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The Dark Horse (2014)

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A brilliant but troubled New Zealand chess champion finds purpose by teaching underprivileged children about the rules of chess and life.
24 wins & 15 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
... Genesis
... Mana
Kirk Torrance ... Noble
... Sandy
Barry Te Hira ... Mutt
... Jedi
... Ariki
Lyel Timu ... Rangimarie
... Rusty
Calae Hignett-Morgan ... Piripi
... Dave
Te Rua Rehu-Martin ... Murray
Niwa Whatuira ... Michael
Lionel Wellington ... Rip
Wesley Broadfoot ... Nathan


A brilliant but troubled New Zealand chess champion finds purpose by teaching underprivileged children about the rules of chess and life.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


When a king falters, it can take a community to help him stand... See more »


Biography | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language throughout, and drug use | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:

Official Facebook | official site



Release Date:

17 July 2014 (New Zealand)  »

Also Known As:

Genesis  »

Filming Locations:



Box Office


NZD 3,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$8,487, 3 April 2016, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$61,505, 1 May 2016

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$2,170,000, 30 May 2018
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


Cliff Curtis played Uncle Bully in 'Once Were Warriors', a movie which also included the art department/ set hound used in Dark Horse. That dog's name is Rudi. See more »


In a chess lesson, Genesis identifies the square c4 as "the Spanish square" and b5 as "the Italian square." These are the squares to which white moves the king's bishop on the third move of the Giuoco Piano, or Italian Game, and the Ruy Lopez, or Spanish Game, respectively; he's got them backward. See more »


Genesis: [to Ariki] It's gonna be alright.
See more »


Referenced in Talking Dead: Fear the Walking Dead (2015) See more »

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User Reviews

A quiet masterpiece of storytelling
13 January 2015 | by See all my reviews

Behind the beautiful cinematography, engaging and detailed performances, and deftly-paced editing is a master work of a screenplay. A wholly empathetic protagonist, with his wellbeing so delicately balanced, bombarded by obstacles. The stakes continue to rise, the subplots interweave seamlessly, with the whole story building to a perfectly weighted, moving, climax.

Once filmmakers could be just "good" or "interesting" and pull a crowd to the cinema to see their kitchen-sink dramas. The new Golden Age of television has put paid to that. We get great storytelling and interesting ideas pushing boundaries all the time, delivered on-call to our living rooms. if filmmakers are not making blockbusters, or special effect laden sensual experiences, then the stories must be wonderful and totally captivating to get a crowd in the car and front up with the ticket price. There's no place to hide...

This film is a great reminder of why there is still a place at the cinema for a low budget, domestic drama, they just need to be this good!

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