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Rollerball (1975)

R  |   |  Action, Sci-Fi, Sport  |  25 June 1975 (USA)
6.6
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Ratings: 6.6/10 from 15,439 users  
Reviews: 159 user | 85 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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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
Edit

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:

In the future there will be no war. There will only be Rollerball. 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
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Some of the other "rollerball cities" mentioned in the movie: Madrid, Manila, Rome, Pittsburgh. See more »

Goofs

During the Tokio game, after Moonpie's been hit, Jonathan E. yells "Over here, over here", but his lip movements do match by no means his words. In a subsequent scene, after Moonpie's been hit again, Jonathan says: "Stay close", but again, his lips don't match what he's saying. See more »

Quotes

Cletus: Jonathan, there's one thing you ought to know, and nobody's said it, but I'm sure of it. They're afraid of you, Jonathan. All the way to the top, they are.
See more »

Connections

Featured in I Love the '70s: Volume 2: 1975 (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

Toccata and Fugue in D Minor
(BWV 565) (uncredited)
Composed by Johann Sebastian Bach
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
You can't watch it, you can only re-watch it...
3 August 2001 | by (Washington, DC) – See all my reviews

This is a film that demands repeat viewing. When I was a kid, my brothers and I used to just fast-forward all the slow, `talkie' scenes to get to the action. We couldn't understand why the whole film wasn't just composed of game sequences (a criticism also leveled by at least one reviewer on this site).

Now, having just watched the movie twice in a night, the second time with the director's commentary, I have finally got to grips with the scenes between the action, and discovered that I like it more than ever. The view of the future is not highly original; tipping its hat to the stratified societies foreseen by Orwell and Huxley, amongst others; but nevertheless the portrayal is engaging. Jewison astutely realised that only by filling in the image of the future society, the characters, and the political background against which the tournament unfolds, would the game be seen as truly REAL for the characters. In the meanwhile, he also has the chance to build suspense, upping the stakes for both the heroic gladiator/combateur Jonathon, and his would-be puppet master Bartholemew. In this way, when we come to watch the actual contests, our enthusiasm is whetted, and by making the rules progressively more dangerous with each passing game, the stakes grow ever higher.

The central themes of the movie are (i) loss-of-soul/nihilism/sensual-vs-spiritual-happiness, and (ii) individuality vs state control. Perhaps the best scenes elucidating these themes are the famous `tree killing' scene, and the conversation between Jonathon and Ella in the forest. The use of imagery and metaphor is widespread; I will mention only the terrific concept of the roulette wheel as game arena, with the players INSIDE, instead of outside; and the Circus Maximus parallel. You may draw many interesting conclusions from this about the director's and writer's intent.

My final word is: watch it once, soak up the action, and be bored by the rest. Then view it again, feel yourself in Jonathon's dilemma, experience his wrenching disappointment with the people in his life who betray him, and try to tear yourself away if you can as he is pushed inexorably to his fate in the arena of ROLLERBALL.


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