77 user 145 critic

Queen of Katwe (2016)

2:25 | Trailer
A Ugandan girl sees her world rapidly change after being introduced to the game of chess.


Mira Nair


William Wheeler (screenplay by), Tim Crothers (based on the ESPN Magazine article and book by)
2 wins & 20 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Madina Nalwanga ... Phiona Mutesi
David Oyelowo ... Robert Katende
Lupita Nyong'o ... Nakku Harriet
Martin Kabanza ... Mugabi Brian
Taryn Kyaze Taryn Kyaze ... Night (as Taryn "Kay" Kyaze)
Ivan Jacobo Ivan Jacobo ... Young Richard
Nicolas Levesque Nicolas Levesque ... Older Richard
Ronald Ssemaganda Ronald Ssemaganda ... Ivan
Ethan Nazario Lubega Ethan Nazario Lubega ... Benjamin
Nikita Waligwa ... Gloria
Edgar Kanyike Edgar Kanyike ... Joseph
Esther Tebandeke Esther Tebandeke ... Sara Katende
Hope Katende ... Hope Katende
Philip Luswata Philip Luswata ... Minister Aloysius Kyazze
Peter Odeke Peter Odeke ... Enoch Barumba


Living in Katwe, a slum in Kampala, Uganda, is a constant struggle for 10-year-old Phiona, her mother Nakku Harriet and younger members of her family. She and her younger brother help their mother sell maize in the market. She also helps care for her baby brother. Her world changes one day when she meets Robert Katende at a missionary program. Katende coaches soccer and teaches children to play chess at a local center. Curious, Phiona approaches and learns the game. She becomes fascinated with it and soon becomes a top player in the group under Katende's guidance.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


One girl's triumphant path to becoming a chess champion.


Biography | Drama | Sport

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for thematic elements, an accident scene and some suggestive material | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


Nikita Waligwa - she played Phiona's friend Gloria who first taught her the rules of chess - was suffering from a brain tumor so director Mira Nair organized medical treatment in India. But sadly Nikita died in 2020, aged only fifteen. See more »


Every game of chess but one ends with a checkmate, something which hardly ever happens once players have acquired some experience. The one exception is when Phiona resigns a game which is treated as a personal crisis, when in fact it's normal to resign from hopeless positions - especially when playing with the black pieces, for this brings the disadvantage of not making the first move.

Never seen in the movie are any games ending with a draw, which in chess is extremely common. See more »


Robert Katende: [At 143:45 Robert looks across the table at Fiona] I can see your mothers strength in you Fiona... How is she?
[Fiona looks down not wanting to answer]
Robert Katende: If I could see my mother... for just one more time... I would have gave everything in my possession for that.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Just before the credits, there are short scenes of the major characters with the real people they portrayed. A brief synopsis of what the real people have done since the events of the film and are doing at the time of the film's completion is displayed as well. See more »


Malu Anjalan
Written and Performed by Young Cardamom And Hab (as Young Cardamom & HAB)
Courtesy of Kasozi Records
See more »

User Reviews

An inspiring story
21 January 2017 | by Gordon-11See all my reviews

This film tells the story of a teenage girl from a Ugandan ghetto. She is discovered by a chess teacher to be brilliant in chess, and hence she embark on a journey on international chess championships to lift her out of the ghetto.

"Queen of Katwe" tells a story that inspires people across the socioeconomic spectrum. Phiona and her family struggles to make ends meet, and yet she does something that is not conventionally economically active. The hardship of living in a ghetto is well depicted in the film, especially in the eviction scene and the car accident scene. The story is touching, especially when it tells how Phiona is under pressure. I notice how they depict Phiona under pressure during a chess game, and the opponents looking confident by staring fiercely into Phiona. This adds dimension to the story.

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Official Sites:

Official Site





Release Date:

30 September 2016 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Queen of Katwe See more »

Filming Locations:

Kampala, Uganda See more »


Box Office


$15,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$304,933, 25 September 2016

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Atmos



Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »

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