Searching for Bobby Fischer (1993) Poster


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Josh Waitzkin, the subject of this movie, has won the U.S. Junior Chess Championships since the movie was made.
In the second half of the movie where Josh's father brings him back to the park to play with Vinnie, real-life Josh Waitzkin and Vinnie (both much older than actors playing them) are visible in the background.
Josh Waitzkin's first opponent in the National Championships ("ranked 82nd") is played by the Josh's real-life sister, Katya Waitzkin.
Laurence Fishburne's role was originally offered to Ice-T.
Bobby Fischer denounced the movie, claiming that it was part of a "Jewish conspiracy" to sully his name and make money off him at the same time.
The character of Jonathan Poe (Josh's young rival) was based on real life young chess prodigy Jeff Sarwer. In the National Primary Championship which the climax of the film is based on, Josh and Jeff actually tied for first place, after which Josh won on tie-breaks. While Sarwer would go on to win the World Championship Under 10, he soon disappeared with his sister and father; the family was known for living a travelling lifestyle (no permanent adress, etc.)
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.
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.
Near the beginning of the movie, when Josh's mom picks him up from school, the shorter, brown-haired woman she is seen talking with briefly is the mother of the real Josh Waitzkin.
The real Bruce Pandolfini is very different from the character Ben Kingsley plays. Pandolfini is actually a Brooklynite with a mustache, glasses, and curly brown hair, and he is reported to have a very friendly, soft-spoken demeanor. In fact, Pandolfini can be seen in a cameo role in the movie; he is a kibitzer when Ben Kingsley goes to see Josh in Washington Square; thus, Pandolfini tells "Pandolfinni" that Josh is a "young Fischer." Josh Waitzkin is quick to point out that the portrayal in the film is fiction, and should not be confused with reality.
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The chess piece that Josh finds in the park at the beginning of the movie appears to be a replica of a knight from the Isle of Lewis chess men, the earliest chess pieces found in Europe, dating back to the 12th century. Harry and Ron are seen playing with similar pieces in Harry Potter & the Sorcerer's Stone.
Joe Mantegna's character, Fred Waitzkin, wrote the book on which the film is based.
The film cast includes one Oscar winner: Ben Kingsley; and five Oscar nominees: Laurence Fishburne, Joan Allen, William H. Macy, David Paymer and Laura Linney.
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In their final match, Jonathan Poe who is playing the white pieces, is wearing a white shirt. Josh, playing the black pieces, is wearing a dark shirt.
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Director Steven Zaillian also wrote Schindler's List (1993), which also featured Ben Kingsley.
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Joan Allen appeared in the first Hannibal Lecter film, Manhunter (1986). Anthony Heald appeared in The Silence of the Lambs (1991) and Red Dragon (2002). Laurence Fishburne appears on the television series 'Hannibal (2013)(TV)'.
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Joe Mantegna and Joan Allen play husband and wife in this movie. They also played husband and wife in The Twilight Zone: Joy Ride/Shelter Skelter/Private Channel (1987).
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The trivia item below may give away important plot points.

The final game, specifically the endgame position, was composed for the movie by Josh Waitzkin and Bruce Pandolfini (the real-life game ended in a draw, and no one saved the score sheets). In the October 1995 issue of Chess Life, Grandmaster Larry Evans states that the position is actually unsound; Jonathan could have actually won the game.

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