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Searching for Bobby Fischer (1993)

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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

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. 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 ...
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Connections

Referenced in A Slight Case of Murder (1999) See more »

Soundtracks

Enough Is Enough
Written by Anthony Criss, Kier Gist, Vincent Brown, A. Bahr, J Ray
Performed by Rottin Razkals
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Zaillian's genius in "Searching for Bobby Fischer"
28 February 2004 | by cheerskepSee all my reviews

In SEARCHING FOR BOBBY FISCHER, Steven Zaillian's is the most complete and near-flawless film-work of the 1990s. I can't say merely "director's work" because he also wrote the screenplay. And (I have to presume) he chose Conrad Hall as d.p., James Horner for the music, Wayne Wahrman as film-editor, and he worked with a lighting director, sound director, set director and more -- each of whom did a job worthy of the highest praise. And the cast, the supernal cast -- many of whom have had larger and more celebrated roles, but none of whom has ever nailed a role more satisfyingly -- Kingsley, Mantegna, Allen, Fishburne -- even the smaller and cameo bits are effectively faultless -- by Linney, Stephens, Shalhoub, Pendleton. And of course, Pomeranc's work is a kind of miracle. Every part of it evokes from me applause for Zaillian's imagination, sensibility, knowledgeability, intelligence, judgment.

I confess I post this comment because none of the other comments I've seen on SEARCHING seems to me to realize how much Zaillian must have contributed to making this -- and I think it deserves this adjective -- GREAT movie. (I further confess I didn't first watch the movie until some three years after its debut because of its title. I was damned if I wanted to spend two hours in the presence of someone as nasty-seeming as Fischer. But the title of course was Fred Waitzkin's, the author of the source book. Fred, you cost me a few years -- but Steven Zaillian has made up for it many times over.)


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