The 2000s Controversial Dystopian Sci-Fi Survival Thriller That Changed The Genre Forever, Stream Right Now

By Christopher Isaac | Published

battle royale

Even if you have never seen Battle Royale before, it is a movie whose cultural impact you cannot help but have felt. Released in 2000, it is based on a 1999 Japanese novel of the same name. It has spawned countless other movies and TV shows inspired by its premise, and the original movie continues to be regarded by many as one of the best films ever made.

Battle Royale

battle royale

For those who enjoy The Hunger Games, the plot of Battle Royale will no doubt sound familiar. A group of teens are forced into a competition where they are under constant surveillance. The goal of the competition is to leave only one victor standing, which must be accomplished by outliving everyone else involved in the game.

It forces otherwise kind and innocent people into kill or be killed scenarios. And it also allows individuals with depraved intentions to finally act on their dark desires.

The Hunger Games Before The Hunger Games

battle royale

Obviously The Hunger Games put some of its own spin on the premise, shifting the focus a bit to being in a dystopian future where the entire point of the competition is entertainment for aristocrats. However, when The Hunger Games movies first began being released, many Battle Royale fans felt compelled to defend the originator of the genre and remind everyone who did this idea first.

Ultimately, The Hunger Games no doubt helped many American fans discover Battle Royale, so rather than being competition, the two movies helped widen the fanbase for what would become a whole movie genre.

Squid Game Before Squid Game

battle royale

As far as more recent inspirations, 2021’s first season of Squid Game also no doubt took inspiration from Battle Royale. The genre already includes many classic tropes, such as competitors who gleefully kill the others just for the fun of it. There are also the alliances that form within the competition that usually ultimately lead to dramatic betrayals.

There are the competitors who try to use their wits to bend the rules of the game to gain unintended advantages. And the finale frequently pits two individuals who became friends during the game against one another, forcing the characters to break even their most cherished bonds.

A Critical Darling

The enthusiastic praise for Battle Royale is well-documented, with even the likes of director Quentin Tarantino calling it one of his favorite movies of all time. While at this point there have been countless imitators of the movie’s premise, The Hunger Games does stand as probably the most recognizable movie in the genre due to tapping into such a large, enthusiastic, young adult fan base.

Stream It Now

Part of what originally made Battle Royale so shocking is the young ages of the characters involved and the gruesome and graphic ends that most of them meet. If you have seen one of the movie’s many successors but have never seen the originator of the genre, you have plenty of methods to do so thanks to its ample availability on streaming services, especially free ones.

Some options to watch the movie with no charge include Tubi, Freevee, and The Roku Channel. Any fan of the genre owes it to themselves to see, both for its historical significance, and just for a classic movie.