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

Writer:

Simon Beaufoy
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2,978 ( 24)
Nominated for 2 Golden Globes. Another 3 wins & 21 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Emma Stone ... Billie Jean King
Steve Carell ... Bobby Riggs
Andrea Riseborough ... Marilyn Barnett
Natalie Morales ... Rosie Casals
Sarah Silverman ... Gladys Heldman
Bill Pullman ... Jack Kramer
Alan Cumming ... Cuthbert 'Ted' Tinling
Elisabeth Shue ... Priscilla Riggs
Eric Christian Olsen ... Lornie Kuhle
Fred Armisen ... Rheo Blair
Martha MacIsaac ... Jane 'Peaches' Bartkowicz
Lauren Kline Lauren Kline ... Nancy Richey
Mickey Sumner ... Valerie Ziegenfuss
Fidan Manashirova Fidan Manashirova ... Judy Tegart Dalton
Jessica McNamee ... 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:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Emma Stone has admitted that she is not very skilled at tennis. See more »

Goofs

In two Los Angeles scenes in a glass elevator, a logo for consulting company KPMG is clearly visible on a building in the background, in the center of the frame. KPMG was created in 1987, when KMG merged with Peat Marwick. The building, now called KPMG Tower, was constructed in 1983. See more »

Quotes

Bobby Riggs: No offense. You're still a feminist, right?
Billie Jean King: No, I'm a tennis player who happens to be a woman.
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Crazy Credits

The 1930's recording of the 20th Century Fox fanfare is used on the opening Fox Searchlight logo. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Projectionist (2019) 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
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User Reviews

 
Losing The Forest For The Trees
7 October 2017 | by zkonedogSee all my reviews

There is no doubt that the event on which "Battle of the Sexes" is based on was a monumental moment in sports and cultural history. The exhibition tennis match between Bobby Riggs & Billie Jean King was in part a circus, but also (in large part) a key moment in the taking of women athletes seriously on the national stage. While this film eventually arrives at that point, I felt like it took far too long for it to "get to the point", so to speak.

For a basic plot summary, this film tells the story of the run-up to the Battle of the Sexes match. Riggs (Steve Carell) is a male chauvinist through and through (or at least plays the role of one), while King (Emma Stone) is perhaps the premiere women's tennis player of her era. While King struggles with her confusing sexuality and Riggs falls on hard times with his own wife, this sets the wheels in motion for a match that will be more than just an exhibition, as it seemingly carries with it the weight of the Women's Liberation movement of the 1970s.

Let me be clear about one thing: This isn't a "bad" movie by any stretch. Great acting performances are given, and the final 30 minutes are fully riveting. I completely understood and appreciated the message that was being conveyed.

That being said, the entire film is predicated on the notion that the setup (e.g. the first 70-80 minutes or so) of both lead figures will lead to more dramatic payoff in the end. For me, that didn't happen (in fact, it actually had the opposite effect). I'm not sure that King's sexual leanings needed to be a focal point of the story, and in Riggs' case his relationship with his wife (played by Elisabeth Shue) should have been developed even more. Because neither of these things really get on track, at least the first half of the film felt slow and stodgy to me.

Once the match is set and the buildup/execution of it begins, though, the film really shines. I only have video footage to go on here (I was not alive for the real thing), but Stone is sometimes a dead-ringer for King on the court. Carell's antics as Riggs were also accurate from what I have read/heard.

So, while being a solid film, I cannot give "Battle of the Sexes" more than just above-average marks for the lackluster opening acts. I felt like a different lens was needed (or the execution of the chosen lens needed to be better) in order to make the movie truly riveting in the end instead of "just" somewhat inspirational. It never got to that "next level" for me (aside from the material about the actual match itself).


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Details

Country:

UK | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

29 September 2017 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Battle of the Sexes See more »

Filming Locations:

Los Angeles, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$25,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$518,332, 24 September 2017

Gross USA:

$12,638,526

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$18,598,607
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | SDDS | Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
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