Rollerball

Director: Norman Jewison

Cast: James Caan, John Houseman, John Beck, Maud Adams, Moses Gunn, Pamela Hensley, Barbara Trentham, John Normington, Shane Rimmer, Richard LeParmentier, Ralph Richardson, Burt Kwouk, Robert Ito, Nancy Bleier

In the future, to distract and entertain the people, the corporations that govern the world sponsor teams that compete in the game of Rollerball. Ten-year veteran player Johnathan E. (Caan) is the leader of the Houston team, representing the Energy corporation. Johnathan and his team are in top form as they start a new season, ready to win another championship. When corporate executive Bartholomew (Houseman) suggests it is time for Johnathan to retire, the player decides he is not yet ready to leave the game. As the rollerball season gets underway, Johnathan, his close friend Moonpie (Beck), and their teammates are shown to lead a life of luxury and fame between violent games. As top-notch players, they are stars with worldwide appeal. Bartholomew again confers with Johnathan, making it clear he wants him to retire. When Johnathan declines, Bartholomew begins to apply pressure. Opposing team players raise the gameís level of viciousness and begin to specially target Johnathan. Seeking to understand why, despite his team loyalty and excellent performance, corporate leadership has turned against him, Johnathan accesses corporate data bases, and although he fails to get straight answers from the whimsical librarian (Richardson), he begins to realize that all is not well with corporate governance. Ella (Adams), Johnathanís estranged wife, attempts to induce him to retire, but he rejects her when he realizes sheís a corporate agent. The rollerball rules are altered and the games become increasingly dangerous. Johnathanís superior skill and experience allow him to survive a brutal game at Tokyo, but Moonpie and others are seriously injured. Rollerball was designed to demonstrate the futility of individual effort, and Johnathanís continued triumphs cause corporate executives to fear him. When Bartholomew bluntly tries to force him to quit, Johnathan defies him. A final game decides whether an individualís will and ability can defeat the purpose for which the game was designed. Orchestral music by J.S. Bach and Tchaikovsky. Based on Willian Harrisonís short story Roller Ball Murder.


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