The film used various locations where Dan Morgan had been active, in the eastern Riverina, including Billabong Creek, Culcairn and Jindera; as well as locations in Beechworth, north-east Victoria. Morgan's cave in the film was the actual cave Dan Morgan had used. Shooting started on 27 October 1975 and went for six weeks over 36 shooting days to 6 December. The shoot was challenged by rain during the first week but managed to be completed on schedule. Producer Jeremy Thomas later remembered his experience making the film:
We got Dennis Hopper somehow to be in it and I think there were something like 120 speaking parts and only $400,000 to make the film, which was very much in awe of Sam Peckinpah. We made a Western in Australia. And the film got selected for a side-bar event in Cannes; a film festival as usual came to my rescue. So I moved back to Europe having had the hands-on experience of making a film. The budget was made on a piece of paper, just page after page, and that is how the budget was constructed, never having made a film before, and a lot of the people who worked on the film were complete amateurs. I don’t know how it was completed or done because we were very irresponsible, but I think it is a very good way to start with a colleague or friend.Mora later wrote that he was "setting grotesque 19th-century human behaviour against an extraordinary landscape. I created Francis Bacon figures in a Sidney Nolan landscape, with stunts inspired by Jean Cocteau." The director says that Hopper was a handful during the making of the film, constantly imbibing drink and drugs. However he says the actor could be very professional, a skilful improviser and gave a performance which was "really extraordinary. I think he identified with the role." Mora recalled Hopper at the finish of the shoot:
Rode off in costume, poured a bottle of O.P. rum into the real Morgan's grave in front of my mother Mirka Mora, drank one himself, got arrested and deported the next day, with a blood-alcohol reading that said he should have been clinically dead, according to the judge studying his alcohol tests.Mora shot a scene where a young Ned Kelly looks at a waxwork of Morgan but decided not to use it. The making of Mad Dog Morgan was featured in Mark Hartley's 2008 documentary Not Quite Hollywood: The Wild, Untold Story of Ozploitation!, in which Thomas, Mora and Hopper are interviewed.