What's the Difference between Rollerball Murder the Book and Rollerball the Movie?

Science Fiction

Rollerball Murder

Released: 1973
Author: William Harrison


Released: 1975
Director: Norman Jewison
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In the Book In the Movie
Jonathhon E
Jonathhon E
Portrayed by: James Caan
Mr. Bartholomew
Mr. Bartholomew
Portrayed by: John Houseman
Portrayed by: John Beck
Portrayed by: Moses Gun
Portrayed by: Maud Adams
Portrayed by: Pamela Hensley
Portrayed by: Barbara Trentham
This Character does not appear.
Rusty, Team Exec
Portrayed by: Shane Rimmer
This Character does not appear.
Portrayed by: Ralph Richardson
Rollerball Book vs Movie
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This Spoils the Ending
In the Book In the Movie
   Each team has 20 players; 10 skaters, 5 runners and 5 bikers on 175cc motorcycles. Play lasts for two hours with no substitutes, no penalties (including deliberate killing) or rest periods. Each team has 10 players on the rink at once. 5 skaters, 2 skater/catchers, 3 bikers on 125cc motorcycles. There are 5 substitute skaters and 3 substitute bikers. There are 3 periods, 20 minutes each with 2 minute rest breaks. Penalties include hiding the ball, skating in the wrong direction, using the ball as a weapon, skaters/bikers deliberately injuring each other
   Jonathon asks Cletus to bring Ella to him. Ella visits and they spend an enjoyable time together before she leaves. After Jonathon refuses to retire and survives the Tokyo game, Ella is sent to him in an attempt to convince him to retire. He refuses and says she is just a reward sent by the Corp.
   This does not happen in the book. Mr. Batholomew speaks with other executives and discusses why Jonathon needs to die during a game after he refuses to retire. People must be shown that the individual doesn't matter.
   Scoring. The runners use lacrosse like paddles to bash other players and to catch the ball. A point is scored when a runner passes the skaters on the other team and hands the ball off to a biker. The runner can catch a ride with a biker. The skaters try to stop the runners from scoring; brawling is normal. A point is scored when a skater is able to throw the ball into one of 21 inch goals. The skater has to keep the ball in plain view after he gets it from a catcher for one track revolution and score prior to the 3rd trip around the track or else the ball is dead and a new one fired. Fighting is usual.
   Mr. Bartholomew was recently demoted in the Energy Corporation and is sort of a father figure to Jonathon; he offers to help him obtain films on history to learn. Jonathon wants more, he wants power. There is no conspiracy to kill Jonathon in the game. Batholomew is never demoted. He is the central figure in the Executive conspiracy to have Jonathon killed during a Rollerball game. The extreme violence in Rollerball was devised to show that an individual doesn't matter. Jonathon's heroism is defeating the purpose of Rollerball.
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