7.5/10
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Searching for Bobby Fischer (1993)

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

Director:

Writers:

(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:

Innocent Moves  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Gross:

$7,266,383 (USA)
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Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (Ontario)

Sound Mix:

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Joshua Waitzkin is depicted as the next Bobby Fischer in the film and a genius chess prodigy, however the portrayal is immensely exaggerated. Although he became an International Master at the age of 16 (a title which most top players manage to attain much earlier, at the age of 12-14) he never managed to gain the top tier title of Grandmaster. Moreover, the peak Fide Elo Rating he reached was 2480 in 1998 at the age of 22, which was then more than 300 rating points lower than Garry Kasparov who at the time topped the rankings. Last but not least, there are currently (May 2017) 1453 players all over the world rated higher than Joshua Waitzkin and 82 in the US. See more »

Goofs

Josh tells Vinnie he learned the "Schliemann Attack" from his teacher. Actually there's no such thing. It's the Schliemann Defense. Also, when Vinnie asks, "What's that?" referring to the "attack," Josh actually hasn't yet made the move that would prompt him to say this, he's just playing the opening move of the standard Ruy Lopez (1. ... e5), so there'd be no reason for Vinnie to say "What's that?" at that point. The move that makes it "Schliemann" (3. ...f5) hasn't yet been played. 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 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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Connections

Referenced in Weird Science: Searching for Boris Karloff (1996) See more »

Soundtracks

Frère Jacques
(uncredited)
Written by Traditional
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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.


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