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 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:

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:

 »
Show more 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

Norman Jewison said he cast James Caan as Jonathan E. after seeing him play Brian Piccolo, the real-life Chicago Bears running back in Brian's Song (1971). See more »

Goofs

During the warm-up of the Tokyo game, a wide shot shows the Tokyo players skating in an "Arrowhead" formation (1-2-3-1). But in the following shot, they start descending out of a 1-3-3 formation. Moreover, from the wide shot to the following shot, they 'jump back' from rink sector E to sector C (compare square-shaped letters on rink). 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

Symphony No. 8: First Movement
(uncredited)
Composed by Dmitri Shostakovich
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Controlling the beast within
26 July 2000 | by See all my reviews

Why some people have called this film shallow, I will never understand, considering it focuses on character more than most all sci-fi films, especially those action ones made today. Not surprisingly, the recent remake dwelt more on action than character, and perhaps it's significant that director Norman Jewison normally avoids making science-fiction films.

Also, I personally don't interpret ROLLERBALL as an anti-sport drama. It doesn't attack sports per se as much as violence. In his audio commentary to the DVD, Jewison, like many Canadians, admits he's a hockey fan, and once, while witnessing a game get bloodily out of hand, he was inspired to adapt Harrison's marvelous short story.

All in all, I think of the movie as a plea for all of us to find our own basic humanity (and those who say the film lacks humanity really baffle me). In our present competitive world, where the U.S. speed limit is 65 MPH but everyone drives 75 or faster, this motion picture reminds us to control the anarchistic, power-driven beast within.

To offer one example, in its final scene, Jonathan E is about to murder the last opposing team player...but relents. If the film were truly anti-sport,then I think Jonathan would drop the ball and leave; he would mock the game as Mandy Patinkin's character does hockey at the end of SLAPSHOT. Instead, Jonathan E still plays it: he baskets the ball to earn his point because, though he may have touched his humanity, he still retains the drive to win and the thrill of the game. Unlike other--often more sentimental and simple-minded--anti-sports dramas, ROLLERBALL represents the positive aspects of sports (such as ethical aspiration, etc.), while at the same time its negative aspects (such as triumphalist violence, etc.). Afterwards, as the crowd roars, the film might have concluded with a standard, comforting triumph-of-the-human-spirit message, but instead it freezes on a deliberately distorted shot of Jonathan with Bach's portentious music indicating what awaits. Yes, he may be a winner today, but in this world, where the corporation is everything and the individual nothing, his future is dim indeed.

A shallow film? Nonsense! I think this movie taps into ones humanity more than most of the sentimental tripe hyped as significant drama these days.


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