Movie Review: Rollerball (1975)

Why would I possibly bother to review a movie that came out in 1975?

Because my commitment to myself is to review every movie I watch. Fortunately, I don’t watch too many, so I can keep this up.

In 1975, I was 18. I didn’t want to watch Rollerball then because it had a reputation of being a crappy movie. So I passed.

Over the years, it seems to have become a cult classic.

The other day it was my wife’s turn to pick the movie for the night. Not sure why she picked Rollerball, but “she made me watch it” even though I got sidetracked here and there by my iPhone.

It’s about a utopian culture in the future (of 1975) when all the power lies with corporations and executives are revered. Rollerball is an extremely violent sport, but it seems to rule the world. Teams are sponsored by big business and controlled by big business. Jonathan (James Caan) is the ultimate superhero of the sport. The chairman of the company wants him to retire from the sport, but Jonathan, ever the maverick, does not cooperate.

To get him out, they keep changing the rules of the game, making it ever more difficult to play (and survive). But Jonathan has plans for them.

The story is pretty simple, and the acting seemed horrible to me. But I am not sure if it was due to the fact that this was vintage 1975, and that’s just what they did then. I did get a kick out of what they thought the future would look like. This was before the first personal computers were even conceptualized. The computers they showed were DEC-like machines with big old RP06 drive cartridges we used in the late 1970ies.

I stayed with the movie – as a good husband will when the wife chooses and here is my rating. Please note that it’s half a star better than one of the worst movies I can ever remember watching: The Room (see review here).

Enjoy – at your own risk!

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