Rollerball

1975

Action / Sci-Fi / Sport

70
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 67%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 62%
IMDb Rating 6.6 10 19756

Synopsis


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Director

Cast

James Caan as Jonathan E.
Maud Adams as Ella
Sarah Douglas as Party Guest
Pamela Hensley as Mackie
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
869.35 MB
1280*720
English
NR
23.976 fps
2hr 5 min
P/S 0 / 2
1.84 GB
1920*1080
English
NR
23.976 fps
2hr 5 min
P/S 1 / 20

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Raymond 6 / 10

Weird movie, great action, mediocre drama

In a way I waited for about 30 years to see this movie and finally caught it on a local art house cinema. It was shown from a 16mm print. Even in the 80s when I was a kid and growing up with the movies this had a bit of a cult reputation. Very violent, so no one was allowed to see it so it became a bit of a curiosity. Later I just never ran across it, no video or dvd rental seemed to have it nor was it shown in TV. Later I have also built up a major affection for 70s sci-fi movies, especially those that have something to say, so I was pretty excited to see it.

So.. did it live up to the expectations I had built? Not really. The rollerball action scenes were amazing and I was very drawn into the movie early on. Very well made. But when the actual plot started to reveal, I kind of lost interest. The movie is about corporations ruling the globe and the corporations apparently don't like the fact that a rollerball player (James Caan) is starting to gain individual following and hero status over a "team effort". So they try to get him to retire and as he doesn't want to, they change the game rules to get him out of the game "natural way". James Caan's character starts to question the whole system and goes on to find answers and keeps playing.

It kind of sounds interesting, but it never really is. The motives - for everyone - are pretty vague. We don't see much of anything about the so called dystopian future, so it's difficult to put any actions into a proper context. Why don't the executives just ditch Caan, he gets to play as if no one really cares if he plays or not. The same when he goes to an "all knowing" computer to seek answers. He just walks in. But doesn't get any answers. The whole scene is pretty awkward.

The music is also somewhat overly dramatic many times with well known classical pieces like Albinoni adagio. They kind of work, but then again they don't quite fit every time.

There are good stuff too. The cinematography is amazing by Douglas Slocombe, one of my favorite cinematographers. There are very nicely directed scenes, very effective stuff. I'm not a huge action fan, but the rollerball scenes were very well done.

So definitely a mixed bag. I wouldn't rate this among the best dystopian future movies, but it's nevertheless an interesting catch. Maybe it would require another go to really get into it.

Reviewed by Tweetienator 8 / 10

Mother of Futuristic Gladiators

The 70s got some of the best sci-fi movies ever done: Soylent Green, Colossus, Silent Running, Solaris, The Omega Man, Logan's Run, Westworld, Dark Star, Star Wars, The Black Hole, Alien, Mad Max, Stalker and and and.

One of those classics is Rollerball with James Caan as the superplayer of a deadly game, made by the corporations who rule now the world to entertain the masses. Jonathan (James Caan) the hero of the masses got so famous and popular that the bosses get afraid of him.

Many of those mentioned movies may look now a little old-fashioned or vintage compared to the modern sci-fi CGI galore productions but despite the very reduced special effects compared to the contemporary movies they got innovative ideas, good to superb directing and - imo the far better actors. Nowadays Hollywood darlings are imo really shallow to watch if I compare them with such titans like Heston and Cann and the many nameless good sidekick- actors.

This one is the mother of all Gladiator movies in a sci-fi/dystopian context. Watch.

Reviewed by TheLittleSongbird 7 / 10

"Rollerball was meant to demonstrate the futility of resistance, no man was ever intended to become bigger than the game."

There were quite a number of reasons why 'Rollerball' intrigued me in the first place. The concept was a really intriguing one. It has been praised for its use of classical music, a delight for a lifelong classical music fan. There are some talented names here, James Caan especially. And Norman Jewison has done some good films, such as 'In the Heat of the Night' and 'Fiddler on the Roof'.

My opinion of 'Rollerball' is that it is a flawed film but also a very impressive one. The momentum does sag, particularly in the middle, in some scenes not on the arena. Bogged down by a little too much extraneous talk, like the Ella story line, and a few ideas that could have gone into more depth. Of the characters, the only ones that are really developed like "real" characters are Jonathan E and Bartholomew (Ella particularly is a cipher), and parts while well intended are laid on too thick somewhat.

However, 'Rollerball' is well made visually. It's all very slick and stylish and the set for the rollerball arena still makes one go wow. Liked the look of the future dystopia, not extraordinary but it was atmospheric. Jewison directs with assurance, while the script has a lot of intelligent and thought-provoking lines and ideas that resonate a lot and still are very much relevant. The message is much appreciated and is very much pertinent.

Story is intriguing and has enough to compel, and Jonathan E and Bartholomew are very interesting characters. The supporting cast, particularly John Beck, are solid.

'Rollerball' excels particularly in four particularly strongly done areas. The tautly filmed and edited rollerball sequences are incredibly exciting and have a real sense of disturbing danger and nerve-shredding tension too. Andre Previn does well with the music score, but shining even more is to me some of the best use of classical music on film, including the most beautiful use of Albinoni's Adagio ('Manchester By the Sea' also used it beautifully but it's done more subtly here), Bach's Toccata used very creepily and the best use of Shostakovich on film. It's not just that the music itself is wonderful but also that they are so cleverly used, almost ironically and also unnervingly.

James Caan is a highly charismatic lead and gives the character nuances, while John Houseman's Bartholomew is chilling. One cannot review 'Rollerball' without mentioning the incredibly powerful ending either.

Overall, very impressive but flawed. 7/10 Bethany Cox

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