Originally invented in the 18th century, roller skates, and eventually rollerblading, were all the rage in the 70s. Even those who were not around at the time can appreciate the roller discos of the era, which combined music, skating, and colorful outfits. Rollerblades, on the other hand, came slightly later. According to thegoodestate, the first rollerblades as we know them today, with three wheels in a single row, were manufactured in the basement of two Minnesota brothers who thought they could improve on the traditional design. Here is our list of the most popular roller skating and rollerblading films bound to make you hit the closest rink.
1. The Rollerblading Boogie Nights
In a tribute to the early days of the American adult film industry, Boogie Nights aptly features one of the greatest cultural trends of the time — roller skating. Based on a popular port star of the 70s and 80s, Brandy, played by Heather Graham, is very much into her roller skates. In fact, so much so that she never takes them off. Perhaps one of the best moments in the film comes when Brandy and Dirk Diggler, her porn co-star, played by Mark Wahlberg, perform a free-spirited disco dance number. This is, of course, before the excesses of the industry start to take their toll on all involved.
2. The Rollerblading Xanadu
Although Xanadu was not well received when it was first released in 1980, it later gained a cult following and even inspired a Broadway musical. To its defense, the film features a great soundtrack of 70s and 80s hits and plenty of 10-minute dance and skate sequences. Kira is played by Olivia Newton-John. She is a roller-skating muse who inspires Sonny Malone. Sonny is an artist played by Michael Beck, to open a nightclub called Xanadu. Apparently, Olivia Newton-John did all her own skating for the film around the boardwalks of LA and empty auditoriums.
3. Whip It
This film is Drew Barrymore’s directorial debut. The charming film brings to life the world of women’s roller derby. (The screenplay for the film was written by a professional derby athlete. So you can rest assured that you are getting the real deal here.) Whip It tells the story of Bliss Cavendar, played by Ellen Page. An outcast whose life changed after she joined the Hurl Scouts, a local roller derby team. It remains reported that Page had never roller skated before she landed her role in the film. She had to undergo rigorous training with a coach nicknamed “Axles of Evil” before she could perform the skating sequences.
This 1993 comedy/drama tells the story of Mitchell “Goose” Goosen. Mitchell is played by Shane McDermott, who remains forced to stay with his aunt in Cincinnati after his parents leave for Australia to work on a zoology project. A surfer at heart, Mitchell struggles to fit into his new surroundings until he starts rollerblading in street hockey games. The most memorable moment of the film comes courtesy of a skating contest down a hill called The Devils’ Backbone.
Remade in 2002, this 1975 film is set in “the not too distant future,” or 2018 to be precise. A global corporate state controls pretty much everything, including housing, transportation, and communication. The film centers around rollerball, a violent sport that involves two teams on rollerblades that race around a circular track in an attempt to throw a steel ball into a magnetic, cone-shaped goal. All players are free to attack the opposing team — hence the body armor — and there are even motorcycle riders that get in on the action.