Battle of the Sexes (2017) Script

A great way to win a championship.

With a strenuous brilliant smash...

...Billie Jean King is the...

...1972 champion of the United States!

Earlier today, Billie Jean King continued what has already been a record year...

...with an exciting 6-4, 7-6 win over Rosie Casals in a sudden-death tiebreaker.

Billie Jean's triumph makes her the most successful woman player of all time...

...and prompts a phone call from a very special fan:

President Nixon.

Hello, Mr. President.

Well, I just wanted to congratulate you.

And I'm glad to see a fellow Californian gets over $100,000.

And I'm glad to be the first woman to do it, too.

Well, I wish you well, and you've had a really marvelous year.

Thank you, Mr. President. Thank you very much, sir.

Being queen for the day is not enough for this King.

I bet you my head's too big.

She's been outspoken in her demands for higher pay for all women players.

Watch out, guys.

There's no stopping this little lady.

Billie Jean King celebrated her win with a big--

Ladies and gentlemen...

...please welcome 1972 U. S. Open Women's Singles Champion...

...Billie Jean King.

Have you seen this?

No. Hey, Gladys.

You want a dance?

I want a gun.

They just snuck this out in the of the night. Lowlifes.

This is outrageous.

And it's got Jack Kramer's fingerprints all over it.

You're absolutely right it does.

I know where he's hiding.

You want to come?

No. No, you go do your thing.

But good luck.

Thank you very much, honey. Sure, Mr. Kramer.

Thank you. Of course.

They won't get away with it.


You can't go in there.

Excuse me.

Wait a minute.

Surprised in their lair.

This is an unexpected pleasure.

My goodness, you both look sensational, if I may say.

You may not.

You're not supposed to be in here, you know.

Because I'm a woman or because I'm a Jew, Bob?

Please, you're welcome here. Have a seat.

What can we do for you?

Would you like a glass of something maybe?

No, thank you, Jack.

I find it's best to be clear before committing cold-blooded murder, so...


...the press release. Ah, yes.

It says here that you're offering the men's winner $12,000...

...and $1,500 to the women's.

Those are the terms.

The men's prize needs to be that high to attract the best players.

We're trying to make this the most prestigious tournament in America.

And paying the women less than ever makes it more prestigious. Uh...

Well, it's simply a question of what we can afford.

People pay to see the men play.

They're the draw.

They're eight times more of a draw?


You're offering the men's winner eight times that of the women.

Do we bring in an eighth of the crowd?

I don't know percentages, but...

They sold the exact same amount of tickets to the women's final today as the men's.

Isn't that right, Jack?

Today, yeah, I suppose so.

Same sales, same prize money. Makes sense to me.

Oh, come on. Be reasonable.

There's no way that we could afford that.

What's your argument, Jack?

For one thing, the men have families that they have to support.

I'm the main breadwinner in my family.

Yeah. Yeah.


The men are simply... more exciting to watch.

They are.

They're faster. Fact.

And stronger. Fact.

And more competitive.

Just a fact.

It's not your fault, it's just... biology.

That's not my point. We sell the same amount of tickets.

I'm sorry. It's not going to happen.

Well, if that's the way it is...

...we'll boycott the tournament.


Well, now...

...we'll sure miss your pretty faces, but go right ahead.

Not only will we boycott, we'll set up our own tournament.


At the exact same time as the Pacific Southwest.


Be sure and send me tickets.

You have a good night, ladies.

That'll never happen.

Are we really gonna do this?

Sure we're gonna do this.

How are we gonna do this?

No idea.


Did you have a busy day?

Run off my feet. Not a minute to think.

Whatever it is I'm supposed to be doing down there, Priscilla, I'm not doing it.

Well, Daddy told me that he thinks you're an integral part of the company.

Huh. Integral.

Like the stapler on my desk.

Well, it's steady, and it's what you need right now.

I know. I know.

I wonder how much peppercorns are in here.

I don't know, Junior.

I'd say about a thousand.

No way! There got to be at least five thousand in there.

I'd put a dollar on a thousand.

Young man. BOBBY: Whoa, no, no, no.

Young man, we do not gamble at the dinner table.

We do not gamble anyplace, Bobby.

Exactly. We do not gamble anyplace.

No, we do not.

One dollar.

Come on.

All right.

Oh, you know what?

I just remembered, I need to go back to the office and finish up some work.


Your father has been so supportive, honey, that I don't want to let him down.

Delicious. Thank you.

See you later, kiddo.

I'm doubling down on Jack.

Bobby, we got $1,200 on the table!

$1,200, buddy!

Bobby, you're not allowed to have dogs that good-looking.

Miss one!

We got him on the run, here we go!

We got him on the run!

Put the chair out there!

Two chairs and I'll raise you $50G each.

Give the racket to the dog!

Oh, too good for you.

Jack, for the love of God!

Damn it. Good game, Jack.

I thought I had you this time, I really did.

That was a fine, fine effort.

Great try, great try.

No, don't come over here.

What do you expect, Jack? Bobby's the world champ.

No, I had an advantage. It was three against one.

It was three against one.

You know what? He keeps betting me, I don't know what to do about it.

The thing about Jack is, he can afford to lose.

You got to think about Priscilla, Bobby.

What is she gonna say?

You still married, Bobby? Oh, barely.

He sure will be if he shows up in a Rolls-Royce.

He sure as hell won't be if he shows up in a Rolls-Royce.


Even Bobby will find it tough to talk his way out of that one.

"Oh, honey, this crazy day!

"This guy on the corner just gave me a Silver Shadow."

Think that'll cut it?

Talk his way out of it?

The man just won himself a Rolls-Royce!

Herb, you're not getting it.

Bobby doesn't gamble anymore.

Oh, he don't gamble anymore!

No, no, no.

Gamblers Anonymous once a week, shrink twice a week. I'm a reformed man.

There you are. Oh, there you go.

You know what? Actually, Lornie's got a point.

That vehicle's kind of big to hide.

Jack, why don't you just keep it for a little while?

You saying I'm not good for a bet?

No, no, no. Just keep the engine warm and don't nick up the paint.

"$100,000 Girl?"

You don't see even a senior tour making a hundred G's.

Oh, she reckons she ought to get more than that.

Same as the men.

She's not happy with $100,000?

That Billie Jean King, what is her problem?

Bobby, you got to remember, nowadays it's all equality this, equality that.

They're burning bras, for God's sake.

Why would they ever pay the women the same as the guys?

All I can tell you is that there is nothing wrong with a nice girl in a short skirt chasing a ball.

You know, I won the goddamn U.S. Open.

I could beat Billie Jean King or any of those women.

But are they offering me equal prize money on the tour?

No, sir, I'm getting peanuts.

Hey, there's a bet for you. What's that?

Bobby Riggs vs. Billie Jean King.

I'd pay a lot to see that.

Hey, everybody?

I know what you're all risking, because I'm risking the exact same thing.


No, not more. The same.

We're all putting our careers on the line for this.

So I just want to thank you for your bravery.

And your balls.

Are we gonna get our hair done before every event?

Because I could get used to this.

The salon is a once-only because the press is here.

And because I love you so much.

Tomorrow the press won't be here and I won't love you.

This is a budget tour, ladies-- which means you will be sharing rooms.

So you might as well start getting to know each other now.

I call bunking with Val!

I thought you were gonna get us a sponsor, Gladys.

L... was. I..., Rosie.

It's just that right now we are broke, so shut up.

Well, wait. What about our prize money?

Oh, Val, why are you worried about prize money?

You only get that if you win.

All right, you've got 30 minutes before you show your faces to the press.

Hi. Hi.

I've been moving around too much, haven't I'?


I'm sorry, I've been, uh... I'm excited.

Or nervous or something.

You're all tennis players?

Yeah. You don't watch tennis?

