In a corporate-controlled future, an ultra-violent sport known as Rollerball represents the world, and one of its powerful athletes is out to defy those who want him out of the game.

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Won 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 3 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
Ella
...
Moonpie
...
...
Mackie
Barbara Trentham ...
Daphne
John Normington ...
Executive
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Rusty, Team Executive
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Japanese Doctor
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Girl in Library
...
Bartholomew's Aide (as Rick LeParmentier)
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Strategy Coach for Houston Team
...
Librarian
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Storyline

In a futuristic society where corporations have replaced countries, the violent game of Rollerball is used to control the populace by demonstrating the futility of individuality. However, one player, Jonathan E., rises to the top, fights for his personal freedom, and threatens the corporate control. Written by Jeff Hansen <jmh@umich.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The next World War will not be fought. It will be PLAYED. See more »

Genres:

Action | Sci-Fi | Sport

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Release Date:

25 June 1975 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Rolerbol  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Gross:

$30,000,000 (USA)
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Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(35 mm magnetic prints)| (70 mm prints)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film inspired the short-lived TNN sports show RollerJam (1999). See more »

Goofs

The chanting crowd in Tokyo, Japan mispronounces the name of their city. They chant "To-ki-o" instead of "Tô-kyô." Perhaps in this alternate future, dialect has changed. See more »

Quotes

Ella: But comfort is freedom. The entire history of civilization is a struggle against poverty and need.
Jonathan E.: No, that's not it. That's never been it. I mean, them privileges just buy us off.
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Connections

Featured in Brubaker (1980) See more »

Soundtracks

Adagio for Strings and Organ in G minor
(uncredited)
composed by Tomaso Albinoni"
by Tomaso Albinoni (as Albinoni) - Remo Giazotto (as Giazotto)
Published by G. Ricordi & Company (London) Limited on its own behalf and on behalf of G. Ricordi & C.s.p.a. of 2,
Via Berchet, 20121 Milan, Italy
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Action-packed and insightful.
24 July 2004 | by (Xanadu) – See all my reviews

Rollerball is another of those great 70's cult sci-fi films. It features a great cast of actors and a smart script. It was notorious at the time for its violence, although that was greatly exaggerated in comparison to some professional sports and entertainment. It features a futuristic reimagining of the Roman Empire, with gladiatorial games to distract the populace from their bleak existence. It also predates cyberpunk literature, with ts depiction of a world controlled by powerful conglomerates, a world not too different from the present one.

James Caan is fantastic as Johnathan E, the Michael Jordan of Rollerball. He continues to succeed in a sport designed to show the futility of individual effort. The sport is constantly changed to stop him, yet he continues to overcome every obstacle.

John Housman is electrifying as the head of the Energy Corporation, owners of the Houston Team. He has conspired with his peers to keep the masses down and use this sport to both distract them and show them that the individual can't succeed. He grows more desperate as Johnathan E defeats his schemes. He tries every trick without success.

The supporting cast is filled with great actors, like Moses Gunn, John Beck, Sir Ralph Richardson (not John Gielgud, as one reviewer stated), Maude Adams, and Shane Rimmer.

The film demonstrates that the individual can triumph over insurmountable odds and cautions against corporate control of society. It uses both allegory and speculation beautifully, and packages it with thrilling action. The remake was destined for failure because it couldn't see beyond the action. The action was only window dressing for the greater themes. If only more recent sci-fi films were this thought-provoking, or other films for that matter.


61 of 66 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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