7.4/10
27,858
90 user 41 critic

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:

Steven Zaillian

Writers:

Fred Waitzkin (book), Steven Zaillian (screenplay)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 5 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Documentary | Biography | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

'Bobby Fischer Against the World' is a documentary feature exploring the tragic and bizarre life of the late chess master Bobby Fischer. The drama of Bobby Fischer's career was undeniable, ... See full summary »

Director: Liz Garbus
Stars: Bobby Fischer, David Edmonds, Anthony Saidy
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A tenacious lawyer takes on a case involving a major company responsible for causing several people to be diagnosed with leukemia due to the town's water supply being contaminated, at the risk of bankrupting his firm and career.

Director: Steven Zaillian
Stars: John Travolta, Robert Duvall, Kathleen Quinlan
Biography | Drama | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

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.

Director: Edward Zwick
Stars: Tobey Maguire, Liev Schreiber, Peter Sarsgaard
Drama | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

An employee of a corporation with a lucrative secret process is tempted to betray it. But there's more to it than that.

Director: David Mamet
Stars: Steve Martin, Ben Gazzara, Campbell Scott
Magnus (2016)
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Magnus Carlsen, Norwegian chess prodigy, becomes a grandmaster at age 13 and world champion in 2013.

Director: Benjamin Ree
Stars: Magnus Carlsen, Garry Kasparov, Viswanathan Anand
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

Based on the Robert Penn Warren novel. The life of populist Southerner Willie Stark, a political creature loosely based on Governor Huey Long of Louisiana.

Director: Steven Zaillian
Stars: Sean Penn, Jude Law, Kate Winslet
Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A frustrated composer finds fulfillment as a high school music teacher.

Director: Stephen Herek
Stars: Richard Dreyfuss, Glenne Headly, Jay Thomas
Shine (1996)
Biography | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Pianist David Helfgott, driven by his father and teachers, has a breakdown. Years later he returns to the piano, to popular if not critical acclaim.

Director: Scott Hicks
Stars: Geoffrey Rush, Armin Mueller-Stahl, Justin Braine
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Garry Kasparov is arguably the greatest chess player who has ever lived. In 1997 he played a chess match against IBM's computer Deep Blue. Kasparov lost the match. This film shows the match... See full summary »

Director: Vikram Jayanti
Stars: Marc Ghannoum, Joel Benjamin, Michael Greengard
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A single mother's life is thrown into turmoil after her struggling, rarely seen younger brother returns to town.

Director: Kenneth Lonergan
Stars: Laura Linney, Matthew Broderick, Amy Ryan
Drama | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A boy and his brother don't get along well. In order to let their ill mother rest, they're separated and sent each one with their relatives.

Director: Lasse Hallström
Stars: Anton Glanzelius, Tomas von Brömssen, Anki Lidén
Jack the Bear (1993)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Danny DeVito is John Leary, a professional clown, whose wife's death in a car accident has left him to care for his two young boys.

Director: Marshall Herskovitz
Stars: Danny DeVito, Gary Sinise, Robert J. Steinmiller Jr.
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Max Pomeranc ... Josh Waitzkin
Joe Mantegna ... Fred Waitzkin
Joan Allen ... Bonnie Waitzkin
Ben Kingsley ... Bruce Pandolfini
Laurence Fishburne ... Vinnie
Michael Nirenberg Michael Nirenberg ... Jonathan Poe
Robert Stephens ... Poe's Teacher
David Paymer ... Kalev
Hal Scardino ... Morgan
Vasek Simek Vasek Simek ... Russian Park Player
William H. Macy ... Tunafish Father
Dan Hedaya ... Tournament Director
Laura Linney ... School Teacher
Anthony Heald ... Fighting Parent
Steven Randazzo Steven Randazzo ... Man of Many Signals
Edit

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:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

11 August 1993 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Innocent Moves See more »

Filming Locations:

New York City, New York, USA See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$12,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$1,121,354, 15 August 1993

Gross USA:

$7,266,383

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$7,266,383
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Mirage Enterprises See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (Ontario)

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

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 the actors playing them) are visible in the background. See more »

Goofs

The filled-out certificate that Bruce gives to Josh is explicitly dated 1993 (when Josh would have been 16 or 17). 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 ...
See more »

Alternate Versions

The original film ends with a title card stating that Josh still plays chess
  • along with several other activities, indicating that he has a well-rounded life. When the film was broadcast on NBC in 1996, this title card was updated: it now stated that Josh was working to become a grandmaster, and that he now considered Jack Kerouac, not Bobby Fischer, to be his primary influence.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Boy Meets World: Boys II Mensa (1993) See more »

Soundtracks

Heart and Soul
Written by Hoagy Carmichael, Frank Loesser
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Brilliant intelligently sensitive drama
6 August 2004 | by BadWebDiverSee all my reviews

Let me start by saying I am not a person who goes for sentimental, "heart on your sleeve" type big dramas that seem to be the idol of most professional critics. In fact, to put it bluntly I totally loathe them. (I prefer movies that at least try to have a cohesive plot line with a reasonably accessible story idea and some decent tight pacing; ie: something that's both informative and fun. This is my interpretation of the classic idea of "a good story, well told".)

With that in mind, I wish to state that this movie (film, whatever) really does work, at all levels. It's a good intelligent story (apparently based on fact} about a very bright, very young kid who is discovered to be naturally good at chess and enters the serious national tournaments. During which time, there are raised issues of the concept of the winning ethos; and keeping (or losing) your humanity in the process.

This cast is magnificent here. The central leads are played by Joe Mantegna and Max Pomerance as the father and son respectively. Both give very well-balanced performances. Sensitive, without being sappy. Max in particular is very good, especially in the dramatic climax of the film; which he handles with total dignity. It could have been so over the top and patronizing in lesser hands, but this time it isn't.

They are ably supported by Laurence Fishburne and Ben Kingsley as two different types of coaches, from "opposite side of the tracks" (sorry for that old cliché). It may seem formulaic, but in this case the dramatic contrasts works surprisingly well, and both come over as intelligent representatives of their particular points of view. And there are also great character moments by David Paymer {QUIZ SHOW, MR Saturday NIGHT, etc} and Hal Scardino {THE Indian IN THE CUPBOARD} as well.

Over all, I would highly commend this film as the type of story that manages to tread the fine line between intelligent ideas and an entertaining story. I recommend it to everyone. Give it half a chance and it can work for you. It really is a great example of intelligently entertaining!


46 of 50 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 90 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page



Recently Viewed