Oh, no. I don't have a TV.

But I admire what you guys are doing.

Sounds like you girls are getting men to pay attention to what you're saying for once.

You know what would really get their attention?

A sex strike.

What? That would punish us just as much as the men.

I don't think I'd even miss it.

My ex went about it like he was fixing the carburetor on the Oldsmobile.

And he could never get that damn car to start.

Rosie, come on!

At least women know where the carburetor is.


...Billie Jean...

...what do you want?

What do you mean?

With your hair. What do you want to do with it?


It doesn't matter.

You can just get it out of my face.

You don't care about how you look?

Someone as pretty as you?

Uh, it's-- I'm not...

...pret-- I mean, I don't...

Thank you for... for saying that.

What's your name again?


Would you let me just... give you a little trim?

It'll make you feel like a whole new person.

I don't think a haircut's ever made me feel quite like that.

Is that perfume?

It's lavender oil.

I put it on my wrists just to relax the customers.

It's nice.

I love it.

Billie Jean!

Come on! I'm coming!

All right!

What is she doing in there?

It was nice to meet you.

Nice to meet you.

You know what?

We've got a tournament in San Diego, actually, next month, and I have a lot of tickets.

So you could just bring everyone and...

Billie Jean, let's go! It's a lot of fun.

Yeah, everyone's invited to come.

Next month in San Diego.

So... thank you again.

Thank you.

Finally. We're gonna be late!

Do you think there'll be any cute photographers?

Peaches, I know he's very cute, but let's go.

Girls, get in line.

Get ready, and let's get these contracts signed.

Welcome to the WTA.

Thank you so much for joining us.

That makes you a professional.

Rosie, it's a pleasure.

Keep this going. Don't dawdle.

One dollar, Billie Jean.

Yeah, a whole dollar is right.

I'm gonna save it!

Thank you. Welcome to the WTA.

Where do we sit?

Billie Jean.

Guess who showed up.

Judy, come on. Don't be shy.

This is an exciting day, girls. Look excited.

Thank you very much.

Okay, girls. Come on, let's start sitting, please.

It's a big day, ladies. Kerry, you're next.

We're gonna take a big picture.

Billie Jean...

...what you're doing here is a big mistake.

Are you here to give us another option, Jack?

On behalf of the USLTA, I'm here to ask you girls not to do anything hasty.

So what are you offering?

I'm offering to keep you in the United States Lawn Tennis Association.

You're kicking us out.

You do this, you're becoming our rivals.

We have no option.

I'll sure miss your pretty face, Jack, but you go right ahead.

Great. And then we'll put Billie--

I'm gonna have a very exciting moment in a second.

This is monumental. Billie Jean?

One minute!

If you're not in the USLTA, you can't play the Grand Slams.

No Wimbledon. No nothing.

I get it.

But what are your Grand Slams without the greatest women players in the world?

They're not so grand.

So I appreciate you coming, Jack, very much...

...but if you have nothing to offer us, I have a contract to sign.

Bye, Jack.

Okay, girls, hold those dollars up. Beautiful.

Smile, girls. This isn't a funeral.

Hold up that dollar.

Keep smiling, ladies, but we've just been kicked out of the USLTA.


Wave them so Jack can see them!

Yep, it's a dollar, girls. Remember that--one dollar.

Is that it? For all of you?

Can I have some ketchup?

Who died?

Hey, Gladys.

Oh, I get it. It's all my fault.

Well, Gladys has got just the thing for you miserable ingrates.


Ladies and gentle-ladies, may I present to you the Virginia Slims Championships.

A Gladys Heldman/Philip Morris co-production.

Smoking your guts out across the United States of America... exchange for twelve months funding...

...and prize money of--drum roll, please...


Really? Way to go, Mom!

For every tournament?

For every tournament.

That ought to perk up your lousy second serve.

You do the tennis, I'll do the smoking.

My girls, from now on we are fully funded.

I put in a call to Ted Tinling, who's gonna be our personal couturier on tour.

You're each gonna have your own tennis dresses designed specially for you.

And I put in a call to every woman who's ever picked up a racket.

Guess who's already signed on.

Oh. Oh.

Don't guess. Margaret Court.

"The Arm." Billie Jean, are you scared?

I can take her.

Yeah? Yeah.

Well, you'll get your chance soon enough.

Waitress! Ice cream sundaes all around.

We're in the money.


...not all around. Just my table and these two.

Let's try the buttercup, lemony sort of hue.

But I don't really feel it pops with your complexion, so let's try the blue.

Oh! It's wonderful, Ted.

You like it? I love it!

And what will the esteemed Lawn Tennis Association say about this?

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you, for the first time in the history of tennis...


The shock will kill the old dears.

87 KMRP.

It's twelve minutes after 7:00, and we are privileged, tennis fans... have the great Billie Jean King in the studio with us today, along with a...

...a lot of very lively WTA tennis players.

Say hi, ladies.


The word is that you gals are renegades from the tennis establishment. Is that right?


The U.S. Lawn Tennis Association wasn't really giving us women our fair share, so we thought...

..."Hey, we'll do it on our own."

Taking the bull by the horns.

That's right.

Here's the inside scoop:

We do everything.

We are the ones laying down the courts.

We're selling tickets.

We're doing publicity.

And we have to fit in practice somewhere in between there.

We are also trying to get tennis away from the stuffy old country club sport.

We want it to be for everybody.

It's 1973, so... we could update a couple things.

Now, you all play each other in the tournaments and... room together as well.

So how does that work when you have to room with somebody who just beat you...

...or who you just defeated?

It's fine, because I usually win.

Oh. That's not true at all.

It's fine if you're not rooming with Rosie.

Oh, okay. Don't room with Rosie-- that's the message.

We're also, you know, united for a greater cause.

So it keeps the focus on something else.

It's bigger than the match.

Nice to meet you. Bye!

Do you all consider yourselves women's libbers?

Oh, sure. I think so.

What we're doing here is trying to prove that women should be paid and respected equally.

We're just as entertaining as the men.

You're definitely cuter than the men.

It must get a little lonely out there on the road.

Don't you ever miss your husbands?

Sure. Of course we do.

I talk to Larry on the phone every day.

We're used to it. As pros, we're not home very often.

And some of us don't have husbands.


Single men, you heard it here first.

Some of these ladies are single themselves.

Especially Peaches. Come on out.

Yeah, bring your daughters. Or your sons.

Or bring everyone.

You could bring your whole family.

That's the point of this tour.

It's for everyone, and it's a whole lot of fun.

You heard it here, folks. We'll get in more music, but we got tickets to give away, so give us a call.

Thanks for coming by, ladies.

Thank you for having us.

Good luck.

Come on out!

It's not exactly the Ritz.

Margaret Court! Welcome to the nuthouse.

Hi, Ted. Hey, Margaret.

Billie Jean.

If you're looking for the restaurant or the spa or the swimming pool, there isn't one.

But if you're looking for the tickets you're gonna sell at the intersection... they're right here.

Have a lovely evening. Darling child.

She's never liked me.

Who? Gladys?

No, the great Billie Jean King.

You just do your talking on the court, honey.

Come on, cross over!

You can do it. There you go. Watch out for the alligators.

I'm watching out for the alligator.

You watch out for the alligator.

I'm going across the wobbly bridge.

Your mother's always watching us. Right here.

Right here. Okay.

That'll burn you right to the bones.

That's quicksand.

That's quicksand, all right. Acid quicksand.

That's why you never see any of your siblings.

Two rocks. Don't fall in the quicksand!

Don't fall in the quicksand!

Okay. One more rock and we're there.

Good. You got it.

What if I don't make it?

You can make it! You're a Riggs, you're gonna make it. One, two, three...

Whoa, whoa.

Well, we almost made it.

