I have been trying to identify a movie that my dad told me about once. Unfortunately since the movies SE doesn't accept story id questions anymore, I want to know if I can ask my question here. The problem is that it doesn't seem like a sci fi movie at first glance.

The plot of the movie is like this:

The United States and some nondescript Asian country are at war. Both countries decide to determine the outcome of the war by sending their top soldiers to an island in the middle of the ocean to fight each other to the death. The victor of this fight wins the war for their respective nation. However both countries secretly send an assassin to make sure they win. The soldiers find out about the assassin and kill their own country's assassin because they want to make it a fair fight (the American soldier kills the American assassin and the Asian soldier kills the Asian assassin.

The reason I don't think it is a sci fi movie is that it doesn't take place in the future, I think it actually takes place in the year the movie was made (60s - 70s probably). However, the idea that two countries will decide their war by a fight to the death between their top soldiers seems absurd, which makes me think it has elements of a sci-fi story. Sci-fi movies try to answer the question of "what if?", even answers to hypothetical questions about situations which could never happen.

  • FWIW I think this was a made-for-tv movie in case anyone can help me identify it. Commented Jan 8, 2020 at 16:43
  • 6
    On base value it certainly doesn't seem like it would be on topic.
    – TheLethalCarrot Mod
    Commented Jan 8, 2020 at 16:43
  • 2
    @TheLethalCarrot - Dystopias are on-topic
    – Valorum
    Commented Jan 8, 2020 at 19:07
  • For what it's worth, I just stumbled on a movie called The 10th Victim on Wikipedia's list of dystopian films, and it's summarised as: "In the near-future, wars are avoided by giving people a chance to kill in the ¨Big Hunt¨; the most popular form of entertainment". Somehow, it reminded me of this meta post.
    – Clockwork
    Commented Nov 12, 2020 at 21:44
  • @Clockwork interesting. By the way I did manage to find the movie on IMDB in case you or anyone else is interested: imdb.com/title/tt0065534. Still not sure if it's on-topic since it doesn't seem dystopian from the summary. Commented Nov 18, 2020 at 1:42

1 Answer 1


I'd say that this question is on-topic for SFF:SE.

Based on the description (soldiers don't usually get selected to fight 'Battle Royale' style for their countries against other countries on a kill-or-be-killed island) this sounds like a dystopia, something we've decided is generally on-topic.

Depending on the answer, further questions may prove to be on- or off-topic.

  • 4
    How is fewer people dying in war a dystopia?
    – jwodder
    Commented Jan 9, 2020 at 15:08
  • 1
    @jwodder - Your sensible, well-thought-out questions aren't welcome here :-)
    – Valorum
    Commented Jan 9, 2020 at 15:13
  • 2
    I'm serious. You say the work sounds like a dystopia, but I see absolutely nothing dystopic about it.
    – jwodder
    Commented Jan 9, 2020 at 15:19
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    Gladiatorial combat certainly isn't normal in modern Western societies, especially when that Trial of Champions decides the fate of nations (q.v. Robot Jox). That sounds like quite an unpleasant society to me.
    – Valorum
    Commented Jan 9, 2020 at 15:24
  • 2
    Unless there are spectators, it's not gladiatorial, and the fates of nations are already decided in the real world by thousands of people killing each other.
    – jwodder
    Commented Jan 9, 2020 at 15:30
  • @jwodder - It's pretty rare for countries to face an existential threat from troop invasion
    – Valorum
    Commented Jan 9, 2020 at 15:35
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    Unfortunately I did find the movie once before and I don't think it was dystopian. It was like Japan and US during WWII. It just happened that they decided to determine the outcome of the war that way for some reason. Commented Jan 9, 2020 at 16:49
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    @KodosJohnson - Why would either country (especially the US) agree to that?
    – Valorum
    Commented Jan 9, 2020 at 17:05
  • no idea unfortunately. Maybe I'm wrong. I would have to see the movie. Commented Jan 9, 2020 at 17:17
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    @jwodder So what? Why would eutopia be any less on topic than dystopia?
    – user14111
    Commented Jan 10, 2020 at 7:58
  • 2
    @user14111 TIL that there's a word "eutopia" which is slightly different from "utopia".
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Commented Jan 10, 2020 at 15:02
  • 1
    @user14111: I don't believe the movie is either utopian or dystopian. It doesn't sound any more sci-fi than the average action movie.
    – jwodder
    Commented Jan 10, 2020 at 15:10

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