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This review is from: Rollerball [1975] - Special Edition [DVD] (DVD)

ROLLERBALL is one of the best science fiction movies ever made. It is based on the short story "Roller Ball Murder" by William Harrison and it is far more than "just" a science fiction / action movie - it is actually a very good portrayal of a dystopian future, where corporations rule instead of presidents. Wars are no longer fought with tanks and cruise missiles, but replaced by a game, Rollerball, through which the corporations fight each other. Free will and individualism no longer exist - something that Jonathan E. (James Caan) finds out when he becomes too famous for the corporates' liking, they force him to retire but he defies them.
The cast is great, especially James Caan in the lead gives a superb performance, not to say one of the best of his career. Ralph Richardson as the librarian also gives an memorable performance, especially when he comments that the entire data on the thirteenth century has been lost. Also noteworthy: John Beck as "Moonpie".
Directed by Canadian director Norman Jewison (THE CINCINNATI KID), who did a most impressive job here. Well paced and not just focused on action but brings across the dark, decadent future well. The Rollerball sequences however are fast-paced and well executed, several notches above today's CGI-overkill.
ROLLERBALL is very dark for a mainstream movie of its time and gritty - a bleak outlook from a 1970s point of view. It is also quite violent for a movie of that time, but of course the violence doesn't have the impact it had almost 40 years ago.
The score is just fantastic, consisting exclusively of classical music and including masterpieces such as Adagio by Tomaso Albinoni, Symphonies by Shostakovich or Bach's Toccata. Truely unforgettable and one of the very few soundtracks to a movie I have purchased.
ROLLERBALL was shot in Munich, Germany and London (Pinewood Studios) although it is an American movie. The game sequences were filmed at the Olympic Basketball Arena in Munich.
While overall ROLLERBALL has aged quite well, the four-wheeled roller skates are a bit silly by today's standard I guess. This can be overlooked however, since the message ROLLERBALL brings across - like Orwell's 1984 or SOLYLENT GREEN - is more up to date than ever.
ROLLERBALL is an almost flawless cult classic. Avoid the horrible remake like the plague however.

RATING: 10 / 10


Reviewed version: 2004 MGM Special Edition UK DVD
Feature running time: 120 mins. (uncut)
Rating: R (MPAA) / 15 (BBFC)
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 (anamorphic)
Audio: English 5.1
Subtitles: English for the Hearing Impaired, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, Greek, Hebrew, Hungarian, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Swedish and Turkish
Chapters: 32
Extras: Booklet, 2 Audio Commentaries, Theatrical trailer, Teaser, Making of, Featurette, Production design and production photographs stills galleries, Remake Trailer
Region: 2,4

Picture: B
Audio: B
Extras: B+
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Tracked by 1 customer

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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 3 Jul 2014 21:50:25 BDT
rbmusicman says:
I haven't seen this one for years, pretty sure I have it on DVD, may
get it on Blu-ray' and give it another whirl.
( Didn't realize 'Mr Majestyk' could have been bought on the HD format,
I bought the DVD watched it earlier....enjoyed it)
Great 'Rollerball' review 'Caligula'


In reply to an earlier post on 3 Jul 2014 21:56:42 BDT
Caligula II. says:
Thank you my friend. Was looking into a BR upgrade for Rollerball but there is only a limited edition available in the US at $60. Definitely not worth it.
Mr. Majestyk will be available on Blu-Ray in August in the States. Can't wait.

Posted on 4 Jul 2014 00:28:00 BDT
Timelord-007 says:
Awesome film with James Caan & a sci-fi classic, avoid the remake at all costs my friend it's dire.

In reply to an earlier post on 14 Jul 2014 18:09:37 BDT
McRonson says:
Damn right, Timelord!
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