Searching for Bobby Fischer (1993)

PG  |   |  Biography, Drama  |  11 August 1993 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 22,596 users  
Reviews: 82 user | 35 critic

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



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



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


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 <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Every journey begins with a single move.


Biography | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for thematic elements | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

11 August 1993 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

À la recherche de Bobby Fischer  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$7,266,383 (USA)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (Ontario)

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Most of the characters who were famous chess players were actually played by themselves (Joel Benjamin, Roman Dzindzichashvili). The one exception is Asa Hoffman. The real Asa Hoffman did not like the way he was depicted in the script (he is shown as being neurotic, when the book describes him as being quite self-aware), and refused to cooperate, so he was played by Austin Pendleton. See more »


The supposedly winning combination in the final game between Josh and Poe is unsound. Poe could have drawn the game by playing his pawn to h5 instead of his king taking the knight on e5. See more »


[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 the 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 ...
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Referenced in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011) See more »


Green Grass Grows All Around
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Every Father Should Watch This Movie
21 December 1998 | by (Brentwood, TN) – See all my reviews

It's one of the toughest jobs a father faces--how hard should you push to "make a man" out of your young son.

"Searching for Bobby Fischer" offers a gentle and unexpected answer: You should listen for your son to tell you how "manly" he wants to be. Young Max Pomeranc is letter-perfect as the chess prodigy who refuses to become ruthless despite the prodding of his father and his surrogate-father. Joe Mantegna and Ben Kingsley give moving performances as men who can be convincingly converted to the truer, sweeter morality of a young child who doesn't need to be "tough" in order to be good. Watch for an understated, underrated performance by Joan Allen as the mom. A beautifully photographed, beautifully paced drama that should reduce anyone with more empathy than a statue to heartfelt tears.

29 of 34 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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