7.4/10
27,445
87 user 40 critic

Searching for Bobby Fischer (1993)

A prepubescent chess prodigy refuses to harden himself in order to become a champion like the famous but unlikable Bobby Fischer.

Director:

Steven Zaillian

Writers:

Fred Waitzkin (book), Steven Zaillian (screenplay)

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Prime Video

ON DISC
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 5 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Documentary | Biography | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

'Bobby Fischer Against the World' is a documentary feature exploring the tragic and bizarre life of the late chess master Bobby Fischer. The drama of Bobby Fischer's career was undeniable, ... See full summary »

Director: Liz Garbus
Stars: Bobby Fischer, David Edmonds, Anthony Saidy
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A tenacious lawyer takes on a case involving a major company responsible for causing several people to be diagnosed with leukemia due to the town's water supply being contaminated, at the risk of bankrupting his firm and career.

Director: Steven Zaillian
Stars: John Travolta, Robert Duvall, Kathleen Quinlan
Magnus (2016)
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Magnus Carlsen, Norwegian chess prodigy, becomes a grandmaster at age 13 and world champion in 2013.

Director: Benjamin Ree
Stars: Magnus Carlsen, Garry Kasparov, Viswanathan Anand
Biography | Drama | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

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
Stars: Tobey Maguire, Liev Schreiber, Peter Sarsgaard
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A single mother's life is thrown into turmoil after her struggling, rarely seen younger brother returns to town.

Director: Kenneth Lonergan
Stars: Laura Linney, Matthew Broderick, Amy Ryan
Shine (1996)
Biography | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Pianist David Helfgott, driven by his father and teachers, has a breakdown. Years later he returns to the piano, to popular if not critical acclaim.

Director: Scott Hicks
Stars: Geoffrey Rush, Armin Mueller-Stahl, Justin Braine
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

Based on the Robert Penn Warren novel. The life of populist Southerner Willie Stark, a political creature loosely based on Governor Huey Long of Louisiana.

Director: Steven Zaillian
Stars: Sean Penn, Jude Law, Kate Winslet
Drama | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

An employee of a corporation with a lucrative secret process is tempted to betray it. But there's more to it than that.

Director: David Mamet
Stars: Steve Martin, Ben Gazzara, Campbell Scott
Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A frustrated composer finds fulfillment as a high school music teacher.

Director: Stephen Herek
Stars: Richard Dreyfuss, Glenne Headly, Jay Thomas
Quiz Show (1994)
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A young lawyer, Richard Goodwin, investigates a potentially fixed game show. Charles Van Doren, a big time show winner, is under Goodwin's investigation.

Director: Robert Redford
Stars: Ralph Fiennes, John Turturro, Rob Morrow
Awakenings (1990)
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

The victims of an encephalitis epidemic many years ago have been catatonic ever since, but now a new drug offers the prospect of reviving them.

Director: Penny Marshall
Stars: Robert De Niro, Robin Williams, Julie Kavner
Drama | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A boy and his brother don't get along well. In order to let their ill mother rest, they're separated and sent each one with their relatives.

Director: Lasse Hallström
Stars: Anton Glanzelius, Tomas von Brömssen, Anki Lidén
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Max Pomeranc ... Josh Waitzkin
Joe Mantegna ... Fred Waitzkin
Joan Allen ... Bonnie Waitzkin
Ben Kingsley ... Bruce Pandolfini
Laurence Fishburne ... Vinnie
Michael Nirenberg Michael Nirenberg ... Jonathan Poe
Robert Stephens ... Poe's Teacher
David Paymer ... Kalev
Hal Scardino ... Morgan
Vasek Simek Vasek Simek ... Russian Park Player
William H. Macy ... Tunafish Father
Dan Hedaya ... Tournament Director
Laura Linney ... School Teacher
Anthony Heald ... Fighting Parent
Steven Randazzo Steven Randazzo ... Man of Many Signals
Edit

Storyline

Josh Waitzkin is just a typical American boy interested in baseball when one day he challenges his father at chess and wins. Showing unusual precocity at the outdoor matches at Washington Square in New York City, he quickly makes friends with a hustler named Vinnie who teaches him speed chess. Josh's parents hire a renowned chess coach, Bruce, who teaches Josh the usefulness of measured planning. Along the way Josh becomes tired of Bruce's system and chess in general and purposely throws a match, leaving the prospects of winning a national championship in serious jeopardy. Written by Rick Gregory <rag.apa@email.apa.org>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Every journey begins with a single move.

