7.5/10
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86 user 38 critic

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
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Near the beginning of the movie, when Josh's mom picks him up from school, the shorter, brown-haired woman she is seen talking with briefly is the mother of the real Josh Waitzkin. 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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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 A Slight Case of Murder (1999) See more »

Soundtracks

Saxophone Concerto
Written by John Debney
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
The thinking man's "Rocky".
3 August 2003 | by gridoonSee all my reviews

Chess is a challenging game that hasn't been given its due in the art of cinema, so it's a pity "Searching for Bobby Fischer", one of the few "chess movies" out there, offers an unconvincing, Hollywoodized treatment of the subject. This is one of those completely conventional, crowd-pleasing entertainments that make everything look too easy (it almost argues that one doesn't need to practice or study to become really good at something, as long as he has a natural gift for it; I'm sure the real Josh Waitzkin would dismiss all that as pure baloney), and rely on a predictable "Rocky"-type final showdown (in this case, against a mean-spirited little chess whiz). Nonetheless, with such a splendid cast (including an excellent performance by newcomer Max Pomeranc), it would be impossible for this film not to have its interesting and affecting moments. (**1/2)


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