Hey, honey! Could you get that?


I'm reading Junior a story.


Do you know anything about a, uh...

Rolls-Royce! Cool!

Damn it, Jack.

Mom, it's got a TV!

Oh, my God.

I know, I know. Um...

It was Jack's idea.

You are like a little kid, you know that?

Well, you're good with kids.

After everything we talked about?

Everything you promised me?

Okay, okay, I get it. Give me those.

Where are you going?

Can I come, too? No, you can't come.


All right. Thanks, Mrs. Court.

Thanks for coming.

Did you like it?

It was amazing.

Thanks for coming. Thank you.

Nice to meet you. Nice to meet you.

Nice hair.

You came!

Why didn't you tell me how good you are?

Ah, Well.

Can I ask you a question?

You may. I may not answer it.

Do you like dancing?

I do.


♪ I wish she'd come walking over ♪

♪ Now I've been waiting to show her ♪

♪ Crimson and clover ♪

♪ Over and over ♪

I can't believe how you move on the court.

It's like watching some kind of...

...wild animal.

Aw, come on. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Enjoyed it? I've never seen anything like it! It was...

It must be intoxicating.

What? Playing tennis?

Being inside your skin.

Excuse me.

I'm so sorry for doing this.

Mrs. King, I'm such a huge fan.

Oh. Thank you so much.

I'm Miles.

Miles. Great to meet you.

Do you dance as well as you serve?

Oh, thanks, I don't think--

Tonight we're just gonna stay here and watch.

Okay. But nice to meet you, Miles.

You, too.

I'd love to dance!

Well, sure thing.

♪ Crimson and clover ♪

♪ Over and over ♪

♪ Crimson and clover ♪

♪ Over and over ♪

♪ Crimson and clover ♪

♪ Over and over ♪

♪ Crimson and clover ♪

♪ Over and over ♪

Let me do yours?

You're perfect.

I got to go soon.


No. Yeah.

I got to get a bus back to L.A.

No, it's too late for that.

You can't take a bus right now.

You can stay in my room.

I've got two beds. Honestly, it's no trouble.



Sure. Yeah.

This is me.



So, Gladys used to make us share rooms, but we can afford our own now.

I usually take the bed closest to the window.

But it's fine! Take whichever one you want.

I'm married.

That's okay.

I've got a boyfriend. Sort of.

But you, uh...

...with women... too?


Do you? No.

No, never. I'm...

There's only ever been Larry.


...can I kiss you?

We can take it slow, that's okay. There's no--

I have to, Mare.

It's one of the few sure things I can count on in life.

Come on, Rhoda.

You love your mother and you know it.

Of course I love her.

I just think she's holding a grudge because I didn't go into the profession she picked out for me:


My mother, she's here!

You're beautiful.

And in sporting news, we turn to the world of women's tennis... Billie Jean King beat Kristy Pigeon today, two sets to zero, in San Diego.

Next, the Virginia Slims tour heads to Los Angeles.

In baseball, the Yankees have started 0 and 3 after being swept on the road by the Red Sox.

Oh, it's Larry.

Oh, God, what if it's Gladys?

Jesus, what if it's my parents?

Well, none of 'em can see down the phone, can they?

Don't joke. Don't joke. Just don't...

Don't say anything, okay?

Just be quiet. Just be quiet, okay?


BOBBY". Eureka!


Eureka, Billie Jean!

Who is this?

It's Bobby. Bobby Riggs.

Bobby? How'd you get my number?

Called every hotel in San Diego.

Listen, I had a great idea.

Okay. Well, it's after midnight, Bobby, so can we talk another time?

You and me, Billie Jean.

Three sets, five sets-your choice.

Are you drunk, Bobby?

No, of course not!

How about this: "Man vs. Woman."

"Male Chauvinist Pig vs. Hairy-Legged Feminist".

No offense. You're still a feminist, right?

No, I'm a tennis player who happens to be a woman.

That's right. That's exactly who you are.

And I am a tennis player who happens to be a man...

...who says that he can beat any woman on the planet.

Think of the publicity that we get. Think of the money.


Thirty-five grand.

Where'd you get that kind of money?

You see? You're tempted.

I'm really not.

I'm not interested, Bobby. Good night.

Don't hang up.

And by the way, I shave my legs.

Who was that?

That was just some crazy old hustler trying to get a game.

I hope you don't mind.

I borrowed something to sleep in.



You're gonna give me the speech, aren't you?

I'm sorry.

Whatever I...

...may feel, I can't act on it.

There's too much at stake. I mean the tennis tour and...


And I have my husband.

He's a great...

...person, and he would be heartbroken if he found out.

And my parents would never speak to me again.

Hey, hey, hey-

I get it.


Oh, hey.


'Night. Good night.



Larry, are you awake?

Dad? Can I come up?


Hey there, kiddo.


Just for tonight.

Maybe tomorrow.

Sure, sure.

Oh, a little misunderstanding.

Sometimes Priscilla goes off the deep end.

Oh, hey... did you see my Rolls-Royce?

Yeah, that's cool, Dad.

You gonna live in it?

Yeah, well, I could. I could. It's big enough.

But no, no, no. I got plans, Larry. Big plans.


Yeah, well, I've... heard 'em.

All of 'em.

Good night, kiddo.

Good night, Dad.




Honey, come on.

Not even a fresh pair of underpants?


Can't we just talk about this?

You know-- Oh.


Thank you!

My name is Bobby and I am an addict.

GROUP". Hi, Bobby.

BOBBY". At least that's what Priscilla says.

She's gonna leave me unless I quit gambling.

Puzzles me, though, that word: "Gambling."

Whenever Priscilla gets a car out of the garage, she's gambling big time.

Never checks the mirror. Sticks it in reverse.

Puts her foot down, right out onto the highway.

Jeez Louise, that's gambling!

But here I am, Gamblers Anonymous.

And your point is what, Bobby?

My point is this: Life's a gamble, right?

That's the thrill of it!

You know, you folks aren't here because you're gamblers.

You are here because you are terrible gamblers.

Well, let's--

That's the problem. You lose, and that's why you're here.

Okay, Bobby--

I've been looking at you guys yammering on about all of your stuff and...

..."Oh, woe is me" and "This is terrible."

But you know what the problem is?

The problem is you don't have a "thing."

Can we just-- They don't have a thing.

They need an edge. You need an angle, an inside track, something...

...that's gonna turn you from being a gambler to a hustler.

All right, Bobby, thank you.

From a loser to a winner.

Why should we give up the one thing in life that we really love?

These folks don't need to stop what they're doing, they just need to get better at it.

Okay, Bobby, please. Who's dealing? Who's in?


I'm heartbroken.

I don't know why she won't meet me halfway.

I mean, is that too unreasonable to ask?

Have you considered you might be coming at this from the wrong angle?

Every angle, Doc. I have tried every angle, believe me.

I know we've discussed this before.

Oh, I don't know.

You're an alpha male. She's an alpha female.

Maybe you have to face the fact that she's just not the right woman for you.

Nah, I understand what you're saying...

...but Billie Jean would make the best match by a million miles.

She is the leader of these women. The face.

At this rate, she's not even gonna be Number 1 next season.

She's not?

Nope. Margaret Court.

Really? The Arm's gonna be Number 1?


Stick or twist?


Jack of Hearts. Too bad.

The point is, not only is Margaret gonna be Number 1

...but she's a different kind of woman.

You think she'd play me?

She's a nice old-fashioned girl, Bobby.

She'll do as she's damn well told.

I shouldn't have had so much to drink last night.

It's inexcusable.

You had like half a drink.

Well... that's half a drink too many.

It's the finals this week.

Where are my keys?

I think they're in your hand.

Thank you. Okay.

You should leave now.

Then I'll follow in about five minutes.

All right.

