Rent Battle of the Sexes (2017)

3.3 of 5 from 642 ratings
2h 1min
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Emma Stone and Steve Carell bring their A-game to this crowd-pleaser based on the electrifying true story of the 1973 tennis match between women's champion Billie Jean King (Stone) and former men's champ Bobby Riggs (Carell). As fierce rivals on opposite sides of the court and the gender equality issue, Billie Jean and Bobby served up a cultural spectacle that resonated far beyond the sporting world. Filled with heart, humour and biting wit, 'Battle of the Sexes' is a triumphant celebration of the historic contest that changed the game!
, , , , , , , , , , , Lauren Kline, , Fidan Manashirova, , Ashley Weinhold, , , ,
Danny Boyle, Christian Colson, Robert Graf
Simon Beaufoy
20th Century Fox
Comedy, Drama, Sports & Sport Films
A Brief History of Lesbian Cinema, A History of Sports Films (Summer Edition), Best/Worst tennis films ahead of Wimbledon 2021, Films & TV by topic, A Brief History of Film..., Top 10 Award Winners at the London Film Festival, Top 10 Tennis Films, Top Films
Release Date:
Run Time:
121 minutes
English Audio Description Dolby Digital 5.1, English Dolby Digital 5.1
English Hard of Hearing
DVD Regions:
Region 2
Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen 2.39:1
  • Raw Footage: Billie Jean's Grand Entrance
  • Reigniting the Rivalry
  • Billie Jean King: In Her Own Words
  • Stills Galleries

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Reviews (6) of Battle of the Sexes

Entertaining and far-sighted - Battle of the Sexes review by JR

Spoiler Alert

I was expecting a comedy, which it is not, although many of the outrageously sexist things the male characters say seem now to be post feminist irony. It is entertaining, and skips along although over 2 hours long. Steve Carrell as Bobby Riggs is a man who likes to make people laugh by clowning around, and plays up to the male chauvanist pig thing shamelessly in order to make more money on betting on the game. But he is also a pathetically needy and seems to have never been able to leave his childhood behind. The film is concerned with civil rights and as it progresses, becomes more weighty and far-sighted. The parallels with Trump and Clinton are obvious. Stone is convincing as BJ, although the film seems hagiographic; and despite being under huge personal (she discovers her real sexual orientation) and professional pressure as well as being the saviour of women tennis players and women in general, she remains even tempered and civil to the monstrous Riggs.

Great soundtrack from the seventies, and colourful, cringe-worthily accurate fashions.

6 out of 6 members found this review helpful.

Entertaining modern history - Battle of the Sexes review by Champ

Spoiler Alert

I'm now old enough to be watching historical films about events that I actually lived through! But I was a boy when these events happened, and didn't fully realise the terrible treatment that women athletes suffered at the time. The acting, especially from Emma Stone, as Billie Jean King, and Steve Carrel, as Bobby Riggs, is exceptional, and all the supporting cast are very good too. Even if you don't know the story, it's clear how it's going to pan out, but despite that, it kept my attention to the end.

I thoroughly enjoyed this film - the era was brilliantly evoked, for better and worse, and it does show how far we have moved towards gender equality, even though it's been a very slow journey - the films events took place in 1973, and Wimbledon finally paid equal prize money to men and women in 2007.

2 out of 2 members found this review helpful.

Why was this made? - Battle of the Sexes review by EJ

Spoiler Alert

You really need to be so interested in this event from not too long ago to find this movie interesting. Even then, you might question why it was made into this boring movie. It was so hard to watch, I had my finger on the forward button a lot of the time and didn’t miss any of the plot. Yet another dvd I wish I hadn’t rented from Cinema Paradiso: Get some decent movies in your library!

0 out of 2 members found this review helpful.

Critic review

Battle of the Sexes review by Mark McPherson - Cinema Paradiso

Indeed, the legendary tennis match between Bobby Riggs and Billie Jean King was a Battle of the Sexes. Namely, a fight to prove that women could not only compete in the big leagues of tennis but triumph over the old guard of sexist and flawed male players. It’s just a bit of a shame that the story more as David and Goliath turn into little more than the expected movie about feeling good with how far women have come with the artificial sweetener of drama, passion, and courage.

There’s little doubt that the strongest component is the starring duo, both fitting the 1970s era well with their thick glasses, curly hair, and toothy grins. Emma Stone plays Billie Jean King as a young and plucky player, struggling to maintain that cheerful approach when the tennis league wants to pay them less and kick them out if they say otherwise. Figuring to quit instead of be fired, she goes about assembling her own female tennis organization, with the help of her more biting friend (Sarah Silverman) that can easily handle tough negotiations. Her road to independence isn’t easy, taking her on the road with long nights away from her husband and many practice sessions.

Her rising career contrasts with that of Bobby Riggs, played by Steve Carell, on the downward slope of his fame. He spends more time betting, partying and popping pills than genuinely practicing or spending time with his family. It doesn’t take a genius to see the route he is headed for. In fact, you can almost set your watch to when he’ll lose his wife and kid and when he’ll lose the epic showdown between him and King.

The film proceeds more by design than by peering into the deeper nooks of this story. We don’t get to know too much about the key players past the rather light interpretations, never too fearful with King and never too slanderous with Riggs. We’re meant to watch Riggs fall, but in an odd manner where you’re not sure whether to laugh, feel pity, or root for his failure. A human approach, perhaps, but still very distant. And while King doesn’t ever fully embody a major sense of weight on her shoulders, Stone brings out some of that passion in the more tender scenes of her affair Marilyn Barnett (Andrea Riseborough). The questioning of her sexuality in these very intimate scenes are so effective I wished the whole movie was about their relationship, which it seems like it could have been considering the film’s blunt end message about homosexuality’s long road to acceptance.

Aside from the fantastic performances, Battle of the Sexes is a rather mild picture of what could have been a film with real teeth for the material rather than a light affair fit for clapping the theater when the epilogue texts fade in. The tennis scenes are decent, the story itself is decent, even the style of the era is decently faithful. But a title as bold of Battle of the Sexes feels as though it should be much more than a pleasant skirmish of athletic forces with a hollow sense of theatrics for the big match.

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