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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.



(screenplay), (story) | 2 more credits »
3,609 ( 168)
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Paul Marshall
Father Bill Lombardy
Edward Zinoviev ...
Efim Geller
Iivo Nei
Carmine Nigro
Brett Watson ...
Lothar Schmid


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


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:



Official Sites:

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Release Date:

25 September 2015 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La jugada maestra  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$19,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$202,053 (USA) (20 September 2015)


$2,436,062 (USA) (13 December 2015)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs



| (archive footage)| (archive footage)|

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Academy Award-winning producer and director Edward Zwick was brought in to helm the film by producers Gail Katz and Tobey Maguire. Katz said: "A lot of top directors were interested. We knew Ed had a history of doing historical pictures with great accuracy that were also very commercial. He knows how to make a truthful and compelling film." See more »


While in real life the Soviet delegation did ask for Spassky's chair to be examined for electronic devices, that did NOT happen during a game. In the film, Spassky overturned the chair himself to examine it while the game was going on. Such clownish behavior would have caused an uproar from the audience - not to mention broken numerous match rules (disturbing his opponent, etc.) See more »


Paul Marshall: I think he's afraid of what's gonna happen if he loses.
Father Bill Lombardy: No, he's afraid of what's gonna happen if he wins.
See more »

Crazy Credits

In the closing credits, the name of the character Cyril (played by Shawn Campbell) is misspelled "Cryil". See more »


References ABC's Wide World of Sports (1961) See more »


It Ain't No Fun To Me
Written and Performed by Al Green
Courtesy of Hi Records
By Arrangement with Fat Possum Records Irving Music, Inc. on behalf of Al Green Music, Inc. and JEC Publishing
See more »

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User Reviews

The intersection of celebrity, politics, mental illness, and chess
26 August 2016 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

When I was a kid, Bobby Fischer was a big deal. He was a brilliant chess player known for his eccentricities. And I was perplexed as to how chess had become a big deal.

Turns out it was another cold war proxy fight in which the U.S. and Russia were trying to prove their inherent superiority. This was not Bobby Fischer's idea; he just wanted to be a chess champ. In the movie, he's fairly oblivious to the tides of history, at least until he gets caught up in paranoid theories.

This is a very interesting movie with a terrific performance by Tobey Maguire that manages to make chess riveting even if, like me, you have to real idea what's going on. The story it tells is clear and concise, as a mercurial Fischer descends into paranoia while those around him push him forward at any cost.

In fact, the story is a little too neat. The movie feels very much like the movie you'd expect to see if you remember Bobby's weird demands and celebrity. But usually life is a little more complicated than a movie. Reading about Fischer on wikipedia, I saw things that didn't fit in with the movie's view. For example, Fischer was unusually athletic for a chess player, working out regularly during the World Championship, and his love life went beyond hooking up with a prostitute; he later married, which is hard to imagine of Maguire's version.

Still, this is a fascinating, well paced movie that is constantly engaging. This is one of these movies, like All the President's Men, that has figured out how to bring intense drama to hard work and tedious thoroughness.

It also makes me wish I'd actually read some of those chess books my dad bought me; I always just sort of stumbled through without ever understanding the complexities of the game.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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