Or actually that will seem suspicious.

Maybe you should just stay here.


You said you'd give me a ride.

Right. Right.

Right on. Okay.

Ready to go? Got everything?


Sorry about that. I'm just a little...

Be careful with that mannequin, Henry.

Of course, Ted.

Well, look what we have here.


And a little deshabille, wouldn't you say?

I would, Henry. I most definitely would.

And what do you think Larry would say?

He must know.

Well, there's knowing...

...and there's knowing.

Nobody later than four.

Rosie? Where's Rosie?

I'm here.

No more speeding tickets, okay?

This is tennis, not NASCAR.

And girls, I am begging you, for God's sake-- some Slims at the photo call.

They've been great to us, and we need them to renew our contract.

And I like it. I mean, look at me. Mmm.


You're late. And who's that?

This? My, uh, my friend.

Marilyn from the salon in L.A.

Wait, is she coming on tour with us?

That's a great idea.

Oh, no, she is not.

Please, Gladys. With all the photo shoots we're doing, we need a hairdresser.

That would be an N followed by an O.

How's your spelling, Val?

No, no, no. She lives in L.A.

She works at the salon in L.A.

She can't just come on the road.

Come on. It's not-- No.

They're not gonna miss me for just a few days.

Yeah. I mean, we could all pay a little bit.

Yes, please, Gladys? Look at them!

They get in my eyes. I can't see the ball.

Please, Mom?

Please, I've had no time to get these bangs done.

It's a great idea, Mom.

Imagine having your own stylist.

Just for a little while.

Can you do anything with this?

Of course! Yeah.

Ugh. Get in the car.

Is this okay?

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, it's good.


You do know what she is, don't you? That...

...woman with Billie Jean?


I think it's her lover.

That girl?

And Billie Jean?

She's married.

They usually are.

That's what happens on an all-women circuit, Barry.

Licentiousness. Immorality.


Really? Because she shouldn't be allowed on tour.

On the contrary.

Well, isn't she ashamed of herself?

She is ashamed. That's exactly what she is.

And her game's gonna fall to pieces.

♪ She packed my bags last night ♪

♪ Pre-flight ♪

♪ Zero hour, 9:00 am ♪

♪ And I'm gonna be high... ♪ What happened last night can't happen again.

We have to stop fooling around.

I wasn't fooling around. I was dead serious.


Larry doesn't even come on tour with me, because I can't have the distraction.

I have to focus on my game a hundred percent.

I promise not to distract you.

But you do distract me.

You distract me just being here.

Who are you?

What are you doing with me?

I'm Marilyn Kathryn Barnett.

I'm good with my hands.

I don't like being told what to do.

And I just met the most interesting person.

I'm not that interesting. I promise.

All I think about is tennis.

We don't have to do anything you don't want to do. Okay?


Okay. Really good friends?


I swear, I don't know what to do with myself around you.

Just drive.

♪ ...brings me round again to find ♪

♪ I'm not the man they think I am at home ♪

♪ Oh, no, no, no ♪

♪ I'm a rocket man ♪

♪ Rocket man burning out his fuse up here alone ♪

♪ And I think it's gonna be a long, long time ♪

♪ And I think it's gonna be a long, long time ♪

♪ And I think it's gonna be a long, long time ♪

♪ And I think it's gonna be a long, long time ♪

♪ And I think it's gonna be a long, long time ♪

I know. Shh.


Barry, how you doing? Been a long time. How are you?

What do you want?

Five minutes is all.

And if you don't like what I have to say, you'll never hear from me again.

Is that a promise? Let him in.

Hey, Margaret, how are you?

This better be good.

No one's getting a lot of sleep around here.

Oh, it's good! It's good.

Who's this? That's Daniel.

Daniel! Do you mind?

May I? Yeah.

Oh, Daniel, come here, you. Oh, you're so big!

Oh, Daniel, hello!

Bobby's gotcha. Bobby's gotcha.

Yeah, that's right. Oh, look at you.

Oh, Margaret, he is lovely.

Hi! Do any of the other girls have kids?

Nope, just me.

Just you. Wow!

That has got to be tough. Tough on your mom.

Playing all day and then taking care of you at night. Oh, boy!

That's got to be-- And all the traveling?

You know what? You need a nanny.

A nanny. You Know how much they cost?

That's exactly why I'm here.

Because I think $35,000 would buy you a lot of nanny.

What is your game, Bobby Riggs?

A match. You versus me.

Two out of three sets. $35,000.

Well... why me?

Why you? Because you're the best.

Billie Jean has been on me to play her, but you know what she's like.


And besides, I always say if you're gonna play... the number one.

Billie Jean's number one.

Not if you beat her tomorrow.

Isn't that right? ls your mom gonna beat her?

40 down. "Lumberjack's tool."

Four letters.


Oh, my. What?

It's Larry. Hmm?

Larry King.



I think I'd better make a phone call.


Ted here, darling. A petite heads up.

Larry is in the building.

Sh“. Be careful.

Okay. Thanks.

Hey. Oh.

Going up? Thanks.

Yeah. 31.

Me, too.

Starting early.

Oh, well, you know what they say-- it's never too early for champagne.

My kinda girl.

You here for the tennis?

I sure am.

Me, too.

I think Billie Jean's gonna take it.

Oh, are you a fan?

You could say that.

After you.

Well, see you around.


Hi! Oh.


Hi! Hi, honey.

Oh, this is Marilyn.


Larry. Oh, hi, hi.

Marilyn is the, the-- The hairdresser around here.

And... Larry is... the...

The husband around here. The husband around here.

Peaches wants me to give her a blow dry.


Marilyn! Uh-huh?

Was the ice for Billie Jean's knees?


Yeah, I'll get that. Thanks.


Here. Let me.


The roads were clear, so I made good time.

I should've called ahead, letting you know that I was coming.

Leg up-




I'm gonna get another room.

I've got phone calls to make, and you need to rest for the finals.

Point to Mrs. Court. Love-15.


Jesus Christ, Billie.

Come on, dumby. Come on.

Love-40. Match point.

Game, set and match to Mrs. Court.

That was bad.

You don't seem yourself.

I was thinking of heading home.


There's lots to do from there and...

...I was thinking...

...I could give you some space and let you clear your head.


Talk to you soon. Yeah.





Have you got a cigarette?


Billie Jean know you smoke?

Uh... I guess not.

She's not a fan.

Well, I won't tell if you won't.

Secrets, huh? There's a lot of those going around.

Marilyn, you know how all this gets paid for?

Yeah, the...

...the prize money, rackets, hotels, flights...

...the food, everything?


And with sponsorship, that would go away in a heartbeat if certain things were to be made public.

I only have Billie Jean's best interests at heart.


You seem like a sweet girl and--

Don't condescend to me.


You know, I'm not the competition.

I'm just her husband, and you're...'re just a phase.

We're both just sideshows.

Tennis is her true love.

And if you get between her and the game, you'll be gone.

Met Bobby Riggs last night.

Funny man.

Tell me you didn't.

Didn't what?

He just wants to play an exhibition match is all.

Now that I'm officially number one.

It's not a tennis match, Margaret. You do know that.

What do you mean?

He tried that exhibition match line on me.

Oh. And I suppose you turned him down?

Are you kidding me?

You think I want to join the Bobby Riggs circus?

He wants to make himself look great and women look stupid.

It's not a match. It's a show.

I can understand why you might not want to play him, but...

...I've got nothing to hide.

Mind those seams when taking that off.

She's gonna play Bobby Riggs.

The Arm versus The Mouth. I know where my money's going.

What if she loses, Ted? What if she blows it?

He's never gonna let it go.

He's gonna make women's tennis look like a laughingstock.

Calm yourself, Madame Superstar.

Margaret is playing better than ever, and I don't need to remind you.

