7.0/10
37,165
115 user 149 critic

Pawn Sacrifice (2014)

Trailer
2:32 | Trailer
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 »
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

The story of the life and academic career of the pioneer Indian mathematician, Srinivasa Ramanujan, and his friendship with his mentor, Professor G.H. Hardy.

Director: Matt Brown
Stars: Dev Patel, Jeremy Irons, Malcolm Sinclair
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
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

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

Director: Steven Zaillian
Stars: Joe Mantegna, Ben Kingsley, Max Pomeranc
Brothers I (2009)
Action | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A young man comforts his older brother's wife and children after he goes missing in Afghanistan.

Director: Jim Sheridan
Stars: Jake Gyllenhaal, Natalie Portman, Tobey Maguire
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
The Details (2011)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

When a family of raccoons discover worms living underneath the sod in Jeff and Nealy's backyard, this pest problem begins a darkly comic and wild chain reaction of domestic tension, infidelity and murder.

Director: Jacob Estes
Stars: Tobey Maguire, Elizabeth Banks, Laura Linney
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Cynthia and Devon are two siblings whose intense love drives everything and everyone around them to ruin.

Stars: Tobey Maguire, Kristen Wiig, Will Ferrell
Race I (2016)
Biography | Drama | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Jesse Owens' quest to become the greatest track and field athlete in history thrusts him onto the world stage of the 1936 Olympics, where he faces off against Adolf Hitler's vision of Aryan supremacy.

Director: Stephen Hopkins
Stars: Stephan James, Jason Sudeikis, Eli Goree
Trial by Fire I (2018)
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

The tragic and controversial story of Cameron Todd Willingham, who was executed in Texas for killing his three children after scientific evidence and expert testimony that bolstered his claims of innocence were suppressed.

Director: Edward Zwick
Stars: Jack O'Connell, Laura Dern, Emily Meade
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

For her entire life, twenty-seven year old Marianne Johnson has been on the move, the decisions which she's made as an adult which have been total failures, such as her second most recent ... See full summary »

Director: Edward Zwick
Stars: Christine Lahti, Meg Tilly, Patrika Darbo
Trumbo (2015)
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

In 1947, Dalton Trumbo was Hollywood's top screenwriter, until he and other artists were jailed and blacklisted for their political beliefs.

Director: Jay Roach
Stars: Bryan Cranston, Diane Lane, Helen Mirren
Spider-Man (2002)
Action | Adventure | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

When bitten by a genetically modified spider, a nerdy, shy, and awkward high school student gains spider-like abilities that he eventually must use to fight evil as a superhero after tragedy befalls his family.

Director: Sam Raimi
Stars: Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, Willem Dafoe
Edit

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
Edit

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 »
Edit

Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official Site | See more »

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Russian

Release Date:

25 September 2015 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Pawn Sacrifice See more »

Filming Locations:

Montréal, Québec, Canada See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$19,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$202,053, 20 September 2015

Gross USA:

$2,436,633

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$5,578,519
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 »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Bobby Fischer quit high school at the age of 16 to earn his daily bread by the sweat of his brow as a chess player. In a 1961 match against American champ Samuel Reshevsky, Bobby dropped out of the match claiming a scheduling dispute with the match organizer after tying Reshevsky in 11 games. Such eccentric behavior heralded his future. See more »

Goofs

In some cases, when Bobby Fischer (Tobey Maguire) studies in his little chessboard, the board is placed with a black corner to the right. This is wrong, a very basic info is that when a serious game starts, it has to be with a white corner to the right of each player. This is distinctly defined in the rules of the game. See more »

Quotes

Bobby Fischer: [practicing chess with his coach who is a Catholic priest] I passed up having sex for this.
Father Bill Lombardy: Passed it up for twenty years.
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 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 »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Brilliant Performances: Troubling Account of Bobby Fischer
21 October 2016 | by Danusha_GoskaSee all my reviews

For much of its runtime, watching "Pawn Sacrifice" is a grueling experience. Young Bobby Fischer is growing up fearing being spied on by government agents. His mother, Regina, (Robin Weigart) is a communist living in Cold War era Brooklyn. Bobby escapes from what looks like a loveless childhood and a chaotic home life by focusing on chess.

