When Billie Beat Bobby (2001)

TV Movie  |  PG  |   |  Comedy, Drama, Sport  |  16 April 2001 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.1/10 from 460 users  
Reviews: 15 user | 4 critic

The historic 1973 tennis match between middle-aged champion Bobby Riggs and young feminist Billie Jean King.



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Nominated for 2 Primetime Emmys. Another 6 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Jerry Perenchio
Margaret Court
Rosie Casals
Lornie Kuhle
Ted Tinling
Debbie the hairdresser
Sidney Schlenker


The historic 1973 tennis match between middle-aged champion Bobby Riggs and young feminist Billie Jean King.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


It's not just the size of your racquet. It's The Way You Swing it.


Comedy | Drama | Sport

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for language and thematic elements





Release Date:

16 April 2001 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Battle of the Sexes  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?


The customized "Astrobus" that Bobby Riggs was chauffeured in was a 1979 or 1980 Dodge Van, which was manufactured over six years after the King-Riggs tournament in the Houston Astrodome. See more »


Bobby Riggs: I'm like a tiger gettin' ready to spring!
See more »

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User Reviews

Surprisingly Funny/Poignant "documentary"-except for Willard...
21 April 2006 | by (Nebraska) – See all my reviews

This movie (which I bought on DVD, having missed the initial TV run) takes a decidedly tongue-in-cheek approach to the legendary King/Riggs "Battle of the Sexes" tennis match...which is totally appropriate! Silver and Hunter do a magnificent job of portraying the combatants, who actually cared for each other and had no ill will towards the other. The movie does a fine job of showing that their "battle" was co-opted by others, rather than by anything they actually did (though both rode the hype to their own successes).

In addition, the movie is a hoot. King's nightmare sequences are absolutely comical, and you can actually feel Riggs' bewilderment with his "hustle" that has gone completely beyond his wildest dreams, as well as spun out of his control. And, the tennis playing is quite 'serviceable', to excuse the poorly adapted pun. Also, the historical accuracy is commendable (many forget that Riggs thumped Margaret Court before playing King--an event well adapted here, as well), and ABC file footage of the event is inter-spaced nicely.

The ONLY real criticism is the use of Fred Willard as Howard Cosell. He makes NO attempt to be anything except good ol' Fred with plastic hair (not even Howard's rug looked THAT bad), and every appearance of him on screen leaves one wondering, "WHY??" A definite drag on what was otherwise an excellent production.

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