6.6/10
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177 user 107 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.

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(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:
... Jonathan E.
... Bartholomew
... Ella
... Moonpie
... Cletus
... Mackie
... Daphne
... Executive
... Rusty, Team Executive
... Japanese Doctor
... 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:

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:

MGM

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

25 June 1975 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Роллербол  »

Filming Locations:

 »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$30,000,000
See more on IMDbPro »

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

In New Zealand, the film was rated R18 when it was released in 1975. In 2002, the film was re-rated M. See more »

Goofs

At 18min 14secs the center set of drawers under the reception table is so far back they would be difficult to reach. Also, being so far back you would not be able to see what was in the top drawer, and have trouble taking anything out of the draw unless you removed it whole. 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 Timecop (1994) See more »

Soundtracks

Symphony No. 5: Fourth Movement
(uncredited)
Composed by Dmitri Shostakovich
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
You can't watch it, you can only re-watch it...
3 August 2001 | by 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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