7.5/10
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86 user 38 critic

Searching for Bobby Fischer (1993)

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ON DISC
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 »

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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
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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:

View content advisory »
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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 »

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Box Office

Budget:

$12,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$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 »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Laurence Fishburne's role was originally offered to Ice-T. See more »

Goofs

There are numerous mismatched shots of games in the film. In the final game, Josh moves his queen early in the game, yet later it can be seen on its starting square. In the first game he plays in the park against the old man who beat Tal, as he makes his first move there are already several pieces from both sides deployed on the board. In the first game against his dad, the father picks up a bishop in one shot and a second later sets down a rook to mate Josh. 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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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.
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Connections

Referenced in Doc: Searching for Bonnie Fisher (2004) 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 markoSee 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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