It was 1973, a time when the country was still undergoing a cultural revolution that in many ways continues to this day. The women’s movement was at the apex, and woman such as Gloria Steinem, Betty Friedan and Bella Abzug were becoming nationally known for their advocacy for women. In the world of sports, Billie Jean King carried that banner. King championed for women’s rights on and off the court. She was a groundbreaking athlete who would help propel the women’s professional tennis movement in a time when the sport was still clinging to what had for decades been an amateur sport governed by the United States Tennis Association. King was at the top of her game in 1973, the world’s number one tennis player, when along came a brash aging male tennis personality named Bobby Riggs who claimed bombastically that even at his age, 55, he could outplay the best the women’s game had to offer. King had no interest in Riggs and his arrogance. But after Riggs played and beat the Australian legend, Margaret Court, King decided she’d take Riggs on. The event played out in the Houston Astrodome and was billed as the Battle of the Sexes. King won that match handily before a worldwide television audience estimated at 90 million, making it one of the highest-watched sporting events in history.
The movie by the same name,Battle of the Sexes stars Emma Stone as Billie Jean King and Steve Carrell as Bobby Riggs. The film is directed by Johnathan Dayton and Valerie Faris. It’s rated PG-23 and runs 2 hours 1 minute.