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

Writers:

Steven Knight (screenplay), Stephen J. Rivele (story) | 2 more credits »
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Tobey Maguire ... Bobby Fischer
Liev Schreiber ... Boris Spassky
Michael Stuhlbarg ... Paul Marshall
Peter Sarsgaard ... Father Bill Lombardy
Edward Zinoviev Edward Zinoviev ... Efim Geller
Alexandre Gorchkov Alexandre Gorchkov ... Iivo Nei
Lily Rabe ... Joan Fischer
Robin Weigert ... Regina Fischer
Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick ... Teenage Bobby Fischer
Aiden Lovekamp ... Young Bobby Fischer
Sophie Nélisse ... Young Joan Fischer
Evelyne Brochu ... Donna
Conrad Pla ... Carmine Nigro
Vitali Makarov ... Ivanovich
Brett Watson Brett Watson ... Lothar Schmid
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Storyline

During the height of the Cold War, American chess prodigy Bobby Fischer finds himself caught between two superpowers when he challenges the Soviet Empire. Written by Bleecker Street

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

In 1972, Bobby Fischer faced the Soviet Union in the greatest chess match ever played. On the board he fought the Cold War. In his mind he fought his madness.


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for brief strong language, some sexual content and historical smoking | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?

Trivia

Bobby Fischer was awarded the title of Chess Grandmaster in 1958. See more »

Goofs

Spassky asks to have his chair X-rayed. That actually happened, but in the 1978 World Championship between Karpov and Korchnoi. That tournament also involved examining the lighting system and discovering, like in the movie, two dead flies. See more »

Quotes

Paul Marshall: [entering the room during another one of Bobby's rants] What are we talking about?
Father Bill Lombardy: The Jews.
Paul Marshall: Huh...
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Crazy Credits

In the closing credits, the name of the character Cyril (played by Shawn Campbell) is misspelled "Cryil." See more »


Soundtracks

White Rabbit
Written by Grace Slick
Performed by Jefferson Airplane
Courtesy of RCA Records
By Arrangement with Sony Music Licensing Irving Music, Inc. on behalf of Copperpenny Music
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User Reviews

 
Is it Paranoia if they are after you?
17 September 2015 | by ferguson-6See all my reviews

Greetings again from the darkness. Being such a fan of the expert documentary film BOBBY FISCHER AGAINST THE WORLD (2011), I found it a bit challenging to clear my head and accept a dramatized approach to the story. This was after all, one of the most fascinating reluctant public figure during one of the most energizing signature events of the Cold War between Russia and the United States … it was even described as World War III on a chess board.

Director Edward Zwick (Glory, Blood Diamond) and writer Steven Knight (Locke, "Peaky Blinders") wisely focus the story on the infamous World Chess Championship match in 1972 between American Bobby Fischer and Russian Boris Spassky. This was 8 years prior to the "Miracle on Ice" when the USA Olympic hockey team upset the powerhouse Russian hockey team, but this chess match caused every bit as much media frenzy and national pride as that day in Lake Placid. This international attention is as important to the story as the psychological state of Bobby Fischer and his genius-level chess skill. And it's the media and citizenry reactions that provide the contemporary comparison to what we see too often these days thanks to social media … icons are born, chewed up, and forgotten.

Tobey Maguire plays Fischer, and despite lacking the height and physical presence of the real chess champion, he expertly conveys the paranoia, fear, and arrogance that burdened the man and created even more suspense for those of us keeping a watchful eye at the time. Liev Schreiber ("Ray Donovan") plays Boris Spassky, and even speaks his lines in Russian. Schreiber captures the iciness for which the Russians were known, but also interjects subtle personality and insight in a story where his adversary is constantly over-the-top. Chess strategy isn't so much the story here, as are these two men from different worlds forced together on a stage in Iceland – with the full attention of the world.

Supporting work is varied, but exceptionally strong. Robin Weigert plays Bobby's mother, and we get glimpses of why he later suffered from Mommy issues – in no small part to her intimate gatherings of Communist friends. Lily Rabe is touching as Bobby's sister and possibly the only person who ever had his best interest at heart. However, the real intrigue comes in the form of Peter Sarsgaard as Father Bill Lombardy, and Michael Stuhlbarg as Paul Marshall. Lombardy was Fischer's coach and confidant, and seemed to be the only one who grasped the severity of Bobby's mental state. Marshall, a well known attorney in the Music industry, is a shady fellow who seems connected to the government, and is really the driving force behind getting Fischer to play Spassky. More background and the motivation for these two gentlemen would have been welcome and filled a gap.

The story of the tortured genius always makes entertaining fodder – think Van Gogh, Mozart, and John Nash. Bobby Fischer certainly fits that description, but his story is frustrating because we just don't understand the mental issues that caused him to evolve from teenage chess prodigy to World Champion to literal anti-social outcast spewing hateful words (watch the end credit film clips). This film is a worthy primer for the man and the times, and a reminder that we are always searching for the next hero … the next person to hoist up on the pedestal, only to be replaced soon after with another, and then another. Perhaps the film says as much as about us as a people, as it does about Bobby Fischer as a person.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Russian

Release Date:

25 September 2015 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Pawn Sacrifice See more »

Filming Locations:

Montréal, Québec, Canada See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$19,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$202,053, 20 September 2015

Gross USA:

$2,436,633

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$5,578,519
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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