In 1973 the tennis match among the number one in the world Billie Jean King and former champion Bobby Riggs was announced as the battle of the sexes. The game captures the spirit of time and triggers broad discussions about gender equality, stimulating the feminist movement. While the media are interested in the two sportsmen, they battle complex personal battles.
Directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris and screened by Simon Beaufoy, The Battle of the Sexes is inspired by the tennis match, actually played between Billie Jean King’s twenty-five year old and former champion Bobby Riggs in 1973. In the aftermath of the battles for the sexual revolution and women’s rights, the match between a man and a woman (born for remuneration issues: tennis players were then paid with 1/12 of the male co-workers) has become one of the most popular sports events in the history of television, reaching more than 90 million viewers around the world. While the rivalry between King and Riggs was accentuated by the media, the two out of the field were fighting very complex personal battles: King, a symbol of gender equality struggles, was in fact counting on their sexuality and friendship with Marilyn Barnett while Riggs, one of the first celebrities of the modern era, fought against his gambling addiction, which undermined his relationship with his family and his wife Priscilla. Together, Billie Bobby has contributed not only to a game destined for history but also to arguing on the two sexes that still continue to echo today.