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Murderball (2005)

Joe Soares , Keith Cavill , Dana Adam Shapiro , Henry Alex Rubin  |  R |  DVD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (72 customer reviews)

List Price: $14.98
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Product Details

  • Actors: Joe Soares, Keith Cavill, Mark Zupan, Joe Bishop, Andy Cohn
  • Directors: Dana Adam Shapiro, Henry Alex Rubin
  • Producers: Dana Adam Shapiro, Christian Ettinger, Jeff Sackman, Jeffrey V. Mandel, Mark Urman
  • Format: Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Velocity / Thinkfilm
  • DVD Release Date: November 29, 2005
  • Run Time: 88 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (72 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000B5XP24
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #35,860 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Murderball" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Murderball Special featuring Johnny Knoxville and Steve-O from MTV's Jackass and Mark Zupan
  • CNN Larry King Live Exclusive Interview
  • Featurette: Murderball: Behind the Game
  • Joe Soares Interview Update
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Filmmaker Commentary (Featuring Dana Adam Shapiro, Henry-Alex Rubin and Jeff Mandel)
  • Player Commentary (Featuring Mark Zupan, Scott Hoggsett and Andy Cohn)
  • NYC Premiere - Keith Gets His Chair
  • THINK MTV Outreach Page

Editorial Reviews

More than merely a sports documentary or an inspirational profile of triumph over adversity, "Murderball" offers a refreshing and progressive attitude toward disability while telling unforgettable stories about uniquely admirable people. It's ostensibly a film about quadriplegic rugby (or "Murderball," as it was formerly known), in which players with at least "some" loss of physical function in all four limbs navigate modified wheelchairs in a hardcore, full-contact sport that takes them all the way to the Paralympic Games in Athens, Greece, in 2004. But as we get to know paralyzed or amputee players on Team USA like Andy Cohn, Scott Hogsett, Bob Lujano and charismatic team spokesman Mark Zupan, we come to understand that quad rugby is a saving grace for these determined competitors, who battle Team Canada coach (and former Team USA superstar) Joe Soares en route to the climactic contest in Athens. Simply put, "Murderball" is the best film to date about living with a severe disability, but codirectors Henry Alex Rubin and Dana Adam Shapiro avoid the sappy, inspirational sentiment that hampers nearly all mainstream films involving disability. By the time this blazing 85-minute film reaches its emotional conclusion, the issue of disability is almost irrelevant; these guys are as normal as anyone, and their life stories led to "Murderball" becoming the most critically acclaimed documentary of 2005. "--Jeff Shannon"

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An incredible sports documentary February 11, 2006
Format:DVD
This powerful documentary should serve as an antidote to anyone who ever felt uncomfortable around a person in a wheelchair. The individuals profiled, all participants in the full-contact sport of wheelchair rugby, are independent and demand to be regarded without pity. They are fierce competitors in a grueling sport, going for the gold in the Paralympics in a 12-country competition.

Although several people are featured, the central figures are Marc Zupan and Joe Soares. Marc is currently among the top players in the sport, a charismatic man whose zest for life will not be diminished. Joe, a former superstar, is at first bitter about the way age has robbed him of his skills; a dramatic and unexpected development midway through the film seems to transform the way he looks at life and his relationship with his son.

Like the best documentaries, "Murderball" offers a glimpse into the lives of people that have much to teach us. Recommended.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Murderball is Oscar worthy! February 25, 2006
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
"Murderball" is nothing short of brilliant. Hats off to the filmmakers of this documentary for a compelling look at a violent sport (quadroplegic indoor rugby), the men who set the tone and the mood for it and the real people behind those public visages. This is a tale about overcoming adversity and getting your life back after circumstance has taken it away. The real life Murderball players are from all walks of life. They reached the point in their lives where their desire to overcome adversity, commitment, and skills, allowed them to focus on becoming winners.

