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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:

Norman Jewison

Writer:

William Harrison (screenplay)
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ON DISC
Won 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 3 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
James Caan ... Jonathan E.
John Houseman ... Bartholomew
Maud Adams ... Ella
John Beck ... Moonpie
Moses Gunn ... Cletus
Pamela Hensley ... Mackie
Barbara Trentham ... Daphne
John Normington ... Executive
Shane Rimmer ... Rusty, Team Executive
Burt Kwouk ... Japanese Doctor
Nancy Bleier ... Girl in Library
Richard LeParmentier ... Bartholomew's Aide (as Rick LeParmentier)
Robert Ito ... Strategy Coach for Houston Team
Ralph Richardson ... 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:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

MGM

Country:

UK | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

25 June 1975 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Роллербол See more »

Filming Locations:

Frankfurt, Germany See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$30,000,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Algonquin See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

4-Track Stereo (35 mm magnetic prints)| 70 mm 6-Track (70 mm prints)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Dieter Meyer recalled at one point concern over finding sufficient extras to make Tokyo look credible. The crew dropped flyers at local hotels amounting to one hundred fifty eager Asians showing up for the required days of filming. See more »

Goofs

in the New York game, #3 is seen after he goes "off the board" (riding motorcycle 2) and #2 is also seen in the same manner later in 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 NewsRadio: Movie Star (1996) See more »

Soundtracks

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

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Action-packed and insightful.
24 July 2004 | by grendelkhanSee 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.


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