Genres:

Biography | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for thematic elements | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

11 August 1993 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Innocent Moves See more »

Filming Locations:

New York City, New York, USA See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$12,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$1,121,354, 15 August 1993

Gross USA:

$7,266,383

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$7,266,383
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Mirage Enterprises See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (Ontario)

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Laurence Fishburne's role was originally offered to Ice-T. See more »

Goofs

When Josh and Fred Waitzkin are playing chess, Fred picks up a bishop and puts down a rook. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Josh Waitzkin: [about Bobby Fischer] In the days before the event, the whole world wondered if he would show up. Plane after plane waited on the runway, while he napped, took walks, and ate sandwiches. Henry Kissinger called and asked him to go for his country's honor. Soon after arriving, he offended the Icelanders by calling their country inadequate because it had no bowling alleys. He complained about the TV cameras, about the lighting, about the table and chairs, and the contrast of the ...
See more »

Alternate Versions

The original film ends with a title card stating that Josh still plays chess
  • along with several other activities, indicating that he has a well-rounded life. When the film was broadcast on NBC in 1996, this title card was updated: it now stated that Josh was working to become a grandmaster, and that he now considered Jack Kerouac, not Bobby Fischer, to be his primary influence.
See more »


Soundtracks

Enough Is Enough
Written by Anthony Criss, Kier Gist, Vincent Brown, A. Bahr, J Ray
Performed by Rottin Razkals
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
A life-changer
5 November 2001 | by PeteBDawgSee all my reviews

_Searching for Bobby Fischer_ is possessive of a certain wonderful insight; it is a film that offers no heart-warming premeses and still manages to ease the soul.

The characters dwell in an utterly contemporary world; you will find no neighbors hauling in bags of money, chiming churchbells, perfect families, or million-dollar smiles anywhere in the film. At the same time, this world of this film exhibits a resilience against its crueler realities that most of the art of the twentieth century eschewed in favor of probing the darkness of existence. Yes, the main characters are prosperous, but the spectre of Fischer hangs over the world as a daunting warning of things to come. The mood of the piece, enhanced by the excellent cinematography, sets the film up to succeed wonderfully, and the actors and text deliver.

One of the things I like the most about this movie, superficially, is that it does not insult the game of chess as it depicts it. The depiction of the chess world is insightful and accurate, from the sharp division between granite-hewn chess scholars and colorful tactical wizards to the truly unequaled awe and gravity accompanying the notion of the Grandmaster. Perhaps these are things that can only truly be appreciated by those who have ventured to this world, but, thankfully, the film integrates these elements seamlessly into a universal story that is original and poignant in its detail and elegance.

Every actor in this film is spectacular, without exception. That is a bold statement, but it is completely justified. At no point do any of the actors miss a step; all the performances are smooth and appear to be utterly effortless. In their featured roles, Ben Kingsley and Lawrence Fishburne put in performances that match in art, craft, and intensity, if not in length, any of their more prominent film roles. Joan Allen is mind-bogglingly wonderful, considering how precise she has to be to fit such a massive character into such a truncated part in the script. This is Joe Mantena's very finest performance, and, of course, this movie contains child acting to match any film ever made. Even the bit parts are acted with intensity, depth, and elegance. A lot of this is easy to miss because, on the surface, the film is so even-handed, but repeated viewings continually bring to attention wonderful nuances of these performances.

Any summary or synopsis will fail to accurately relate the "message" of this film; as in any great work of art, the quickest, most efficient way to word the resolution of the film's ideas and conflicts is to watch the film. This is where _Searching for Bobby Fischer_ really shines. There is no way these characters could have ended up where they are from any other sequence of events than the one that took place; this is a wonderful example of how a plot is woven into a story rather than imposed on it. The flipside of this is that there is extremely little to be found in this film that can be applied universally without reservation, and yet it still manages to be convincing. There is something mysterious about this movie that rises toward the staggering mysteries of life, and repeated viewings are really the only means toward a full understanding of these ideas.

Undoubtedly, this is the best film made in the 1990s based on a true story (if you, like me, discount _Schindler's List_ from such assessments. It hardly seems fair to compare _Schindler's List_ to any other film due to its unique purpose.). If you have not seen it, I highly recommend it. It may just change your life.


42 of 48 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 87 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Free Movies and TV Shows You Can Watch Now

On IMDb TV, you can catch Hollywood hits and popular TV series at no cost. Select any poster below to play the movie, totally free!

Browse free movies and TV series

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