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Pawn Sacrifice (2014)

PG-13  |   |  Biography, Drama  |  25 September 2015 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 2,758 users   Metascore: 65/100
Reviews: 38 user | 81 critic | 29 from Metacritic.com

Set during the Cold War, American chess prodigy Bobby Fischer finds himself caught between two superpowers and his own struggles as he challenges the Soviet Empire.



(screenplay), (story), 2 more credits »
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Credited cast:
Father Bill Lombardy
Paul Marshall
KGB Agent
Uncle Paul
Carmine Nigro
Henry Kissinger (voice)


In a gripping true story set during the height of the Cold War, American chess prodigy Bobby Fischer (Tobey Maguire) finds himself caught between two superpowers when he challenges the Soviet Empire. Also starring Liev Schreiber and Peter Sarsgaard, PAWN SACRIFICE chronicles Fischer's terrifying struggles with genius and madness, and the rise and fall of a kid from Brooklyn who captured the imagination of the world. Written by Bleecker Street

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


In 1972, Bobby Fischer faced the Soviet Union in the greatest chess match ever played. On the board he fought the Cold War. In his mind he fought his madness.


Biography | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for brief strong language, some sexual content and historical smoking | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

25 September 2015 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Bauernopfer - Spiel der Könige  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$202,053 (USA) (18 September 2015)


$2,428,077 (USA) (20 November 2015)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Bobby was a fan of European football as well as chess, saying on several occasions that he followed Manchester United and dreamed of watching them live. See more »


When Fischer first meets Boris Spassky in Santa Monica in 1966 Boris is introduced as the World Champion. Boris was not yet the World Champion. Tigran Petrosian was the World Chess Champion at that time. See more »


Father Bill Lombardy: [after Bobby has demonstrated how Bill could have won his last chess match] Shit!
Bobby Fischer: I didn't know a priest could use bad language. I like this guy!
See more »


It Ain't No Fun To Me
Written and Performed by Al Green
Courtesy of Hi Records
By Arrangement with Fat Possum Records Irving Music, Inc. on behalf of Al Green Music, Inc. and JEC Publishing
See more »

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User Reviews

Zwick made a movie about chess, feel like an exciting sports flick!
2 October 2015 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

'PAWN SACRIFICE': Four Stars (Out of Five)

Biographical drama flick; examining American chess champion Bobby Fischer's fight with mental illness, as he also attempted to win the 1972 World Chess Championship. It stars Tobey Maguire, as Fischer, and it costars Liev Schrieber, Peter Sarsgaard, Michael Stuhlbarg, Lily Rabe and Robin Weigert. The film was directed by Edward Zwick (who also helmed such acclaimed drama flicks as 'GLORY', 'LEGENDS OF THE FALL', 'THE LAST SAMURAI' and 'BLOOD DIAMOND') and it was written by Steven Knight, Stephen J. Rivele and Christopher Wilkinson. I found the film to be extremely interesting, insightful and surprisingly intense.

The story follows Bobby's (Maguire) life story; beginning when he was a child (Aiden Lovekamp), and continuing all the way up to his victory, at the 1972 World Chess Championship. The film first focuses on his relationship with his mother (Weigert), and his depression/anger over the absence of his father. The filmmakers show how Bobby first got into chess, and then became obsessed with it; through his teenage years (Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick). The movie also (obviously) centers on his mental illness (as an adult), and his fight to defeat Boris Spassky (Schrieber), at the Chess Championship.

Maguire gives another amazing performance in this film, and it's a shame he hasn't been working nearly as much lately. The rest of the cast is decent as well, but it's totally Maguire's movie to shine in. Zwick always delivers excellent direction, and it seems as though he had a really good script to work with too. I really enjoy how much the film focuses on mental illness, and how someone who suffered with it, so severely, was still able to accomplish great things. I also like how Zwick made a movie about chess, feel like an exciting sports flick. It's definitely a movie worth seeing.

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