7.0/10
35,015
111 user 148 critic

Pawn Sacrifice (2014)

Trailer
2:32 | Trailer

Watch Now

From $3.99 on Prime Video

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 »

Videos

Photos

Edit

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
Edit

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:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official Site | See more »

Country:

USA | Canada

Language:

English | Russian

Release Date:

25 September 2015 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

La jugada maestra See more »

Filming Locations:

Montréal, Québec, Canada See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$19,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$202,053, 20 September 2015, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$2,436,062, 13 December 2015
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color | Color (archive footage)| Black and White (archive footage)| Black and White

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

In 1968, Bobby Fischer began an 18-month-long sabbatical from the game, which included sitting out the '69 American Championship tournament as he was dissatisfied with the prize money and the tourney format. Failing to compete should have disqualified him from the 1969-72 Championship cycle, but he was able to compete for the world title when an American Grand Master surrendered his own spot for Fischer. See more »

Goofs

On the first chess board young Bobby Fischer is analyzing, he chooses to make a "pawn sacrifice", but there is a hanging rook on the back rank. The move makes no sense. 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...
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Connections

References Bedtime for Bonzo (1951) See more »

Soundtracks

The ABC Wide World of Sports Theme
Written by Irving Robbin
Published by Script Music
Courtesy of Score Productions, Inc.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Worth seeing but a bit disappointing
30 April 2016 | by DeeNine-2See all my reviews

This is a nice vehicle for Tobey Maguire who does a good job of portraying a paranoid schizophrenic, but that person is not Robert James Fischer. They got Maguire's hair style right but otherwise any resemblance between the tall, lanky, expansive Bobby Fischer and Maguire is slight. He probably didn't see enough footage of Fischer at that age. He didn't use any of Fischer's mannerisms that I noticed and of course Fischer was several inches taller. Liev Schreiber who played Spassky actually looks a bit like Spassky but is bigger and more robust. So we have in the movie Fischer vs. Spassky at the chess board but Spassky bigger than Fischer! As for games mentioned in some detail I had to go back to the first and sixth games of the match to recall what happened and to compare my perception with that of the commentary in the movie. The sixth game was a brilliant game as almost everybody agrees, but contrary to some popular opinion Fischer did not blunder away his bishop in game one. He and Spassky were in a clearly drawn bishop and pawn ending. He wanted more, but there was nothing he could do, so what he did was sacrifice his bishop for two pawns, not as some people think in an attempt to win the game but to show his confidence and to shake Spassky up a bit. Fischer thought the resulting position after many moves would be a draw. He was wrong but this is an example of Fischer psychology: I will make you play a hundred moves if necessary just to show you how strong I am. You will weaken not me.

Some reviewers pointed out some chessic type errors but there weren't that many and they were minor. Here's one they got right that may surprise some people. Notice that Fischer used the descriptive notation ("P-K4") while most other grandmasters even back in 1972 used algebraic notation ("e4"). And while there were chess clock on analyst boards where they serve no purpose at least the boards were set up right with the white square at the player's right hand, avoiding a common error in movies.

Probably the biggest error had nothing to do with chess but with the fact that Fischer's mental illness at the time of the Spassky match had not developed as much as the movie suggests. His personality was more rounded than displayed. He actually had a charming side. People liked him in spite his bad manners and selfishness. There's a YouTube video of him on TV with Bob Hope filmed sometime shortly after the match with Spassky that shows a very different Fischer than the one Maguire portrayed.

The bit with the girl (sarcastically she says to Fischer: "it was good for me too" as he studies a chess game in bed) was apparently director Edward Zwick's take on the nagging question of Fischer's sexuality, meaning yes he was heterosexual, but chess was just more interesting.

The real disappointment for me was that they did not make clear the really great triumphant of Fischer's preceding the championship match. He destroyed three of the top grandmasters en route to the title match, at one point winning 20 games in a row. Amazing. The greatest streak in grandmaster history. So he was a clear favorite although Spassky was the World Champion. That's why he wanted so much to win the first game and confirm immediately that he was clearly superior.

I was also disappointed that Fischer's life after winning the championship was not explored. I had hoped for a cinematic take on what happened to "The Wandering King" (the title of a book about his life by Hans Bohm and Kees Jongkind). Perhaps that material would be better presented in a documentary than in a popular flick.

Bottom line: worth seeing but not as good as I had hoped.

--Dennis Littrell, author of "The World Is Not as We Think It Is"


5 of 7 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 111 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Popular Action and Adventure Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular action and adventure titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed