The Frida Cinema

Orange County's Year-Round Film Festival

Battle Royale

By popular demand, we are adding one more encore screening of director Kinji Fukasaku’s legendary 2000 Japanese thriller, Battle Royale! 

An art-house action-adventure thriller that reached cult status, the film follows 42 ninth graders who are shipped to a deserted island where they are forced play the most dangerous game at the behest of the Japanese government—each student, armed with only a map, food, various weapons, and an explosive collar fitted around their neck, must battle to the death. As the bloodbath of the youth begins, the players realize that the only way to escape is to be the last teen standing.

Battle Royale is based on Koushun Takami’s novel of the same name—and upon the movie’s initial release, the film drew controversy and was either banned or excluded from distribution in several countries but has subsequently gained critical acclaim and induction into cult status. Battle Royale remains a pop culture phenomenon, and its depiction of a dystopian future, with an administration that maintains its law and order over the youth by sacrificing them for entertainment, taps into our anxieties about government control, the state of youth, and serves as a metaphor for the eternal schism that exists between youth and adults.

Director Kinji Fukasaku was surprisingly 70 years old when he made this rage-filled and youthful satirical slayfest, previously never distributed to U.S. audiences.


“This savage social satire revels in the brutality and gore and plays it for dark comedy and gallows humor, a teen melodrama gone feral as cliques fall apart under fire and young love is literally under the gun.” – Sean Axmaker, Stream on Demand

“Battle Royale is a masterpiece of mayhem, violence, and unfettered teen melodrama.” – R.L. Shaffer, IGN DVD

“Sharply written, bloody, and darkly funny, this is a cut above your usual exploitation fare.” – Matthew Turner, ViewLondon