The filmmakers never preach in this film. They present reality as reality. They give us slices of the players' lives, their loves, their foibles. They shot the film from the viewpoint of sitting in a wheelchair; it is an intimate look at what the view is from there. We see the struggle putting clothes on, rolling over, tackling a task such as taking your shoes off. We get to experience the laughter and the joy of finding out that you can still enjoy sex, and the casts' surprisingly good humor about the endless fascination some females have for men in wheelchairs. We also see how self-sufficient is a man who can hustle himself and all his equipment through an airport; for whom international travel has become a reality and a frequent opportunity at the highest echelons of the sport. The directors concentrate on what makes a team a team, and how team pride, at this level, uplifts to pride in the country you play for. There's some brief explanation of the rules of wheelchair rugby, but mostly you get the feel of the action by watching slices of the USA's matches against their arch-rivals, the Canadian team. Particularly telling is a feature that shows the amount of points a team can have on the floor at any one moment.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Important Film To Watch February 14, 2006
Format:DVD
This film taught a lot. It taught how stupid (usually alcohol-related) accidents in your youth can turn your world upside down, but it also taught how to come to terms with tragedy and remain true to yourself and your desires. These guys don't let their disabilities keep them on the sidelines, or keep them from finding girlfriends who would probably be a "catch" in anyone's book. They never sell themselves short. I think this would be a great film to show kids, to teach them to never judge people in wheelchairs and to treat everyone the same... all that good stuff. But, it is totally inappropriate for young viewers because of all the profanity and the bit about quadripelgic sex. It is a shame to me that a film with such an uplifting and important message has an R rating. But I still very much enjoyed this documentary.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating look at dedicated athletes March 1, 2006
Format:DVD
This is a lively documentary about wheelchair rugby athletes on the road to the Para-Olympics in Athens. We are introduced to Mark Zupan, the outspoken hot-shot of the team, Joe Soares, a former teammate who now coaches America's rival, the Canadian team, and several others. They all describe how they became quadriplegics, how their lives have been affected, and how much they love this sport (originally named "murderball"). Each man is passionately devoted to the sport and their enthusiasm is contagious, even though it's a very, very rough and demanding sport. We also meet a young man in a rehab facility who has just had a spinal cord injury and see him excited for the first time at the thought of playing wheelchair rugby.

This film opened a whole new world to me; it was exciting, surprising, and definitely inspiring. I'm glad that it was nominated for an Academy Award.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Paralympics Take On Hollywood ...And Score! March 10, 2006
Format:DVD
MURDERBALL, simply put, is a bunch of quadriplegics in wheelchairs playing full-contact Rugby on a sort of basketball court. But the movie is much more than that simplistic notion.

MURDERBALL the movie is a voyage of discovery, telling its characters (the men in these wheelchairs) that life isn't over after a debilitating accident. And telling us, those who are fortunate enough not to be stuck in these chairs, that they've earned our respect, not our sympathies.

This amazingly little known Paralympic sport is taken very seriously by the U.S. team, who've taken home the gold the past 11 times. Their specialized chairs are turned into battering rams for plowing into their fellow players (the speed at which they can travel are impressive and the impacts at the end ear-throttling).

Mark Zupan is one of this documentary's focuses, a quadriplegic with serious attitude, huge biceps, a scowling face, dark tattoos, and, underneath it all, a heart of gold. Having been paralyzed after an accident caused by his best friend from high school, Christopher Igoe, the two have not spoken in years ...out of guilt, fear, and anger. But as the film winds down we see a softening in attitude on Mark Zupan's part and the two come together in an offish but very touching way.

The other main focus of the documentary is on Joe Soares, a bitter man who lost his position on team America and now spins his Rugby wheels for the Canadian team ...as their coach. Sparks fly as the two teams meet up for the first time since Joe Soares took over the Canadian team. Joe is also so caught up in what he's doing that he forgets to remember the most important things in his life: his wife and son. At first, I absolutely hated Joe.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Jackass segment in the special features
I've seen quad rugby before and this is very accurate. Watch the special features. The Jackass segment was hilarious. Highly recommend.
Published 3 months ago by Rattboy
4.0 out of 5 stars sportsmanship, supreme
high compitition in the sports world.. and a little humor mixed in too! Oh, and yeah the guys use wheelchairs. and a sexy bunch too!
Published 4 months ago by Daniese McMullin-Powell
4.0 out of 5 stars Great documentary!
Really enjoyed this documentary, going into rehab medicine, great to see what people are capable of after life changing injuries.
Published 15 months ago by Atma
5.0 out of 5 stars great movie
i ordered murderball because im in a wheelchair and have always loved watching quad rugby but never sseen this movie. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Steve Rogers
4.0 out of 5 stars Fast-paced documentary
Murderball shows vividly that athleticism and competition cannot be defeated by physical limitations. I learned a lot from this film (e.g. Read more
Published 17 months ago by bowtieprof
5.0 out of 5 stars Exceptional documentary on "American Rugby"
Documentary is brilliant but this Reviewer would have appreciated more "live action"...this is a "new" sport and the "sport" aspect could have been mined deeper. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Phil S.
5.0 out of 5 stars LOVE This Movie!
Now "Murderball" is called "Wheelchair Rugby". They had to "tone down" the name for sponsors. I still like "Murderball" though. Read more
Published 19 months ago by G. Hearn
5.0 out of 5 stars Very enjoyable documentary
I had to watch this movie for class and was pleasantly surprised that it was quite humerous and lighthearted while still going into the serious parts of life. Read more
Published on March 20, 2012 by kwilla
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling story of an exciting sport
I found this to be an interesting look into the day-to-day world of quad rugby players. The film itself is well done. Read more
Published on October 24, 2011 by S. Sadler
5.0 out of 5 stars A great film
Simply put: One of my favorites. I have a c4-c6 injury level and every time I see this film I just want to continue with my hard work over at Therapy. Love this film!
Published on September 11, 2011 by Joewee
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