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111 user 148 critic

Pawn Sacrifice (2014)

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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 »
Reviews
Popularity
4,756 ( 838)
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:

View content advisory »
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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 »

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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 »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

It was while living in the Philippines during the opening days of the new millennium that Bobby Fischer established himself as a world-class crank. After the 9/11 attacks on the United States of America, he praised the attacks and spewed forth anti-Semitic drivel on radio broadcasts. The Soviet hater of the Cold War era had become a rabid America hater and Jew-basher at the start of the global war on terror. His anti-Semitism became so extreme, he renamed himself "Robert James" and insisted he wasn't Jewish. See more »

Goofs

The lawyer Marshall says in a scene with the priest that "for him (Fisher) Vietnam and the Beatles never happened" This is said in Jan 1965. US troops did not start fighting in Vietnam until the Battle of Ia Drang in November 1965 so calling it "Vietnam" which was a general term later used for the war in the late 60's to today would not have had much meaning since it was not a big issue yet and the US would not even start military bombing until Feb 1965. See more »

Quotes

Boris Spassky: Bravo.
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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 »

Connections

References 60 Minutes (1968) See more »

Soundtracks

Walk Don't Run
Written by John H. Smith Jr.
Performed by The Ventures
Used by permission of Peermusic, Ltd o/b/o itself and Mesa Verde Music and On Board Music
Courtesy of Capitol Records, LLC,
under license from Universal Music Enterprises
See more »

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User Reviews

 
exhilarating! -- an extraordinary achievement
9 December 2015 | by A_Different_DrummerSee all my reviews

Your humble reviewer was not present at the script meetings, but you cannot help but conclude that writer Steven Knight set out to do the near-impossible -- with a minimalist presentation, no CGI or special effects, not even slo-mo, make a chess movie that packed as much punch for the viewer as Ali-Foreman, or any other sports event you might name.

This wonderful film is like the bumblebee. On paper it should not fly. In real life, it soars.

This film works and works atreat. Maybe not the greatest biopic ever but darn close.

It helps that the topic is a man who even those of us who "remember the era" barely knew or understood.

Maguire gives the performance of his life. If you use a stopwatch you will be astonished at how much of his performance is merely facial expressions in close up. And it works.

The rest of the cast is solid as a rock. Schreiber leaves Ray Donovan so far behind you would think this is a different actor. Sarsgaard, one of the most empathetic actors in the game, is the glue that keeps the film together.

Mesmerizing from beginning to end. Exceeds expectations.

And here is a tip.

According to media legend, after the Spassky match, Fischer did a 7 minute comedy bit on Bob Hope where he not only showed perfect timing but more importantly showed none of the eccentricities on which this script was based. Watching this clip just after seeing this film (from one of the many "tube" sites - Google it) is an unexpected bonus for being a child of the digital age.


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