Regina takes Bobby to Carmine Nigro (Conrad Pia) a teacher who greets Bobby by telling him that chess is a religion that takes anyone regardless of nation or creed. One hopes that this kindly man will serve as a ray of light in Bobby's life, but Bobby behaves as if he is autistic. He makes little eye contact and focuses only on the board, shutting out his opponent and his mother and sister who must stand and watch as he spends hours on his first chess match with a near master. Once young Bobby loses to Nigro, he refuses to shake hands, cries silently, and icily demands another game.

The real Bobby Fischer was noticeably tall and slim with very striking facial features: piercing eyes, prominent nose, large, curved lips and a sprinkling of facial moles. Tobey Maguire is short and slight, with refined features, darker hair and no moles. Fischer was from Brooklyn and he lacked a formal education. He dropped out of high school. He talked like an uneducated Brooklynite who happens to be a headline-making genius; he had a lot of attitude. Maguire is from California and he never really captures Fischer's unique voice or inflection.

The film picks up with the arrival of three characters played by brilliant actors: Michael Stahlbarg as Paul Marshall, a sort of fixer / hand-holder, Peter Sarsgaard as Father William Lombardy, a chess master, and Liev Schreiber as Boris Spassky. These three actors are superb, and each has a moment on screen that absolutely took my breath away.

Marshall is a long suffering lawyer who prods Fischer to go to Iceland to take on Boris Spassky and become the new world champion. Lombardy is the closest thing Fischer has to a friend. He serves as Fischer's second.

Bobby tears apart hotel rooms seeking hidden microphones; perhaps the Russians, the CIA, or the conspiratorial Jews are spying on him. Bobby runs from journalists' cameras and the fans who want to grab and kiss him. Bobby cracks when he hears spectators cough or when he can smell their breath. He demands more money, special chairs, different rooms, quieter cameras. Though Jewish, he listens to tapes that convince him that Jews are evil people taking over the world.

All this is really hard to watch. It's especially hard to watch for anyone who remembers the Fischer-Spassky match. Bobby Fischer was an incredibly gifted man. He was world famous. After his match, he could have made millions and enjoyed a cushioned retirement. Instead he trusted the wrong people, became a raving lunatic Jewish anti- Semite and a member of a cult he would later denounce, denounced America, cheered 9-11, spat on documents, broke laws, became an exile, and, after refusing necessary medical treatment, died entirely too young and unnecessarily. His ironic, poignant last words, they say, were, "Nothing is as healing as human touch."

You can't watch this movie and not wish that somebody had done something to help this man. You can't not wonder, what was wrong with him? Was it the bad relationship with his mother? His lack of a father? His illegitimacy? Was he schizophrenic or autistic? Or is that he was treated like a star and did not receive, from others, the kind of feedback that forms character? A combination of all of these factors? Because Bobby Fischer is a commodity, even in death, we will never know.

In the film, Paul Marshall, the more practical and earthbound of Bobby's advisors, suggests taking him to a psychiatrist. Father Lombardy responds that chess is a rabbit hole. He mentions the hundreds of millions of moves that chess masters must take into consideration. He says that taking Bobby to a psychiatrist would be like pouring concrete down a holy well. The implication is that Bobby's chess genius is inextricably tied to his mental illness.

Lombardy cites Paul Morphy, a chess genius who could not succeed at conventional life. But look at Boris Spassky. He is still alive and no one suggests that he is mentally ill. Maybe a mentally healthy Bobby would have been an even better chess player.

Liev Schreiber, in the commentary, says that chess masters must constantly predict their opponent's attacks, and that doing so contributes to paranoia. Perhaps so.

Although I found the film hard to watch, the performances by the leads were so profoundly rewarding that they lifted me up in awe and made me cry. I don't know how Liev Schreiber did it, but he perfectly channeled a Soviet man from the 70s. I know because I was there in the 70s. Michael Stahlberg utterly inhabits his part, a chain smoking, sweaty palmed, tireless enabler who takes every abuse from Bobby and never stops trying to push him forward. Peter Sarsgaard is just simply superb, in every scene, from praying the rosary on his knees to the moment when dawn breaks on his face as Bobby starts winning. Tobey Maguire has a moment that is so powerful it gave me chills. He is beating Spassky. He is in his element. It is his bliss. See the movie for that moment, one I watched over and over again.


24 of 25 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 115 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



Recently Viewed