Hand-Picked Flix: Watch ‘Battle Royale’ for Your Saturday Night Fever

Battle RoyaleAnchor Bay via Everett Collection

It’s Saturday night. The game is on. The town is yours. You’re ready to go. But you need a little cinematic pep-talk. A movie that’ll get your adrenaline rushing top speed. Something with action, adventure, excitement… hell, maybe even something fantastical every so often. This week, our Netflix Hand-Picked Flix recommendation for Saturday Night Fever is Battle Royale.

It says a lot when a movie’s title becomes a permanent fixture in the international lexicon. The 2000 Japanese action movie Battle Royale is an unmistakably influential piece of cinema, predating America’s fight-to-the-death franchise The Hunger Games by more than a decade. The movie, itself adapted from a 1999 novel, centers on a junior high school student who is thrust into a lethal competition with his classmates at the whim of the government.

Making everything in American cinema look tame by comparison, Battle Royale is not only brutal but skillfully delivered, with dazzling aesthetics, fun characters, and the emotional throughline of the hero’s journey to overcome the death of his father. There are few films as capable of kicking up your pulse, and even fewer that can do so and still maintain an artistic air.

You can watch Battle Royale on Netflix, and check back tomorrow for our Lazy Sunday pick.


Staff editor Michael Arbeiter’s natural state of being can best be described as “mild panic attack.” His earliest memories of growing up in Queens, New York, involve nighttime conversations with a voice from his bedroom wall (the jury’s still out on what that was all about) and a love for classic television that spawned from the very first time he was allowed to watch “The Munsters.” Attending college at SUNY Binghamton, a 20-year-old Michael learned two things: that he could center his future on this love for TV and movies, and that dragons never actually existed — he was kind of late in the game on that one.