Battle of the Sexes

Critics Consensus

Battle of the Sexes turns real-life events into a crowd-pleasing, well-acted dramedy that ably entertains while smartly serving up a volley of present-day parallels.



Reviews Counted: 291

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Average Rating: 3.6/5

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Movie Info

In the wake of the sexual revolution and the rise of the women's movement, the 1973 tennismatch between women's World #1 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 and boardrooms that continue to reverberate today.

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Emma Stone
as Billie Jean King
Steve Carell
as Bobby Riggs
Andrea Riseborough
as Marilyn Barnett
Sarah Silverman
as Gladys Heldman
Elisabeth Shue
as Priscilla Riggs

News & Interviews for Battle of the Sexes

Critic Reviews for Battle of the Sexes

All Critics (291) | Top Critics (50)

Audience Reviews for Battle of the Sexes

So surprised to be excited watching a movie about tennis! This was great. Emma is outstanding as always. Movie to make you annoyed and inspired all at the same time. Margaret Court really wasn’t any better in her younger years either.

Nicki Marie
Nicki Marie

Super Reviewer

Emma Stone and Steve Carell are great in a solid biopic that may be relatively conventional and obviously predictable but manages to build tension until the final match, even if it has its own share of casual sexism that is almost outrageous in a film that is supposed to be feminist.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

Interestingly one of the more engaging aspects of this work is how the surrounding circus works to draw the main participants into the drama more so than they themselves might've wished. Based on a true story (unfortunately still true today, some 40 years later!) what begins as a sort've of joke becomes real the closer to game time. It's the women against the men, off and on the court as it were. The stars real work comes when their portrayal goes into the real life of the main characters, and both do their jobs more than adequately. Not a boring time at the old flickers.

Kevin M. Williams
Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer


My fear was that this film would be too "on-the-nose" and lack subtly when it came to portraying systemic sexism in tennis at the time. While I feel that was true at times, for the most part, it did a really good job at illustrating the struggle of the athletes as well as Riggs' and King's situations specifically. There is far more to this film than the eventual match between Billie Jean and Bobby, and with good performances from Carrell and Stone, it makes for a pretty interesting movie. While it probably isn't one I will recall as great, it was definitely worth the watch.

Sanjay Rema
Sanjay Rema

Super Reviewer

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