Film Discussion Guide: Battle of the Sexes

Published on June 11th, 2019


This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Battle of the Sexes match won by Billie Jean King in 1973.

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 and boardrooms that continue to reverberate today.

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To encourage the use of the film as an education tool, 21st Century Fox and the Women’s Sports Foundation collaborated on the Battle of the Sexes: Film Discussion Guide for classrooms to be released in conjunction with the DVD launch in January of 2018.

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