And strictly entrenous...

...we've had to make some adjustments in the bicep area.

Haven't we, Henry?

About an inch and a half.

I'm just glad you're not playing him.

Not a chance.

Best be careful.

What do you mean?

The world isn't always a forgiving place, my dear.

How are you so free with yourself?

Seems like you just do whatever you want.

I don't do whatever I want.

I pay taxes, visit the dentist.

You know what I mean.

I'm one of eight kids.

So... one noticed what I did.

Which is probably for the best, because I would've shocked the hell out of all of 'em.

I don't know.

I live... a private life...


...I guess I never think that people will care what I do.

God, I think everyone cares what I do.

I'm gonna let them all down.

When I was a kid, I played at this tennis club.

I was...


It was team photo time, which is a very big deal.

And my mom made me these...

...white tennis shorts, because we couldn't afford a tennis dress.


...the man that ran it, we were all lined up to take the photo and he pointed at me and he said...

..."That little girl cannot be in the photo...

..."because she's not wearing a tennis dress."

That must've crushed you.


I just thought...

...that does it.

I'm gonna be the best.

That way I can really... change things.

That way I have a voice.

You have a voice.

Larry! Dad?

Sorry I can't stay long. I'm training.

What the hell are you wearing?

Ah. It's a sauna suit.

It's killing me, but every time I breathe, I lose a pound.

You hear the news? Bobby's back!

Yeah, yeah, I heard.

You heard, huh? Isn't it great?

Is it really happening?

Oh, it's happening. It is happening! Say...

You want to help? What with?

What with? With training, with support.

Hit some balls for your old man.

Lornie's coming in.

I don't know. Why me?

Why you? You're my son, that's why.

Do this thing together. Come on!

The Riggs boys against the world!

You think you can beat her?

This Margaret thing is just the beginning.

It's gonna be huge.

Three-time Wimbledon Champion, four times Women's Single Champion in the United States...

...winner of the Grand Slam of tennis, and current leading money winner of the Women's Pro Tour.

From Australia, meet Margaret Court.

Her opponent...

...twice the United States Singles Champion, also a winner at Wimbledon.

A man who in 1967 was enshrined into the Tennis Hall of Fame.

Colorful and controversial Bobby Riggs.

Who's your money on, Jack? Mankind or womankind?

Bobby Riggs, without a doubt.

Margaret Court is a great tennis player, there's no mistake about that, but the...

...thing about women is that they find it hard to consistently handle the pressure.

Some would say they're not built for it.

Excuse me!

It's started already!

Virginia Slims coming through!

Where are the TVs?

Quickly! Come on, Henry.

We don't want to miss this.

Everybody. shut up!

That's the last of our laundry quarters.

It's on what channel?

Can we have some quiet here?

Please? Where, on four?

Yeah, it's four.

Oh! There we are.

Oh, my God. This is big.

Of course it's big. It's Bobby.

The one thing that man can do is hustle.

I'll say.

Bobby Riggs is two games away from winning this first set.

Rather easily, I might add.

Oh, my God.

KRAMER". Margaret may not realize what she's up against.

I think we should have been there to support her.

You have a tournament to play.

I own you, Peaches--don't forget that.

What a dreadful choice of blue!

GLADYS'. Oh, God.

If she doesn't start attacking the ball, she's gonna fail into his trap.

She looks spooked.

Do we like the dress?

It's one of Ted's. Are we allowed not to?

Right behind you, darling.

We love the dress!

Thank you.

I'm just hoping that Margaret will really start hitting the ball and follow her serve to the net.

I don't see how she can win staying back.

It looks like Bobby's just toying with her.

That's gonna have a demoralizing effect on Margaret if she thinks he's just horsing around.

Oh, dear. Let's face it.

She just can't handle Bobby's game.

Come on!

Nice one.


The Arm'll be fine.

She could squeeze the life out of that little twerp with one tweak of her bicep.


No, Margaret. Wake up, Margaret!

I'm not liking this.

Gladys, I think I'm gonna need a cigarette.

Finally, one of my girls smokes!

Game to Mr. Riggs.

Mr. Riggs leads one set to nothing.

There's not a single thing I don't hate about Bobby Riggs, not a single thing.

Bobby Riggs here in the second set.

Riggs does it again.

Bobby's unstoppable today.

Bobby Riggs.

Again, Bobby Riggs.

Margaret seems to be off her game.

I'll say!

40-love. Beautiful. This is awful.

Game to Mr. Riggs.

Really terrible.

Again, Bobby Riggs.

Let's get another cocktail, Henry.

Well, as I said...'s not that women can't play tennis, it's just that they can't deal with the pressure.

Perhaps this will finally put a stop to women players demanding the same prize money as men.

As we've seen today, they're simply... not in the same league.

Let's face it, in business, politics, sports, you name it...

...whatever they like to think, at the very top it's a man's game.

I can't believe this.

I know what'll cheer her up.

I'll be right back. Okay, darling.

KRAMER". We're at match point here.

There it is. Bobby Riggs wins 6-2, 6-1.


A rather easy triumph against motherhood and women's liberation.

That was a massacre.

Congratulations, Bobby.

Well, thank you very much.

This is my son, Larry.

Lousy tennis player, great guy.

So, now officially Bobby Riggs is the number one ladies player in the world...

...and any ladies out there want to challenge for the crown, you know where to find me.

And since I have just proven here today, beyond a shadow of a doubt...

...that men are the superior animal, tell you want I'm gonna do:

I am gonna triple the bet!

$100,000 to any woman who can beat Bobby Riggs.

The question I ask myself is, is she cut there, and does she have the nerve?

What got into her?

Fate, sweetie.

Coming at her like a runaway train.

Oh... darling.

And in today's much publicized tennis face-off between...

...Senior Pro Bobby Riggs and Woman's No. 1 Margaret Court...

...the self-styled "male chauvinist pig" beat Mrs. Court in straight sets, 6-2, 6-1... what the press has dubbed

"The Mother's Day Massac--"

Oh, for goodness sakes. It was just a tennis match.

The Women's No. 1 can't beat a 55-year-old.

Are you kidding me?

He's backed me into a corner now.

Then don't play him.

Who else is gonna beat him, Marilyn?

I don't have a choice.

No, you always have a choice.

You don't get it.

You don't get it.

I don't know how to help you.

Do you even want me here?

I don't know. I'm sorry. I need to think.



Oh. I was wondering when you were gonna call.

It was a travesty.


Call the bozo.

Tell him it's on.

But nothing gets agreed on without my approval, all right?

Venue, date, TV rights, everything.

What balls we use.

I know Bobby. He'll be making deals on his deals by now.

I'll call him first thing in the morning.

No, now. He calls me at midnight.

If we're gonna go, let's go.


You know something?

This can be great.

Really, really great.

And not just for women's tennis, you know?

As long as I win.

If there's one thing that I know about you...'s that this is one match you are gonna win.

You're a good man, Larry.

You're a good woman.

I wish that were true.

Let's focus on the match. Everything else can wait.

Good night.


Honey! lam back on top, I've never felt better, I beat Margaret Court...

...and now I am playing Billie Jean King for $100,000. What about that?

And...'s going to be on ABC, primetime.

Well, you have some nerve using all that

"male chauvinist pig" nonsense.

Who do you think's been bankrolling you all these years? Me. A woman.

You know something? You are absolutely right, and I am gonna pay you back.

Oh, yeah? Yeah.

I don't want it back.

You want me back?


...I'm gonna be on the cover of Time magazine.

I won the triple at Wimbledon and never got the cover of Time.

So after Billie Jean, there's an offer on the table for a million dollars to play Chrissie Evert.

A million dollars, huh!

Imagine that?

Million dollars.


I'll tell you something.

It's a pretty scary... trip I'm taking right here...

...and, uh...

