The Program is the event which the Battle Royale story revolves around.
In the original novel, the Program is officially a military research project designed to create such fear and paranoia among the population that they will never revolt against the government.
In the English version of the manga, the Program is broadcast as a form of entertainment for the masses.
In the film, the Program is known as "Battle Royale" and was created as a means to keep the young under control.
There are some small variations to the rules of the Program in the novel, manga and film, but the general concept is as follows:
A randomly-selected school class is placed in a deserted area.In the Kagawa prefecture the location is usually an island and other locations include abandoned jailhouses, fenced off mountain areas and fenced off inner cities.There, they have to kill each other in order to survive. The game ends when there is only one survivor left behind. Prior to the game, each student is fitted with a neck collar that monitors their positions, vital signs and other info. They are given one bag of supplies each, which contains water, rations, a compass, a map and some randomly-selected weapon. The weapons range from bladed weapons to pistols, full-auto guns and also the occasional "surprise", such as a boomerang, paper fan and poison. The location is divided into a grid network of more-or-less equally large "zones". Once in a while, one of these will be deemed a danger zone. When that happens, the neck-collars of any students inside it who stays there longer than the allowed time will detonate, killing them. If no-one dies within 24 hours, everyone's collars detonate and nobody survives. In the film, if more than one person is still alive at the end of the 72-hour time limit, everyone's collars will also detonate.
The known Program winners are Saki Sakurai who won Battle Royale by her natural talent at sniping, Maki Souda who won her Battle Royale by using her given weapon (tweezers) to rip out a wire from her collar 5 seconds before it exploded. Her teacher accused her of cheating so she shot her teacher. Shuya Nanahara and Noriko Nakagawa where joint winners of Battle Royale. Shogo Kawada won Battle Royale and Mai won her Battle Royale in unknown ways.