6.6/10
18,652
173 user 105 critic

Rollerball (1975)

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.

Director:

Writer:

(screenplay)
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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:
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...
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Ella
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Moonpie
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...
Mackie
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Daphne
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Executive
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Rusty, Team Executive
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Japanese Doctor
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Girl in Library
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Bartholomew's Aide (as Rick LeParmentier)
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Strategy Coach for Houston Team
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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:

In the not-too-distant future, wars will no longer exist. But there WILL be...The 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:

Роллербол  »

Filming Locations:

 »

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

The laser pistol that drunken party guest use to incinerate pine trees during the big corporate soirée is actually a Ruger Standard .22 caliber target pistol introduced by the Ruger firearms company in 1949. The weapon used in the movie has an elaborately modified barrel to make it look more like a futuristic ray gun. 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

[first lines]
Pregame announcer: Good evening everyone! And welcome to Houston, the energy city, home of the defending Rollerball World Champions. This key international battle pits the divisional champions, visiting Madrid, against powerful Houston. - - And here they come to a standing ovation. On the track comes Houston! Houston, lead by captain Jonathan E, again their leading scorer this year.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Jet Set Radio Future (2002) 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

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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