...well, I was, um...

Well, I need you, honey.

I feel like we've been through this before.

No, I'm a changed man. Ask the shrink.

I did.

What did he say?

Nothing. He just gave me 3O bucks.

The money that he owed you from your last game of blackjack.

He was a terrible player.


Bobby, I love you.

Well, I love you, too.

I love how you make me laugh.

I love your crazy ideas and all your schemes.

And the way you walk into a room and you fill it up.

I love the way you make me feel.

I miss that a lot.


...I need a husband.

I need someone who is steady.

Someone that I can rely on.

And that is not you.

And that's okay.

It is more than okay.

It is wonderful, because that... who you are.

I just can't be with that person anymore.

I just can't.

I'm so sorry.


I'm sorry.


All right.



Hey, Jimmy! Bobby here. How are you, my friend?

Never better, never better.

Listen, what are the odds right now?

Okay, put 15 grand on me to win.

That's right, buddy, 15 big ones.

Okay. Great. Thank you, sir.

In other news, another battle in the never-ending war of the sexes...

...this one on the tennis court for a $100,000 purse.

It was announced today.

Women's tennis champion Miss Billie Jean King, who is 29...

...accepted the challenge of 55-year-old Bobby Riggs...

...the match to be held at a time and place still to be decided.

Miss King said she will not play for the money but, in her words...

..."to put women's tennis

"and women's lib back where it belongs."

Riggs said he issued the challenge because...

..."l want to prove that women are lousy

"and they don't belong on the same court as a man."


Put her there. All right, great.

Now, don't get me wrong, I love women-- in the bedroom and in the kitchen.

But these days, they want to be everywhere!

They want to be doing everything!

Where is it gonna end?

Pretty soon us fellas won't be able to go to a ballgame, we won't be able to go fishing.

We won't be able to stop and have a drink after work.

And that's what this whole women's lib thing is about.

And it's got to stop.

And Bobby Riggs is the man to stop it.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is Custer's Last Stand.

This is the Lobber versus the Libber!

Take that. Right?

Keep talking, Bobby.

The more nonsense you spout, the worse it will be when you lose.

Well, I'm the ladies number one, I'm the champ. Why would I lose?

Because dinosaurs can't play tennis.

I'm gonna put the "show" back in "chauvinism."


What a beautiful day to play tennis, huh?

All right, right here. Right down the pike.

All right, I'm coming in.

I'm coming in! Give me a lob!

Right? That's how you do it.

You know what I'm doing? I'm cooking.

I'm cooking! Am I cooking?


Oh, there we go!


All right, I got it.

♪ Any time of day ♪

♪ But if it's not love ♪

♪ That you need ♪

♪ Then I'll try my best... ♪ They walked right into it. I'm taking 'em all home!

They're gonna do my laundry.

You know what it's like? Being reincarnated.

It's the greatest thing I've ever done.

It's bigger than winning Wimbledon, bigger than Forest Hills, bigger than the Pro Tour.

High point of my career, maybe my life.

Hey, sweetie, how about a cocktail?

There we go.

Oh, watch it! I almost took your arms off.

I'm not saying that women don't belong on the court.

I mean, heck, who would pick up the balls otherwise?

But all of this shouting and yammering about equality.

Equality this, equality that.

Hey, how about some equality for Bobby Riggs?

This is my third nude shoot today.

I'm this old guy, trying to make ends meet on the senior circuit, getting paid peanuts.

But if I can beat the ladies and get equal prize money, thank you very much...

...well, then all the girls can just head back in the kitchen where they belong.

Look, he can talk all he likes.

That's one of the few things he's good at.

But the only thing that matters is who wins the match.

♪ Tell me, what is my life ♪ ♪ Without your love ♪

♪ Tell me, who am I ♪ ♪ Without you ♪

♪ By my side I ♪


Bobby, let's play some tennis, man!

Damn it, Dad.

Thank you.

Dad. Hey, kiddo!

I thought we were practicing.

You know what I have to say to that?

Margaret Court. 6-2, 6-1.

I don't need to practice, I got a secret weapon.

Rheo Blair, I'd like you to meet the most important person in my life... apart from me.

My son, Larry.

You tell him, Rheo.

Two words, Larry: Super Nutrition.

Super Nutrition!

You taking all of these?

Four hundred a day!

You're kidding.

Yeah, I'm rattling around a little bit, but you know what? I feel better than ever.

It's the A to Z of amino acids.

Vitamins, protein pills, some fat busters, and some of Rheo's Specials.

What's in those?



Who needs to train? I'm gonna live forever.

Yeah, but this, I don't know--

Oh, would you just relax? Come on.

You saw what I did to Margaret, and she beat Billie Jean.

One down!

What's next?

She played like an idiot.

There's no comparison. Margaret folds.

You know Billie. She loves pressure.

Yeah, but her game's off right now.

It is. I mean, I hate to say it, but my money's on Bobby.

Yep. Mine, too.

Money that you have because of Billie Jean.

It's not personal. I don't want him to win.

I just think he will.

I think that if I had to bet money, I would bet on Bobby Riggs.

Well, my money's on Bobby Riggs.

I've played with him.

The man has tremendous experience...

...and the male muscle is always a little stronger than the female muscle.

Billie Jean King.

You're gonna want to see this.

What? Am I on?

You got to check this out.

Billie Jean King is an excellent player.

I think that besides that, she's a beautiful lady.

And I like beautiful ladies.

I saw Bobby beat Margaret, and I think that he's a really tough player.

So I'd have to give him the edge over Billie Jean.

I like it.

The breaking news from Forest Hills is that Billie Jean King...

...has defaulted in her third-round match against Julie Heldman.

Looking tired and dispirited, Mrs. King left the court after only one set.

Speculation mounts that pressure from the upcoming match against Bobby Riggs... taking its toll.

Taking its toll, baby! I knew it!

She's crumbling, and I'm hanging out by the pool!

Are you scamming me to get more practice time?

I'm sick.

Let me see that.

Well, you're not dying.

Try to sound pleased.

Look, I love the other girls, but...'re the draw. You're my giant.

I'm a giant with the flu. I don't know what to say.

Take two weeks off!

Go somewhere, do what you need to do, okay?

But you have a tournament the day after that match with Riggs...

...and, win or lose, you're gonna be there.

Okay, thank you.

And just so you know, if you lose, I will never forgive you.

Oh, Jesus, Larry.

It's too much. No wonder my body's falling apart.

Okay, if there's somebody that you need...

...that you want me to call...

...I can call her.

No, there's nobody.

And if you mistake him for a fool, you may end up looking like one yourself.

Whether he's wearing a dress, playing with an umbrella...

...or sporting this season's must-have accessory, a flock of sheep...

...Bobby has not lost a match yet.

And as the Bobby Riggs circus moves on to the next town...

...people are beginning to wonder what has happened to the opposition.

Has she choked? Has she fled the country?

After withdrawing from Forest Hills with a virus, nobody...

...has seen even the ghost of Billie Jean King.

Hey! Where are you going?

Where is she going?

My guess?


She does know what time this is--

Yes, I told you.

Has she pulled out?

She was ill.

Sorry I'm late, gentlemen.

Hey, honey, how's the flu?

Flu? I heard you were ill.

No. Don't believe everything you read in the papers, Bobby.

But thank you for the flowers. I gave 'em to Rosie.

And I put 'em in the trash.


Billie Jean.


What are you doing here?

Jack's my choice of commentator for ABC.


Oh, that won't work.

Now, Billie Jean, no one's complaining about Rosie doing the play-by-play.

Well, Rosie hasn't continually tried to dismantle women's tennis.

You overstate my influence, Billie Jean.

You blackballed us from the USLTA, Jack.

We did you a favor. Lousy organization.

Jack's my choice.

