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Battle Royale (2000)
"Batoru rowaiaru" (original title)

Not Rated  |   |  Action, Drama, Sci-Fi  |  16 December 2000 (Japan)
7.8
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 125,229 users   Metascore: 81/100
Reviews: 576 user | 288 critic | 7 from Metacritic.com

In the future, the Japanese government captures a class of ninth-grade students and forces them to kill each other under the revolutionary "Battle Royale" act.

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Title: Battle Royale (2000)

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A group of teens face off against each other in a futuristic survival game held on a remote island. Based on the 2000 Japanese film "Battle Royal".

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Tarô Yamamoto ...
...
Kitano-sensei (as Bito Takeshi)
...
Sôsuke Takaoka ...
Takashi Tsukamoto ...
Shinji Mimura - otoko 19-ban
Yukihiro Kotani ...
Yôshitoki Kuninobu - otoko 7-ban
Eri Ishikawa ...
Yukie Utsumi - onna 2-ban
Sayaka Kamiya ...
Satomi Noda - onna 17-ban
Aki Inoue ...
Fumiyo Fujiyôshi - onna 18-ban
Takayo Mimura ...
Kayoko Kotôhiki - onna 8-ban
Yutaka Shimada ...
Yûtaka Seto - otoko 12-ban
Ren Matsuzawa ...
Keita Îjima - otoko 2-ban
Hirohito Honda ...
Kazushi Nîda - otoko 16-ban
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Storyline

Forty-two students, three days, one deserted Island: welcome to Battle Royale. A group of ninth-grade students from a Japanese high school have been forced by legislation to compete in a Battle Royale. The students are each given a bag with a randomly selected weapon and a few rations of food and water and sent off to kill each other in a no-holds-barred (with a few minor rules) game to the death, which means that the students have three days to kill each other until one survives--or they all die. The movie focuses on a few of the students and how they cope. Some decide to play the game like the psychotic Kiriyama or the sexual Mitsuko, while others like the heroes of the movie--Shuya, Noriko, and Kawada--are trying to find a way to get off the Island without violence. However, as the numbers dwell down lower and lower on an hourly basis, is there any way for Shuya and his classmates to survive? Written by Prissy Panda Princess

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

student | island | class | battle | game | See All (376) »

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Could you kill your best friend? See more »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Release Date:

16 December 2000 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

Battle Royale  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$4,500,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

Production Co:

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| (director's cut)

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1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The painting of all the students was created by Beat Takeshi Kitano. See more »

Goofs

Hirono's weapon changes from being a Browning High Power to an Colt .45 Model 1911 (just after she throws Mitsuko's weapon). See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Reporter: This year Zentsuji Middle School number 4's Class E was chosen from among 43,000 Ninth grade classes. This year's game, said to be more blistering than the last - - Oh look there! There she is! The winner's a girl! Surviving a fierce battle that raged two days, seven hours, and 43 minutes - the winner is a girl! Look, she's smiling! Smiling! The girl definitely just smiled!
See more »

Connections

References The Prisoner: The Chimes of Big Ben (1967) See more »

Soundtracks

Shizuka na hibi no kaidan wo
(Stairway of quiet everyday life)
Performed by Dragon Ash
Courtesy of Victor Entertainment, Inc.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
A Haunting Film That Demands Repeated Viewing
15 March 2006 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

The Place: Japan. The Time: The not-so-distant-future. Faced with the prospect of losing control over the nation's young people, a totalitarian government decides upon a ruthless demonstration of power. The Battle Royale Act annually sends a randomly-selected class of high school students to an uninhabited island where they are compelled to kill each other until only one of their number survives.

The reasoning behind this bizarre piece of legislation is perhaps the weakest part of the plot - but the Director deftly causes us to suspend disbelief by drawing us surely and touchingly into the feelings of the young cast. Unlike many western movies which trot out a body count of simplistic characters who are only there to die horribly for our entertainment, Battle Royale somehow manages to rapidly introduce us to the story's potential victims and make us care about them.

You will read reviews that describe this film as excessively violent. I believe that this is a gross overstatement. Though there are many deaths and not a little blood, the main emphasis is upon simple human values - issues such as trust, friendship, love and hate - which the competition tests to their very limits. Children who have little genuine experience of living are forced to evaluate their relationships with each other if they want to stay alive. Alliances are formed and broken; long suppressed crushes and barely buried antagonisms influence their decisions.

There are no easy or mindless deaths in Battle Royale. The violent scenes make the point that violence and death are not cool or funny. This is not Kill Bill; every character in Battle Royale has value as a living, breathing human being. It may sound corny to say that the movie is an emotional roller-coaster ride, but it truly is - having dared to give us three dimensional people who bleed when they are cut, the Director sometimes further dares to cruelly follow scenes of tragedy with jarring moments of biting, dark and sarcastic wit.

If this was an American movie, the class would be played by people in their twenties and thirties. Two or three of the students would be given a lot of screen time and the rest would be faceless cannon fodder. Five seconds after the opening titles, you would know who was going to survive. Despite its odd premise, Battle Royale seems closer to reality because its teenagers really are teenagers and it allows no comforting certainties about who lives or dies.

The true genius of Battle Royale lies in the talented playing of the entire cast. Although young, not one of them strikes a dud note and the script gives almost all of the students a chance to shine at some point. The fight scenes are not staged in the style of 'Enter The Dragon' - the kids are not weapons experts or Karate champions. We see them kill each other but we are not invited to hate them - they are, after all, children and they are scared and desperate. Even a student who takes to killing with apparent relish deserves our sympathy.

Some reviewers have criticised aspects of the dialogue as unrealistic. There are certainly times when the script seems stagy - but it is important to remember that these Japanese children are products of a national culture which often finds the expression of passionate emotions problematical. If anything, the formal phrasing and awkwardness of their most heartfelt expressions only serves to make them more meaningful.

The Special Edition ends (quite literally) with a question. You will find yourself going back to this movie time and time again to answer it. Each viewing is rewarded with details that you probably missed previously - the depth of characterisation and the layers of hidden-in-plain-sight clues continually allow you to understand the story from fresh perspectives.


113 of 147 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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