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Rollerball (1975)

 -  Action | Sci-Fi | Sport  -  25 June 1975 (USA)
6.6
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Ratings: 6.6/10 from 14,313 users  
Reviews: 155 user | 67 critic

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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Title: Rollerball (1975)

Rollerball (1975) on IMDb 6.6/10

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

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A wrongly convicted man must try to survive a public execution gauntlet staged as a game show.

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
Ella
...
Moonpie
...
...
Mackie
Barbara Trentham ...
Daphne
John Normington ...
Executive
...
Rusty, Team Executive
...
Japanese Doctor
Nancy Bleier ...
Girl in Library
...
Bartholomew's Aide (as Rick LeParmentier)
...
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:

It's More Than Just a Game! See more »

Genres:

Action | Sci-Fi | Sport

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

25 June 1975 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Rolerbol  »

Box Office

Gross:

$30,000,000 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

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

Outside shots of the Energy Corporation building are actually of the corporate headquarters of car maker BMW in Munich. Outside shots of the bowl-shaped library building are of the old BMW museum. It is located only a few steps to the left of the headquarters' entrance. See more »

Goofs

In the New York game, #9 is left off Houston's board supposedly out of respect for Moonpie. However, another player is seen on the track wearing the Houston #9 shirt during the game. See more »

Quotes

Bartholomew: Try to understand it, Jonathan. Do try to understand it. Because I don't understand your resistance. And I don't think anyone else will either.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Return to the Arena: The Making of 'Rollerball' (2000) See more »

Soundtracks

Symphony No. 8: First Movement
(uncredited)
Composed by Dmitri Shostakovich
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
An Action Classic With Brains!
14 March 2005 | by (Troy, NY) – See all my reviews

I first saw this movie on HBO at the age of 14 and I sensed immediately that it was a classic, a combination of action, sports, sex, and social commentary. All the years of viewing other films have only made me more and more appreciative of this movie's many strengths.

On one level, I believe this is the best sports movie ever made. It is miles ahead of more "realistic" films like NORTH DALLAS FORTY or SEMI TOUGH or even critical favorites like COBB and EIGHT MEN OUT. The very fact that Rollerball is a make believe sport adds believability to the action sequences. Watch a baseball film and you can see at a glance that Robert Redford or Kevin Costner are not real athletes. But since rollerball has never been played, James Caan as Jonathan E really looks like the best in the game. There are no "clichés" like home runs or long passes to spoil the danger and excitement -- every crash and goal is new, never having been seen before. And there are no clichés about the fans, the athletes, or "win one for the Gipper" or gamblers or shady ladies trying to make Our Hero throw the game. From the beginning we sense the stakes are higher -- Jonathan E will either conform or die.

That brings up the fact that ROLLERBALL also shares a central theme with a lot of other powerful movies, like FROM HERE TO ETERNITY, COOL HAND Luke, and even A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS. What happens when a uniquely gifted individual refuses to participate in a corrupt system? This movie is so powerful as a drama you hardly notice the sci fi trappings. The rugged action scenes are so real you hardly notice that rollerball is a make believe game.

James Caan as Jonathan E turns in a sensitive, nuanced performance, deliberately underplaying the tough guy side as much as possible. Michael Beck as Moonpie is the foolishly overconfident one, playing Frank Sinatra's Maggio to Caan's Robert E. Lee Pruitt. But unlike the hard luck privates in this man's army, these rollerball stars get to have glamor, luxury, and unlimited sex between vicious games of rollerball. The movie captures so much sensuality and glamor that you can see why men risk death game after game to be known as "great rollerballers who bash in faces." This movie is spectacular -- an action classic with brains!


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