Sure make for a punchy commentator.

I won't play.

Look, I just spent $750,000 on this event.

You can't pull out the day before the match!

Says who?


...I wonder if we could...

...have a word, just the two of us.

Billie Jean...

...I know we've had our differences, but that's behind us.

This is between you and Bobby now.


Oh, Bobby's a clown.

This whole thing's an act for him, Jack.

You know that.

With you it's different. It's for real.

What do you mean?

I don't think you respect women.

I've been happily married for 32 years.

No, I think you like us in the kitchen and the bedroom.

I think you are a gentleman, and I mean that.

Thank you. I'll take my compliments where I can from you.

It's when we dare to want a little bit more.

Just a little bit of what you've got.

That's what you can't stand.

Oh. Really?


And to have you telling the American public what to read into every serve?

Every point?

I'm sorry, Jack.

If you're commentating, I'm not playing.

How do you think that's gonna make the great Billie Jean King look?

Backing out at the last minute just because she didn't like the commentator?

I think it's pretty similar to how it'll make the great Jack Kramer look.

Shutting the whole thing down because he didn't get to participate.

No. That's not gonna happen.

You're not gonna do this.

This means too much to you. You and your Sisterhood.

You'd never throw it over something like this. You won't.

Do you remember the last time you thought I was bluffing?

One dollar.

You know the difference between a good player and a great?

The great players never let emotion get in the way.

It messes with their game.

Sorry, Bobby.

Any last minute thoughts, Billie Jean?

Are you going to win?

Of course she's gonna win.

Against an old guy like Bobby Riggs, sure.

Let her play Rosewall or Nastase.

Men are better. End of story.

I'm not saying women are better.

I've never said that.

I'm saying we deserve some respect.

More than Bobby Riggs or you are giving us.

Sir, do you have a daughter?

Or a sister? You sure as heck have a mother.

Is your father better than your mother?

Just because he's a man? Do you believe that'?


But that's what you're saying... whether you think you are or not.

If I beat Bobby Riggs, will you stop saying it?


Sir, I'm gonna hold you to that.

If I see you, I'm gonna hold you to that.

Thank you. That's it for today.

We'll see you at the match.

Let's get this show on the road.

Here you go, Bobby.

Dad? Yeah?

I'm just gonna watch it here.

What do you mean? This is it. This is the day.

I'm sorry. I'm...

...I'm not coming.

You don't think I'm gonna lose, do you, kiddo?


You'll do great. You don't need me.

Good luck, Dad.

This one's from Jennifer in Tucson.

"Good luck, Billie Jean, we're all rooting for you."

This one's from Annie from New York.

"Go, Billie, we know you're gonna win."

You've lost weight. I have to take this in.

We don't have time. We have time.

How you feeling, honey?

Do you need anything? Water?

No, I'm good, thank you.

Twenty minutes to game time.

Rosie Casals, they need you in the studio.

You're gonna kill him.

I'll see you guys in a bit. Good luck out there.

Now, I have to ask, do you really intend to inflict blue suede shoes...

...on ninety million members of the viewing public?

How many? Oh, my God. Billie Jean!

If they're good enough for Elvis, they're good enough for me.

Well, something's off.

And I think it's the shoes. It's not the shoes!

Your hair?

Mom, Dad, this is Marilyn.

My hairdresser.

Pleased to meet you.

Well, if there's one thing I know, it's...

...never get between a woman and her hairdresser.

Very funny. Yes indeed.

Come on. Let's find our seats.

Here. I'll take you up there.

Good luck.

Thank you. Yeah, give 'em heck.

Billie Jean, I'll be back to take you to the court.

All right.

Hi. Hi.

Your hairdresser, huh?

What was I supposed to say?

No, you're right.

That's why I'm here.

Come on.

Yeah, just like that. That looks great.

Yep, zip her up. Oh, boy!

We need the "Sugar Daddy" facing camera.

Mmm-hmm. We got to see that.

Do you want me to hold it from the stick?

Am I gonna hold it that way?

That looks great.

We're trying to prepare for the match.

So the camera can see it. Yeah, up high. Beautiful.

I'll get it up nice and high.

We got it. Thank you. Have a great match.

Thank you. Thank you, ladies. See you out there.

See you out there. Good work.

Do it for the men, Bobby.

Wow. You good? Yeah! I'm ready for battle.

Stand by, Howard. We are live in five...

...four... three...

The following is an exclusive presentation of ABC Sports.

Live from the Astrodome in Houston, Texas...

...the Tennis Battle of the Sexes, Billie Jean King vs. Bobby Riggs.

What a scene it is!

The Houston Astrodome...

...where up till now they've played almost every sport in the world except tennis.

But in this panoramic scene, a happening.

With the big band here, with dancing cheerleaders, and all of the rest.

It's hard to believe, but probably more than 30,000 people are in this arena...

...for an all-time-record tennis audience anywhere in the world.

And zoom in on five.

Is that a priest?

Yeah. If Bobby wins, she takes the groom's surname.

But if Billie Jean wins, the groom takes her name.

Little flip-flop. Oh, boy.

Where's Billie Jean?

Can somebody--

Does anybody know where she is?

What do you mean, you lost her?

She's getting a trim. She'll be right out.

Yeah, like a haircut.

I missed you.

I know.

Uh, ten minutes to game time!

Stay for the match?

Are you sure? Yes.


There was, would you believe, a problem about one of our announcers to be:

Jack Kramer. The famed tennis promoter.

The famed tennis player of the past.

We wanted Jack Kramer. We respected him.

He would have been on our telecast.

Roll the Jack Kramer clip.

Billie Jean's gonna love this!

I want to make one thing clear.

When I realized that I was perhaps a problem...

...I thought maybe Billie Jean would want to use me as an excuse...

...if she lost against Bobby Riggs.

To ABC's credit...

...they said, "You call the shots, Jack, "we'll go along with you."

But Pm withdrawing voluntarily...

...and I'm wishing a hundred percent good luck to my pal, Bobby Riggs.

Okay, Jack, you know how much we respect you.

They are ready for you in the holding area.

I'll walk you down there.

I think I'm gonna go on my own.

Okay? Yeah.

The package is in the room.

Billie! Billie Jean!

This is for you.

All right.

Gentlemen, let's go.

Ladies and gentlemen, the Battle of the Sexes is about to begin.

Introducing six-time Wimbledon champion...

...four-time women's champion of the United States...

...winner of the Grand Slam of women's tennis...

Billie Jean King!

There is an overwhelming sentiment for Billie Jean King.

Very attractive young lady...

...and sometimes you get the feeling that if she ever let her hair grow...

...and took her glasses off, you'd have somebody vying for a Hollywood screen test.

Oh! Here comes Bobby Riggs. Ah.

You see him now in the picture.

Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Grand Slam champion...

...and Tennis Hall of Famer, Bobby Riggs!

A long-awaited match, hustled and promoted...

...ceaselessly and shrewdly by Bobby Riggs.

There's Bobby.

The big act, the big bluster, the big noise.

Now he's got steeper competition with Billie Jean King.

This thing is nuts.

All right, we're back on camera and this is our...

...female expert tonight. Recognize her?

Little Rosie Casals.

Now, you say Billie Jean will win in three sets?

Yes, I definitely think so.

I think she's a better tennis player...

...and I think what happened with the Court and Riggs match will not happen tonight.

Billie Jean will beat him, definitely.

Well, I got this beautiful lollipop for Billie Jean.

I figure she's gonna be a sucker for my lob.

I got something for you too, Bobby, actually.

It's the ultimate gift for a male chauvinist.


There you go.

Oh, that's okay, that's okay.

Any last words before the match, Bobby?

Well, this match is for all the guys around the world that feel as I do...

...that the male is king, the male is supreme.

Billie Jean?

I'm done talking. Let's play.

