Murderball (film)

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Theatrical release poster
Directed by Henry Alex Rubin
Dana Adam Shapiro
Produced by Jeffrey V. Mandel
Dana Adam Shapiro
Starring Keith Cavill
Andy Cohn
Scott Hogsett
Christopher Igoe
Mark Zupan
Bob Lujano
Joe Soares
Brent Poppen
Music by Jamie Saft
Cinematography Henry Alex Rubin
Edited by Conor O'Neill
Geoffrey Richman
Distributed by ThinkFilm
Release date
  • July 8, 2005 (2005-07-08) (Limited)
  • July 22, 2005 (2005-07-22)
Running time
88 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Box office $1,750,211

Murderball is a 2005 American documentary film about athletes who are physically disabled[1] who play wheelchair rugby. It centers on the rivalry between the Canadian and U.S. teams leading up to the 2004 Paralympic Games. It was directed by Henry Alex Rubin and Dana Adam Shapiro, and produced by Jeffrey V. Mandel and Shapiro. It was nominated for Best Documentary Feature for the 78th Academy Awards.[2] Murderball was the first MTV film released through ThinkFilm as well as Participant Media.

UN screening[edit]

The film was screened at the United Nations uncut. One of its stars, Mark Zupan, winced when describing how embarrassed he was to have his mother hear his remarks on the sex lives of persons with quadriplegia.


Murderball was shot on a low budget. The main camera used was a Panasonic AG-DVX100; a Sony PD150 was used to shoot some of the early interviews. The crew rigged a Sennheiser shotgun microphone to use as a boom, and relied heavily on Lavaliere wireless microphones as well. Available lighting was used almost exclusively. Additional light was provided using an inexpensive china ball. In one example of on-the-spot lighting, a flashlight was diffused using only a napkin.[3]


Murderball garnered almost universally positive reviews; it currently holds a 98% 'fresh' rating on Rotten Tomatoes.[4] This film is also #1 on the Rotten Tomatoes countdown of the top sports movies.[5] Murderball also received positive reviews from[6] and Roger Ebert, who said "This is one of those rare docs, like Hoop Dreams, where life provides a better ending than the filmmakers could have hoped for."[7]


Award Category Recipient Result
Sundance Film Festival Audience Award Best Documentary Feature Won
78th Academy Awards Best Documentary Feature Nominated
Full Frame Documentary Film Festival Audience Award Best Feature Won
Indianapolis International Film Festival Audience Award Best Feature Film Won
Best Non-Fiction Film Won


  1. ^ "A layperson's guide to wheelchair rugby classification" (PDF). International Wheelchair Rugby Federation. Retrieved 2013-01-30. 
  2. ^ "NY Times: Murderball". NY Times. Retrieved 2008-11-23. 
  3. ^ "Murderball + Monster Man". Double Feature. June 4, 2009
  4. ^ Murderball at Rotten Tomatoes
  5. ^ Rotten Tomatoes Top Sports Movies 18 November 2010
  6. ^ Murderball (2005)
  7. ^ Ebert, Roger (July 21, 2005). "Murderball".

External links[edit]