This film is a classic. A brilliant adaptation of the future and that is way better than the updated version that John McTiernan released which to this day cannot hold a candle to this science fiction masterpiece that was released in 1975. The year 1975 brought out some of the best movies of that year and some to this day still holds its own. From "One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest",to "Jaws","Shampoo",the rock musicals "Tommy",and "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" to the performances of "Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore" to "Dog Day Afternoon",and not to mention "Nashville" and the sequel "French Connection II",and "The Eiger Sanction",these films represented what a year it was in motion pictures especially in the year 1975.
The film "Rollerball"(United Artists,1975),was screenplay by William Harrison and directed by Norman Jewison,who was Oscar nominated for his brilliant direction in such films,"In The Heat Of The Night",and the musical "Fiddler On The Roof",is no stranger to science fiction material. The film is set in the year 2018 where there are no wars and no crime,but there is only....the Game. In a world where corporations rule and no one asks questions-the vicious and barbaric sport of Rollerball satisfies the violent impulses of the masses. Tuned to their televisions,the people watch the sport of the future which is a brutal mutation of football,the Romanesque gladiator fighting,motorcross and hockey. Jonathan E.(played brilliantly by James Caan) is the champion Rollerball player-a man too good for his own good. The corporation has taken away the woman he loves(Maud Adams),but they won't take away his soul even if the diabolical corporate head(John Houseman)tells him he'd better retire..or suffer the old-fashioned way.
With some surrealistic imagery,Orwellian theme,and tense action with some of the best action sequences ever filmed,this picture will grip you from the moment the ball rolling out and zooms into the stadium to its chilling cilmax,this movie has haunted audiences as it takes a look into the future and what the future would become,and has a stunning effect. James Caan's performance is something to marvel at and John Houseman's performance as the diabolical corporate executive is a chilling and stalking cold and with some of the strong support from its cast including John Beck,Moses Gunn,and Ralph Richardson.
The 1975 version is worth seeing..it is the original and still the best of its genre...Don't even bother with the 2002 version with was directed by John McTiernan.