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Film / Rollercoaster

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No, this is not an Alfred Hitchcock movie, despite what the poster would have you believe.

Rollercoaster is a 1977 American thriller film directed by James Goldstone, starring George Segal, Richard Widmark, Timothy Bottoms, and Henry Fonda.

An unnamed saboteur, simply called "Young Man" in the credits (Bottoms), sneaks into Ocean View Amusement Park and places a small radio-controlled bomb on the tracks of the Rocket, the park's wooden roller coaster. The bomb detonates and a coaster train derails, killing and injuring the riders. Safety inspector Harry Calder (Segal), who initially cleared the ride, is called to the park to investigate. It is soon discovered that the attack was just one of many taking place at amusement parks throughout the country, and it's up to Calder and FBI Agent Hoyt (Widmark) to stop the bomber.

Notable as one of the few films to be screened with the "Sensurround" process at select theaters, which caused those watching it to vibrate during certain "thrill scenes" involving the rides.


This film features examples of:

  • Amusement Park of Doom: A series of terrorist bombings targets various amusement parks around the U.S.
  • Bowdlerise: The ending was changed from the Young Man getting his foot stuck on the tracks and sliced by the Revolution's train to him getting hit and killed by the train, out of fear that the former would be too extreme for a PG rating and thus receive an R rating (this being made in the era prior to the introduction of PG-13).
  • Confucian Confusion: Tracy Calder attributes a Biblical quote to Confucius, which her dad promptly lampshades. Justified in that she claims to have learned that from a fortune cookie.
    Tracy Calder: Confucius say, "With faith, man can move mountain."
    Harry Calder: I thought Jesus said that?
    Tracy Calder: Well, maybe he did. But according to that fortune cookie...
    Fran: Which is yours, by the way.
    Tracy Calder: ...Confucius said it, too.
    Harry Calder: Don't believe everything you read.
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  • Mad Bomber: The Young Man, who doesn't seem to care about the victims that he causes and is very good with bombs.
  • No Name Given: The bomber's name is never revealed, simply being called "Young Man" in the credits.
  • One-Word Title: It's just Rollercoaster.
  • Shoe Phone: The Young Man manages to trick out a radio into a bomb, which he then gives Calder.