Frequently Asked Questions
Rollerball is a violent sport invented in a future society after a series of devastating corporate wars have left the world's major corporations with a monopoly on basic social services. Energy production, food supplies, water supplies, basic goods & other items are heavily controlled. To keep the masses from revolting, Rollerball was introduced. In the game, players wear roller skates and race around an inclined circular track, attempting to seize a small steel ball & score goals against the opposing team. Players are assisted by teammates who ride small motorcycles that can tow a player to build up speed. Despite being required to wear body armor & helmets, many players are severely injured or killed during matches. Rules change constantly, as in the last two matches depicted in the film where no substitutions are allowed and no penalties are called, even if a player cheats or commits another act of obvious unsportsmanlike conduct.
The corporate directorate (a sort of board of directors) felt threatened by Jonathan's increasing popularity in the sport, which they felt may contribute to a rising feeling of individualism among the general population, a concept they were trying to discourage. By providing Rollerball, the corporate directorate hoped that the masses would be sufficiently distracted from the squalor in their own lives to not think at an individual level. Independent thought would lead to revolt and the possible loss of power.
The hit United Artists film, Rollerball, opened in Chicago at the McClurg Court Theatre, 330 East Ohio Street, on Thursday, June 26, 1975. The film was rated "R." An ad reads: "Wars Will No Longer Exist . . . But There Will Be Rollerball!"
Rollerball is played by 2 teams over three 20 minute periods. Each team has a dozen players with 9 on roller-skates and three riding motorcycles. A steel ball is shot into a circular arena with an outer and inner zone. One of the teams must recover the ball and then attempt to place it in their goal at the side of the stadium, the ball held in plain view at all times. If the ball strays into the inner zone it is out of play and a new ball is fired. The roller-skaters hang on to the motorbikes to give them momentum and block other players. The players on roller skates can use force against one another but to attack a motorbike rider or a roller skater who has fallen to the ground is a foul and punished by three minutes out of the arena. If injured a player can be rescued by medics and replaced by a substitute.