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.



Total Count: 297


Audience Score

User Ratings: 15,703
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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.


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

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Critic Reviews for Battle of the Sexes

All Critics (297) | Top Critics (50) | Fresh (253) | Rotten (44)

Audience Reviews for Battle of the Sexes

  • Sep 03, 2018
    A well acted and written depiction of a real life sports event. Stone and Carell own their roles and Carell makes an unlikable man, sympathetic . It's hard to believe how closed minded we were back then and how far we have come. Also, good are Silverman, Riseborough, Shue and Bill Pullman. A definite movie worth watching. 09/02/2018
    Christopher O Super Reviewer
  • Jul 01, 2018
    A rather mediocre biopic, Battle of the Sexes is unfocused and doesn't know what story it's telling half the time. Though it presents itself as the telling of the 1973 tennis match between women's champion Billie Jean King and retired men's champion Bobby Riggs, it turns out to be a guise to tell a lesbian romance story. Both Emma Stone and Steve Carell give strong performances and are backed by a solid supporting cast that includes Sarah Silverman, Bill Pullman, and Elisabeth Shue. But the writing is extremely heavy handed. There's no subtlety to the women's equality message, and even less to the gay rights one. Unfortunately Battle of the Sexes doesn't give this groundbreaking sports event its due, and instead pads the film with unnecessarily scenes and subplots to make political statements about women's equality and gay rights.
    Dann M Super Reviewer
  • Mar 16, 2018
    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 M Super Reviewer
  • Feb 02, 2018
    While I'm currently on my kick of seeing films based in recent history, Battle of the Sexes does a fine job of acknowledging the similarities between past and present social issues, some of which still stick around to this very day. Steve Carell and Emma Stone give us jovial performances grounded in both of their real-life counterparts. For a quick romp through the tennis world in the 1970's, Battle of the Sexes comes off as informative, enlightening, and thought provoking with themes still important 40 years later. The entire Billie Jean King/Bobby Riggs stunt was well before my time, but learning about it through this kind of media and having it portrayed by some of the best actors in the business added to my curiosity. The makeup was spot on for both actors. The acting for both seemed like they were having just as much fun as their characters during the time. However, the major issues they were fighting for or against back in the 70's like gender equality on the court and in the pocketbook still haven't been resolved today. It makes you really think about the powers driving the sport behind the scenes and just how much influence they've had throughout it all. I would say one of the only disappointing aspects of the film was its inability to fully convert itself into a drama with such serious topics. It was certainly more of a comedy. Battle of the Sexes is a fun time travel trip back into the 70's for those who have any interest in the sport and some of the key figures who helped shape it's run through the following years. While I understood the weight of the imiplications of King vs Riggs, I don't think the movie quite hit the climax of helping the audience understand just how important this was because the film was a bit too comedic instead of serious, but it sure did make for a fun watch.
    Lane Z Super Reviewer

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