6.6/10
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175 user 106 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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Won 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 3 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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Executive
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Bartholomew's Aide (as Rick LeParmentier)
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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:

The next World War will not be fought. It will be PLAYED. See more »

Genres:

Action | Sci-Fi | Sport

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Official Sites:

Country:

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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

The crowd scenes use sounds recorded from an Arkansas-TCU basketball game in Fayetteville, Arkansas. See more »

Goofs

At the beginning of the Madrid game, there is a shot of the crowd just after Jonathan E. takes possession of the ball for the first time; visible in the shot is the scoreboard, reading 1-0 Houston. Neither team has scored as yet. 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.
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Connections

Remade as Rollerball (2002) See more »

Soundtracks

Glass Sculpture
(uncredited)
Composed by André Previn
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Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
An Action Classic With Brains!
14 March 2005 | by See all my reviews

I first saw this movie on HBO at the age of 14 and I sensed immediately that it was a classic, a combination of action, sports, sex, and social commentary. All the years of viewing other films have only made me more and more appreciative of this movie's many strengths.

On one level, I believe this is the best sports movie ever made. It is miles ahead of more "realistic" films like NORTH DALLAS FORTY or SEMI TOUGH or even critical favorites like COBB and EIGHT MEN OUT. The very fact that Rollerball is a make believe sport adds believability to the action sequences. Watch a baseball film and you can see at a glance that Robert Redford or Kevin Costner are not real athletes. But since rollerball has never been played, James Caan as Jonathan E really looks like the best in the game. There are no "clichés" like home runs or long passes to spoil the danger and excitement -- every crash and goal is new, never having been seen before. And there are no clichés about the fans, the athletes, or "win one for the Gipper" or gamblers or shady ladies trying to make Our Hero throw the game. From the beginning we sense the stakes are higher -- Jonathan E will either conform or die.

That brings up the fact that ROLLERBALL also shares a central theme with a lot of other powerful movies, like FROM HERE TO ETERNITY, COOL HAND Luke, and even A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS. What happens when a uniquely gifted individual refuses to participate in a corrupt system? This movie is so powerful as a drama you hardly notice the sci fi trappings. The rugged action scenes are so real you hardly notice that rollerball is a make believe game.

James Caan as Jonathan E turns in a sensitive, nuanced performance, deliberately underplaying the tough guy side as much as possible. Michael Beck as Moonpie is the foolishly overconfident one, playing Frank Sinatra's Maggio to Caan's Robert E. Lee Pruitt. But unlike the hard luck privates in this man's army, these rollerball stars get to have glamor, luxury, and unlimited sex between vicious games of rollerball. The movie captures so much sensuality and glamor that you can see why men risk death game after game to be known as "great rollerballers who bash in faces." This movie is spectacular -- an action classic with brains!


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