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110 user 145 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
4,183 ( 918)
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

The nickname of Bobby Fischer was "The Bad Boy of Chess". See more »

Goofs

Fischer is shown resigning the first game immediately after Spassky traps his bishop. In fact, he played on for another 26 moves before giving up. 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

Along Came Betty
Written by Benny Golson
Performed by Art Blakey and The Jazz Messengers
Courtesy of Concord Music Group, Inc.
By Arrangement with Time Step Music
See more »

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User Reviews

 
brilliant but disturbed
15 February 2016 | by blanche-2See all my reviews

Well, the reviewer before me absolutely trashed this film for its dramatic license, so now I don't know what to say.

This is the highly fictionalized story of Bobby Fischer, a chess fanatic and genius who rose to the very top of his field. He was part of a Russia vs. U.S. superiority struggle when he played Boris Spassky (Liev Schreiber), the world champion back then, in the '70s. It's unlikely he understood that; he didn't have a broad or worldly focus. The chess was all he cared about, that and money.

Biopics sometimes take a lot of liberties. Characters are made up, time is shortened, incidents are moved around, elements are put in for dramatic emphasis. That's why you can't take a biographical film as factual. It's better if you become interested in the person and read about him, as I did about Fischer, though I remember him.

Toby Maguire does a fantastic job as Fischer. Yes, Fischer was tall and Maguire is short. Frankly I wasn't made aware of Maguire's height while watching the film.

I believe the filmmakers were trying to give us a psychological story -- a complete genius with an IQ of 181 but one who also had mental problems. Lots of so-called geniuses are strange, I suppose, but Fischer was a real study in opposites.

He often made unreasonable, last-minute demands, made anti-Semite remarks, and accused the Russians of colluding against him. In the second game of his world championship against Spassky, he didn't show up. Nevertheless, his achievements in chess were remarkable, and many consider him the greatest chess player who ever lived.

His later life was a mess; he became reclusive; his passport was revoked and finally, Iceland took him in. By then he was off the wall completely.

Edward Zwick directed this film with a lot of zip and made it an intense and absorbing experience, as did the actors.

Look at this as the psychological story of a phenomenal talent whose emotional/mental problems interfered with his life and career. Don't take it as the detailed life of Bobby Fischer, his relationship with his mother, and who taught him what. The most interesting thing about him was his incredible talent.


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