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Searching for Bobby Fischer (1993)

PG  |   |  Biography, Drama  |  11 August 1993 (USA)
7.5
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 21,712 users  
Reviews: 80 user | 34 critic

A prepubescent chess prodigy refuses to harden himself in order to become a champion like the famous but unlikable Bobby Fischer.

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(book), (screenplay)
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 5 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Michael Nirenberg ...
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Vasek Simek ...
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Tunafish Father
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Tournament Director
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School Teacher
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Fighting Parent
Steven Randazzo ...
Man of Many Signals
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Storyline

Josh Waitzkin is just a typical American boy interested in baseball when one day he challenges his father at chess and wins. Showing unusual precocity at the outdoor matches at Washington Square in New York City, he quickly makes friends with a hustler named Vinnie who teaches him speed chess. Josh's parents hire a renowned chess coach, Bruce, who teaches Josh the usefulness of measured planning. Along the way Josh becomes tired of Bruce's system and chess in general and purposely throws a match, leaving the prospects of winning a national championship in serious jeopardy. Written by Rick Gregory <rag.apa@email.apa.org>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Every journey begins with a single move.

Genres:

Biography | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for thematic elements | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

11 August 1993 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

À la recherche de Bobby Fischer  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Gross:

$7,266,383 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (Ontario)

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film's star, Max Pomeranc, was chosen because he is in real life a chess player (or was at the time of the film). The producers wanted someone who would be at ease and "correct" playing chess. None of the film's other stars played chess in the beginning, but eventually Joe Mantegna learned. See more »

Goofs

"Errors" such as the McDonalds cups seen in the movie being from the early 90s and not mid-80s are not goofs. Although the real life events happened in the mid-80s, the movie makes no attempt at all to stay in period. The cars, computers, clothes, etc., are contemporary to the film and not from the 80s. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Josh Waitzkin: [about Bobby Fischer] In the days before the event, the whole world wondered if he would show up. Plane after plane waited on the runway, while he napped, took walks, and ate sandwiches. Henry Kissinger called and asked him to go for his country's honor. Soon after arriving, he offended he Icelanders by calling their country inadequate because it had no bowling alleys. He complained about the TV cameras, about the lighting, about the table and chairs, and the contrast of the squares...
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Saturday Night Live: The Best of Will Ferrell (2002) See more »

Soundtracks

Green Grass Grows All Around
Performed by Pete Seeger
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Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Zaillian's genius in "Searching for Bobby Fischer"
28 February 2004 | by (New York City) – See all my reviews

In SEARCHING FOR BOBBY FISCHER, Steven Zaillian's is the most complete and near-flawless film-work of the 1990s. I can't say merely "director's work" because he also wrote the screenplay. And (I have to presume) he chose Conrad Hall as d.p., James Horner for the music, Wayne Wahrman as film-editor, and he worked with a lighting director, sound director, set director and more -- each of whom did a job worthy of the highest praise. And the cast, the supernal cast -- many of whom have had larger and more celebrated roles, but none of whom has ever nailed a role more satisfyingly -- Kingsley, Mantegna, Allen, Fishburne -- even the smaller and cameo bits are effectively faultless -- by Linney, Stephens, Shalhoub, Pendleton. And of course, Pomeranc's work is a kind of miracle. Every part of it evokes from me applause for Zaillian's imagination, sensibility, knowledgeability, intelligence, judgment.

I confess I post this comment because none of the other comments I've seen on SEARCHING seems to me to realize how much Zaillian must have contributed to making this -- and I think it deserves this adjective -- GREAT movie. (I further confess I didn't first watch the movie until some three years after its debut because of its title. I was damned if I wanted to spend two hours in the presence of someone as nasty-seeming as Fischer. But the title of course was Fred Waitzkin's, the author of the source book. Fred, you cost me a few years -- but Steven Zaillian has made up for it many times over.)


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