Skating in Movies: Part I
The 70’s were the golden era of roller skating but you can go back to the 1910’s to find the first movie to center around roller skating and go as late as 2009 to find a skate-centered film.
The Rink (1916):
Starring Charlie Chaplin, The Rink is about a waiter turned roller rink master back when men skated in three-piece suits and women skated in dresses. Check out the full short, silent film here: https://archive.org/details/CC_1916_12_04_TheRink
The Fireball (1950)
An orphan runs away from an orphanage and becomes a roller skating star on the derby circuit. This one stars a full-energized Mickey Rooney with a small part by Marilyn Monroe.
Kansas City Bomber (1972)
Raquel Welch stars with a 10 year old Jodie Foster in this tale of a roller-derby skater trying to balance her personal life and dreams of stardom. Lots of fights, insults and derby bouts meet her on the way to the top.
The future always looks bleak in movies and so this futuristic film shows how corporations have taken over and use a violent game (think Hunger Games) to help control the population (think Hunger Games) until one player threatens to topple corporate control (think Hunger Games). Obviously, Rollerball involves roller skating.
Listed as a Musical Fantasy and starring Olivia Newton-John hot off her Grease fame, Xanadu inspired the creation of the Golden Raspberry Awards because most considered it the worst film of the year. Beyond that fact, it was also Gene Kelly’s last film and received the famous one-line review of: "In a word, Xana-don't".
We once again find ourselves in the bleak future, this time post-nuclear apocalypse where the only water available is supplied by a bad and mean corporation. Through roller hockey and a secret orb found in a mine, a team of youngsters unite and take on the evil corporation. Yes, this was a movie and it starred Lukas Haas and Jason Patric.
Can’t Stop the Music (1980)
This pseudo biopic on the Village People has Steve Guttenberg rolling around on skates and stars Bruce Jenner, Valerie Perrine and the Village People.
Everything movie-related must have a sequel so check out Part Two of Skating in Movies that feature films from 1990 to the present. Share your favorite roller skating films prior to 1990 on the Inline Skates Facebook Page.