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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 »
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

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

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 »
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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

The movie shows the warm-hearted prostitute and Pres. Nixon watching the match on T.V., separately of course. The image of the games was not shown on T.V. Shelby Lyman would receive the moves by teletype live and move the pieces on a demonstration board on the wall. Then he would discuss the move with one or two knowledgeable guests, like Andy Soltis, etc. The movie omits any reference to Shelby Lyman. See more »

Quotes

Bobby Fischer: Life is like that when people are living in a dream world.It's not really paradoxical.Chess is basically a search for truth, right? So, I'm searching for the truth.
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 ABC's Wide World of Sports (1961) See more »

Soundtracks

Listen To The Music
Written by Tom Johnston
Performed by The Doobie Brothers
Courtesy of Warner Bros. Records, Inc.
By Arrangement with Warner Music Group Film & TV Licensing
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Intense!
14 September 2015 | by RamascreenSee all my reviews

A well-crafted biopic about one of the greatest matches in history. A career-defining performance by Tobey Maguire. Who knew that a movie about a game of chess could be so suspenseful and riveting. You won't be able to take your eyes off of it.

Director Ed Zwick is the man who gave us "Glory," "The Last Samurai," "Defiance," basically movies that have epic battlefield sequences, so it's interesting that his battlefield has been scaled down to the size of a chessboard but it's just as colossal, this is a story back in the era when the whole world was watching which of the two ideologies, United States or the Soviets would ultimately win, tension was running high but instead of bullets or nuclear weapons which both regions did have, it all came down to between Bobby Fischer (Tobey Maguire) and Boris Spassky (Liev Schreiber) and even if the movie may or may not want to preach about which is the ultimate victor, it did capture the animosity in the air, so sharp it can cut through glass, the hatred against communism at the time.

Written by Steven Knight, who gave us "Eastern Promises," and "Locke," I think Knight gives in to Hollywood's long-held fascination with brilliance and madness, it's a lot like "A Beautiful Mind," where a person is so brilliant that his mind just snaps. Now, I didn't grow up knowing a lot about Bobby Fischer, my dad taught me how to play chess when I was a kid, but I was terrible at it, which is why I turned to soccer. My point is, I don't know how out of touch Fischer really was, and this movie itself is not a straight adaptation, but I think PAWN SACRIFICE accomplishes what it set out to do from the start, this correlation between genius and paranoia or insanity.

Mad props to actors Tobey Maguire and Liev Schreiber who, under the direction of Ed Zwick, successfully manage to dramatize the game of chess. Because chess matches are usually silent, so everything heavily relies on the actors' facial expressions, it's all in the eyes and the body language in order to understand the game's intensity. The movie has to also entertain those who may not play chess and so it does, and it's a testament to the amazing performances by Maguire and Schreiber.The movie also brings up a good point that I think would leave the audiences conflicted. Because we would feel like Bobby Fischer would need medical treatment, but a part of us also don't want to hinder or get in the way of brilliance, out of selfish reasons of course, because we would want that brilliance to work in our favor. We badly want to see the master play but at what cost.


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