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.

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  • FWIW I think this was a made-for-tv movie in case anyone can help me identify it. – Kodos Johnson Jan 8 at 16:43
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    On base value it certainly doesn't seem like it would be on topic. – TheLethalCarrot Jan 8 at 16:43
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    @TheLethalCarrot - Dystopias are on-topic – Valorum Jan 8 at 19:07

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.

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    How is fewer people dying in war a dystopia? – jwodder Jan 9 at 15:08
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    @jwodder - Your sensible, well-thought-out questions aren't welcome here :-) – Valorum Jan 9 at 15:13
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    I'm serious. You say the work sounds like a dystopia, but I see absolutely nothing dystopic about it. – jwodder Jan 9 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 Jan 9 at 15:24
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    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 Jan 9 at 15:30
  • @jwodder - It's pretty rare for countries to face an existential threat from troop invasion – Valorum Jan 9 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. – Kodos Johnson Jan 9 at 16:49
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    @KodosJohnson - Why would either country (especially the US) agree to that? – Valorum Jan 9 at 17:05
  • no idea unfortunately. Maybe I'm wrong. I would have to see the movie. – Kodos Johnson Jan 9 at 17:17
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    @jwodder So what? Why would eutopia be any less on topic than dystopia? – user14111 Jan 10 at 7:58
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    @user14111 TIL that there's a word "eutopia" which is slightly different from "utopia". – Rand al'Thor Jan 10 at 15:02
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    @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 Jan 10 at 15:10

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