Ralph Potts reviews this rousing drama based on the electrifying true story of the 1973 tennis match between women’s champion Billie Jean King and former men’s champ Bobby Riggs.

The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )

Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )


Studio and Year: 20th Century Fox - 2017
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 121 minutes
Genre: Drama/Biopic

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC
Video Aspect: 2.39:1
Resolution: 1080p/24

Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 7.1 Master Audio, English/Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
Starring: Emma Stone, Steve Carell, Andrea Riseborough, Sarah Silverman, Bill Pullman, Alan Cumming, Elisabeth Shue
Directed by: Valerie Faris & Jonathan Dayton
Music by: Nicholas Britell
Written by: Simon Beaufoy
Region Code: A

Release Date: January 2, 2018
"Someday, It Will Be Alright to be Who You Are"
My Take:

In the wake of the sexual revolution and the rise of the women's movement, the 1973 tennis match 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.

I was 9 years old when the Battle of the Sexes took place. I remember the hype leading up to it, some of the details associated with the struggles for equal pay, and the circus that Bobby Riggs made out of the whole affair. I liked Billie Jean King and the way she conducted herself throughout. Battle of the Sexes more or less centers on the events that led up the King/Riggs match, detailing a bit of the behind the scenes, as well as a bit of the personal struggles both Riggs, and King dealt with, neither of which was necessarily associated with the match. Some of what is depicted in the film, I knew, while some I didn’t. I liked how it was handled here, allowing the audience an inside perspective into the period, as seen through the eyes of these important women, the masses, and those that needed to have their eyes opened.

Carrel and Stone deliver solid turns in the pivotal roles, while the supporting players lend credibility to the cache of characters that make up the various people connected to the story. Battle of the Sexes handles the subject matter with the right amount of topical humor, personal drama, and poignancy, that pays tribute to its pivotal moment. I found it to be well- conceived, and entertaining.

Replay Value:
Parental Guide: 

The rating is for some sexual content and partial nudity.

AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:REFERENCE = 92-100/EXCELLENT = 83-91/GOOD = 74-82/AVERAGE = 65-73/BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**

Audio: 86
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Dynamics: 
  • Low frequency effects: 
  • Surround Sound presentation: 
  • Clarity/Detail: 
  • Dialog Reproduction: 
  • DSU/DTS Neural:X Rating * (non-rated element): NA

Video: 90
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Resolution/Clarity: 
  • Black Level/Shadow Detail: 
  • Color Reproduction: 
  • Fleshtones: 
  • Compression: 

Battle of the Sexes comes to Blu-ray Disc from 20th Century Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 26 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 7.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.3 Mbps.

This is a pleasing video presentation that boasts plenty of high level detail, enriching contrast, natural colors and dimensionality. Blacks are punchy and stand out when onscreen with mixed content. Visual perspective in low lighting and darkened areas is estimable. The combination gives dark scenes appreciable depth. Images are pleasing and perfectly suited for the source material while exhibiting no signs of video related artifacts.

The lossless DTS-HD MA soundtrack presents the film’s source elements with aplomb. The quality of the dialog is unwavering as vocal reproduction is clear and tonally balanced. Dynamic range is very good which lends subtle distinction to low level sounds and gravity to broader ones. A large portion of the film has little need for this as dialogue, atmospheric ambience and musical enhancement is readily conveyed by the front channels. There are several sequences that enlist the rear channels to create a bit of audible immersion. Overall this soundtrack provides a gratifying listening experience that complimented the video presentation quite nicely.

Bonus Features:
  • Raw Footage: Billie Jean’s Grand Entrance
  • Reigniting the Rivalry
  • Billie Jean King: In Her Own Words
  • Galleries
  • Bonus DVD
  • Digital HD Copy
Final Thoughts:

Based on true events Battle of the Sexes is a rousing tribute to one of the most pivotal moments, not only in sports, but in the battle for female equality. It comes to Blu-ray from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment featuring gratifying high definition video, crystal clear lossless sound, and a fair supplemental package. Battle of the Sexes is a match that I found to be well played, and deserving of place atop your Blu-ray rental queue.

Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Reference Review System:
JVC DLA-RS500 3D/4K Ready High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman 5 & C6-HDR Meter from  Spectracal )
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 Screen
Carada Masquerade Electronic Horizontal Masking System
Marantz AV7704 Audio/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
B&K Reference 200.7 Series 2 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo UDP-203 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" and Canton In-Ceiling Series Speakers
SVS Ultra Surrounds (Gloss Finish in Bipolar Configuration)
SVS PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
SVS SB-13 Ultra (Piano Gloss finish)
Panamax M5400-PM Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
AC Infinity Aircom T8 Component Cooling Systems