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Battle of the Sexes (2017)

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The true story of the 1973 tennis match between World number one Billie Jean King and ex-champ and serial hustler Bobby Riggs.

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869 ( 45)
Nominated for 2 Golden Globes. Another 3 wins & 16 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Billie Jean King
... Bobby Riggs
... Marilyn Barnett
... Rosie Casals
... Gladys Heldman
... Jack Kramer
... Cuthbert 'Ted' Tinling
... Priscilla Riggs
... Lornie Kuhle
... Rheo Blair
... Jane 'Peaches' Bartkowicz
Lauren Kline ... Nancy Richey
... Valerie Ziegenfuss
Fidan Manashirova ... Judy Tegart Dalton
... Margaret Court
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Storyline

In the wake of the sexual revolution and the rise of the women's movement, the 1973 tennis match between women's world champion Billie Jean King (Emma Stone) and ex-men's-champ and serial hustler Bobby Riggs (Steve Carell) was billed as the BATTLE OF THE SEXES and became one of the most watched televised sports events of all time, reaching 90 million viewers around the world. As the rivalry between King and Riggs kicked into high gear, off-court each was fighting more personal and complex battles. The fiercely private King was not only championing for equality, but also struggling to come to terms with her own sexuality, as her friendship with Marilyn Barnett (Andrea Riseborough) developed. And Riggs, one of the first self-made media-age celebrities, wrestled with his gambling demons, at the expense of his family and wife Priscilla (Elisabeth Shue). Together, Billie and Bobby served up a cultural spectacle that resonated far beyond the tennis court, sparking discussions in bedrooms ... Written by Fox Searchlight Pictures

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

He made a bet. She made history.


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some sexual content and partial nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Language:

Release Date:

29 September 2017 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Battle of the Sexes  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$515,450, 24 September 2017, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$12,638,526, 21 December 2017
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Emma Stone performed on Broadway with Alan Cumming in Cabaret. See more »

Goofs

The images on the monitors in the TV production truck just before and during the final match are clearly simulated. Images shown on professional broadcast monitors of that era either had rounded corners with no gray areas around image, or rectangular corners surrounded by gray areas, but never rounded corners surrounded by gray. See more »

Quotes

Bobby Riggs: I'm the ladies number one. I'm the champ. Why would I lose?
Billie Jean King: Because dinosaurs can't play tennis.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The Fox Searchlight Pictures and TSG Entertainment logos are redone in period-appropriate styles. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Man with a Plan: Battle of the Sexists (2017) See more »

Soundtracks

Rocket Man (I Think It's Going to Be a Long Long Time)
Written by Elton John and Bernie Taupin
Performed by Elton John
Courtesy of Mercury Records Limited
Under license from Universal Music Enterprises
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Not the great tennis breakthrough movie it might have been.
27 November 2017 | by See all my reviews

Whilst Emma Stone puts down her marker for a possible third Oscar nomination the film as a whole left me slightly cold.  But then, when did you last see a GREAT tennis movie.  That's right.  You didn't.

But this potentially offered more because it appeared multi layered and could have been more nuanced than it is.

It tackles two themes simultaneously.  First, Billie Jean King's lesbian relationship with her hairdresser Marilyn Barnett (Andrea Riseborough) that eventually ended in controversy as she was publicly outed by her lover when they split in 1981.  Throughout King remained married to her first love Larry (played sympathetically but a little limply by Austin Stowell).  This is handled very tastefully and, for me, was the better part of the whole.

Second, and the source of the title, the movie explores sexism in the women's tennis game that led to her breaking away from the WTA and its sexist president, Jack Kramer (in an unconvincing performance by Bill Pullman), and taking on a challenge billed as THE BATTLE OF THE SEXES with 55 year old ex tennis champion and self proclaimed Male Chauvinist, Bobby Riggs (Steve Carrell).  

I disliked Carell's part greatly, not because he didn't perform it well but that it is written to make him out to be a complete idiot (which no doubt he was).  He becomes a character of himself quickly and I neither liked nor disliked him (I was annoyed by him though).  It all makes for a strange mix of comedy, politics, sexuality and revolt.

And the revolt was all too gentlemanly for me - despite the subject matter and the ire it must have stirred nobody really ever loses the plot and so the film lacks edge and dramatic tension.

What's more, it's 30 minutes too long and the overwrought soundtrack (Nicholas Britell - it really is a shocker) is over-pervasive and just plain annoying.

Emma Stone rarely puts a foot wrong in my view and at times you really do think BJK is on screen.  That part, and the general 70's styling of the movie, is excellent but it's ponderously directed and although the final shoot out between BJK and Riggs has an element of tension we all know the outcome and Britell's pomp and circumstance was gradually doing my nut in.

Just because you loved Little Miss Sunshine it does not follow that you will love this.


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