17 user 4 critic

When Billie Beat Bobby (2001)

The historic 1973 tennis match between middle-aged champion Bobby Riggs (Ron Silver) and young feminist Billie Jean King (Holly Hunter).


Jane Anderson


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




Cast overview, first billed only:
Holly Hunter ... Billie Jean King
Ron Silver ... Bobby Riggs
Matt Letscher ... Larry King
Bob Gunton ... Jerry Perenchio
Jacqueline McKenzie ... Margaret Court
Elizabeth Berridge ... Rosie Casals
Vincent Van Patten ... Lornie Kuhle
Caitlin Martin ... Chris Evert
Gerry Becker ... Ted Tinling
Kathleen Gati ... Debbie the Hairdresser
Michael Mantell ... Sidney Schlenker
Kali Rocha ... Connie
Maureen Mueller ... Judith
Patrick Kerr ... Rheo
Caroline Aaron ... Gladys Heldman


The historic 1973 tennis match between middle-aged champion Bobby Riggs (Ron Silver) and young feminist Billie Jean King (Holly Hunter).

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

Did You Know?


Rainn Wilson of The Office (2005) has a minor role in this movie. His The Office (2005) co-star, Steve Carell, played the leading role of Bobby Riggs in Battle of the Sexes (2017). See more »


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 »


[on a petition for equal pay]
Rosie Casals: Hey, Margaret. You gonna help us out here?
Margaret Court: [chuckles nervously] Oh, uh I just really don't care about the money. Besides, Barry has enough for both of us.
Rosie Casals: Well, I care, and I don't have a friggin' Barry.
See more »


Remade as Battle of the Sexes (2017) See more »

User Reviews

perfectly TV
21 July 2018 | by SnoopyStyleSee all my reviews

It's the 1973 "The Battle of the Sexes" tennis match between Billie Jean King (Holly Hunter) and Bobby Riggs (Ron Silver). This concentrates mostly on the year before the iconic match. Billie Jean had never been lady-like and her parents forced her to play tennis instead of playing sports with the boys. She tries to set up a ladies tour and fight for equal pay to the men. She organizes the ladies but number one player Margaret Court (Jacqueline McKenzie) is not cooperating. Bobby is a degenerate gambler and a loudmouth hustler. He keeps challenging Billie Jean to play for the new women's lib movement. Margaret accepts the payday and quickly loses. Billie Jean is forced to accept for the honor of the women's game.

This is a perfectly TV movie and there is poetic justice with the original being an iconic TV event. There are some simplification with history that makes this an easy underdog sports story. It treats both Billie Jean and Bobby rather well. The two performances are great. Bobby comes off as a loveable lout and his respect for Billie Jean's game is a great asset to his character. His connections to the darker side of gambling is papered over and the theory that he threw the match is never mentioned. Billie Jean is of course the heroine but her lesbianism is never mentioned. The simplification highlights the bigger woman's liberation ideas and makes for an easy good sports movie. The tennis action could use a little help. This is a great story and this is perfect for the TV treatment.

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Canada | USA


English | Spanish | Japanese

Release Date:

16 April 2001 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Battle of the Sexes See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby SR



Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See full technical specs »

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