The game sequences were filmed in the Olympic Basketball Arena in Munich, West Germany. Munich citizens were invited to the filming to serve as spectators to the games. Director Norman Jewison intended the movie to be anti-violence, but audiences so loved the action of the game, that there was actually talk about forming rollerball leagues in the wake of the film, which horrified him.
In the liner notes to the Region 2 DVD, Director Norman Jewison is quoted as being influenced by Stanley Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange (1971). The influence is most obviously seen in the repetitive use of zooms, classical music, and modern (concrete and glass) architecture.
Norman Jewison notes on the DVD commentary track that using classical music in a science fiction film, as was the case here, and in 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), reduces the tendency for a film to become "dated" over time. Only the party sequence contains 1970s music with MiniMoog synthesizer and overused wah pedal sounds common to the period.
Outside shots of the Energy Corporation building are actually of the corporate headquarters of car maker BMW in Munich. Outside shots of the bowl-shaped library building are of the old BMW museum. It is located only a few steps to the left of the headquarters' entrance.
The rollerball game sequences were filmed in the Basketballhalle (now known as the Audi Dome) at Olympiapark in Munich, West Germany. This was the only sports arena in the world with a nearly circular profile, which the production could take over and redress for shooting.
The laser pistol that a drunken party guest used to incinerate pine trees during the big corporate soirée, was 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.
The shot sequence ahead of the New York game shows the Palácio da Alvorada, as well as the Congresso Nacional in Brasília, Brazil, the Basilica of Saint Peter in the Vatican, and Lower Manhattan, New York.
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 150 eager Asians showing up for the required days of filming.
Although the credits list Tomaso Alibinoni as the composer of the "Adagio for Strings and Organ in G minor", it has since emerged that the work has been a bit of fakery by the late Italian musicologist Remo Giazotto, who claimed that he arranged it from a fragment of Albinoni's work. Said fragment was never produced and closer examination of the work has led to general acceptance that the Albinoni attribution is a well-orchestrated hoax. The copyright was held by Giasotto and dates from 1958.
The film was remade in 2002. The film starred Chris Klein as Jonathan Cross, and was directed by John McTiernan. The film was panned by critics, and only made nineteen million dollars at the U.S. box-office.
James Caan starred opposite Arnold Schwarzenegger in Eraser (1996). Schwarzenegger starred in The Running Man (1987), a science fiction action film, in which he starred as a LAPD cop, wrongly convicted of mass murder, who is forced to take part in a violent televised game, in which contestants are hunted by sadistic gladiators.