Ooh! Oh!

They have started the match.

Service, Billie Jean.



Make us some money. That a boy.

This match, of course, is going by satellite all around the world.


And you'll hear the crowd responding all night to every point won by Billie Jean.


Bobby's already starting.

Shouted "Attagirl" right after Billie hit the winner.

When he starts losing, I don't think he's gonna say "Attagirl".

He's confident.

Not everybody is for Billie Jean.

Some are for the self-proclaimed male chauvinist.

What he has to lose if he loses this match!

ROSE. He'll have to go back to cooking and doing the housework.

Game, Billie Jean King, and the crowd loves it.

They're getting ready to exchange courts.

Billie Jean leads one game to love.

Bobby, you got to take that damn jacket off.

They gave me twenty G's. I got to keep it on.

I don't care, you've got to take it off.

Nicely placed by Bobby Riggs.

I think she's too tentative at the moment.

That's really the problem.

What is her overall strategy?

You're so close to her.

Well, psychologically she's a better pressure player.

Billie Jean's basically like another Bobby Riggs.

She's a hustler.

She can take that type of pressure and give the same stuff back to him.

Still no Riggs. Right.

We're at 40-15.

Fun to see the old man run for that one.

If Billie Jean can keep Bobby running, I think she could wear him down.

Hence, the jacket begins to be taken off by Bobby Riggs...

...and maybe the braggadocio a little bit reduced.

A concession to the fact that Riggs...

...perhaps knows he's running into firm competition.

I think he's gonna start taking some of the vitamin pills.

He's gonna start needing them.

Game point for Bobby.

Rosie, she looks tense to me.

She is tense. No doubt about that.

This is a very important match.

And Bobby Riggs breaks through.

The first perhaps turning point in...

...the first set of this match.

Bobby Riggs leading Billie Jean King.

He had the pressure on him.

He responded very well.

And Billie Jean did not respond well on that shot. Advantage to Bobby Riggs.

Atta boy.

Marvelous shot by Bobby...

...and a great quick swing by Billie Jean.

Billie answering great. She did what she had to do...

...and she did it her way, Gene.

And a great shot by Bobby Riggs.

ROSE". There it is.

And the first set goes to Billie Jean King.

Point and set.

The women in this arena are standing and cheering for Billie Jean King.

Bobby doesn't look very happy.

He's sort of walking with his head down.

I think he's gonna get a little strategy from his coach over there.

They have a four-minute break, Howard.

Suppose we all expected to have some high humor involved in it.

Instead, it seems to have become a very, very serious thing, because...

...the comedy has gone out of Bobby Riggs.

The second game of the second set has just begun...

...Bobby Riggs serving, having broken through Billie Jean King... game to none in favor of Bobby Riggs.

And Billie Jean is seeking to strike back.

Billie Jean is killing him with that overhand smash, H! tell you that.

Bobby suddenly has become an underdog, Howard.

Yes, some of them are cheering for him.


Billie Jean King...

...has won the second set, six games to three.

She leads two sets to love...

...and it's so far a very great night for the ladies.

Bobby Riggs is fighting for his tennis life.

She's filled with confidence now.

Great shot! Marvelous shot!

Bobby trails four games to two.

No question about it, Billie Jean has been the aggressor in this match.

I think we're having a little problem with his hand.

He keeps pulling on his fingers, and to me that says he's getting a cramp.

He's having the hand and the arm looked at.

ROSE". Is this an injury then?

This is an injury.

Five minutes delay for an injury.

I knew it would come to this. I knew...

...Bobby would have to come down to something.

Like injuries.

Let me say this about Bobby Riggs, Rosie.

You've gotten in all your licks tonight at the guy, and that's fine.

And he made a lot of noise about male chauvinism and...

...the women belonged in the kitchen, and all the rest.

But he is 55, and he's some kind of guy.

ROSE". I agree. But I don't think he belongs on the court...

...with somebody of Billie Jean's caliber.

Well, the way it's proving out at the moment...

...turns out that you are right, if it ends this way.

Okay, Bobby's ready to serve, trailing in the third set.

Here we go, Bobby, what do you say?


HOWARD COSELL'. 15-love.

One of the fans yelling, "Come on, Bobby baby!"

Bobby wins that point... he starts his fight to break through Billie Jean.

Bobby Riggs fights back and breaks through!

Whether he had the hand cramp earlier or not...

...what he obviously was trying to do was break up Billie Jean's brilliant momentum.

ROSE". Mmm-hmm. Great shot.

Listen to that crowd!

Now cheering for Riggs.

Not bad for an old man.

Bobby still has the break, Rosie.

Marvelous point won by Billie Jean!

I'll tell you, she's tough.

Walking back, she's walking more like a male than a female.

Out. Out.

ROSE". Double fault.

You're looking at an apparently tired Bobby Riggs.

Look at how Billie Jean King has been running him over the court.

And that's been her principal tactic, to wear him down.


Beautiful! ROSE". Great shot.

HOWARD COSELL'. And, Wham, that's the kind of tennis we've had--

Right on, baby!

She puts it away.

Look at that!

A brilliant move!

ROSE". Amazing shot.

And she is at match point.

ROSE. I really hope Jack Kramer is watching this and will cement something in his head...

...that women are not some kind of joke.

Bobby Riggs... fights for his whole hustle.

I underestimated you.

It's the game that's become a cause celebre.

Equality for women. Equal rights.

It was Billie Jean who fought for equal pay for women... the U. S. Open tennis tournament and got it.

Billie Jean King played her own game, resting up, being non-communicative...

...but preparing herself mentally and emotionally and physically...

...for a stunning performance against Bobby Riggs.

Frank Gifford wants you live right now. Come on.

Frank Gifford wants to do a live interview with you. He's just over here.

Just in a minute. In a minute.

Madame Superstar!

Congratulations. Aww.

Now, come on.

The dancing can't start without you.

I'm not sure I'm ready for all this.

I think you may be more ready than you know.

Times change.

You should know. You just changed them.


...we will be free to be who we are...

...and love who we love.

But now...

...time to join the dance.

Ladies and gentlemen...

Billie Jean King!

♪ If I dare to ask it ♪

♪ Then I dare it to be true ♪

♪ If I dare to risk it ♪

♪ Then I know that I'm willing to ♪

♪ If I dare to want this ♪

♪ To want more than I have ♪

♪ Then I dare to believe ♪

♪ I'll have it in the end ♪

♪ You climbed the mountain ♪

♪ Sent pictures of the view ♪

♪ And still can't believe when ♪

♪ I started climbing, too ♪

♪ You haven't heard that ♪

♪ I'm not afraid to fall ♪

♪ And I'm not deterred yet ♪

♪ Until I tell them all ♪ Elam

♪ Holding out ♪

♪ For more than what I have now ♪

♪ I'm holding out ♪

♪ I don't want your pity ♪

♪ I won't use your little scraps ♪

♪ I don't build my cities ♪

♪ With what could get taken back ♪

♪ I don't need permission ♪

♪ To rise up when it hurts ♪

♪ You don't have to listen ♪

♪ But you'll hear me Mark my words ♪ Elam

♪ Holding out ♪

♪ For more than what I have now ♪

♪ I'm holding out ♪

♪ When the room gets dark and I am quiet ♪

♪ There's a voice that's soft like someone's silhouette ♪

♪ Saying don't let me go yet ♪


♪ Holding out ♪


♪ Holding out ♪

♪ For more than what I have now ♪

♪ I'm holding out ♪

♪ If I dare to ask it ♪

♪ I dare it to be true ♪

♪ If I dare to risk it ♪

♪ I know that I'm willing to ♪

♪ If I dare to want this ♪

♪ To want more than I have ♪

♪ Then I dare to believe ♪

♪ PH have it in the end I ♪