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Queen of Katwe (2016)

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A Ugandan girl sees her world rapidly change after being introduced to the game of chess.



(screenplay by), (based on the ESPN Magazine article and book by)
4,600 ( 42)
2 wins & 18 nominations. See more awards »


Cast overview, first billed only:
Mugabi Brian
Taryn Kyaze ...
Night (as Taryn "Kay" Kyaze)
Ivan Jacobo ...
Young Richard
Nicolas Levesque ...
Older Richard
Ronald Ssemaganda ...
Ethan Nazario Lubega ...
Nikita Waligwa ...
Edgar Kanyike ...
Esther Tebandeke ...
Sara Katende
Hope Katende
Philip Luswata ...
Minister Aloysius Kyazze
Peter Odeke ...
Enoch Barumba


A Ugandan girl sees her world rapidly change after being introduced to the game of chess.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


One girl's triumphant path to becoming a chess champion.


Biography | Drama | Sport

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for thematic elements, an accident scene and some suggestive material | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:



Release Date:

30 September 2016 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Reina de Katwe  »

Filming Locations:



Box Office


$15,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$304,933, 25 September 2016, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$8,805,918, 23 December 2016

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$10,367,161, 5 June 2017
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
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Did You Know?


Director Mira Nair decided to adapt "Queen of Katwe" into a film after making a documentary about the life of the man who trained Phiona Mutesi, Robert Katende. See more »


Robert Katende: [Robert speaking to Phiona] Sometimes the place you are use to... is not the place where you belong
See more »


Featured in Lorraine: Episode dated 21 October 2016 (2016) See more »


Russian Federation - The Patriotic Song
Written by Amaury du Closel
Courtesy of Killer Tracks
See more »

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User Reviews

A weak script and average acting bring this true story down
2 July 2017 | by See all my reviews

It's been a long time since I've seen such potent material be hampered so badly by average acting and an equally average script and while Mira Nair's Queen of Katwe still gets extra marks for being such a nice and inspiring true story, this Disney effort feels like a big missed opportunity.

Delivering dialogue that's clunky via amateurish acting, scenes that are shoddily edited and placed together and a general feel as though this tale is building up to a moment that never even comes, Katwe squanders the tale of young Ugandan chess master Phiona Mutesi in an overlong film that wants to tug at our heart strings but can't do so due to its execution.

Nair is a director with some decent runs on the board with films like The Namesake and Vanity Fair and while Katwe includes notable cast members like Oscar winner Lupita Nyong'o and the ever good David Oyelowo, the two performers can't elevate the films supporting cast, made up largely of unknowns and by the end of proceedings it feels as though only Oyelowo walks away with the ability to say he could hold his head up high.

It's always harsh to pick on a first time performer as a point of blame but newcomer Madina Nalwanga struggles to bring the difficult role of Mutesi to life and her often emotionally void presence that is bereft of any engaging elements mixed with a disappointing collection of key scenes delivered without an ounce of conviction really kill the chances Nair and her team had of bringing the underdog story of the impoverished and uneducated Mutesi to life, even though the story itself and surrounds of the slums of Uganda hold much life that could've come bursting onto the big screen.

Final say –

An inspiring true story that's unfortunately told without an ounce of inspiration itself, The Queen of Katwe may appeal greatly to those that count chess as a favourite past time and some die-hard Disney fans but this Disney sports film is easily one of the mouse house's most disappointing feel good sport themed movies in sometime and goes to show that casting and script work makes or breaks movies no matter the foundation.

2 smelly chess opponents out of 5

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