Bobby Fischer Against The World (2011)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

Considered by many to be the greatest chess player to ever live, Bobby Fischer Against the World is the first and definitive documentary biography of the eccentric genius who rose from humble beginnings and captivated a world audience with his victory over Russia's Boris Spassky at the height of the Cold War. His trajectory propelled him from child prodigy to US champion at age 15 and world champion at 29. Quixotically refusing to defend his championship, Fischer became a virtual recluse for … More

Rating: PG
Genre: Documentary, Drama, Special Interest
Directed By:
In Theaters:
On DVD: Dec 5, 2011
Music Box Films - Official Site

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Critic Reviews for Bobby Fischer Against The World

All Critics (46) | Top Critics (10)

A once-in-a-lifetime character makes for a fascinating documentary subject in producer-director Liz Garbus' "Bobby Fischer Against the World."

Full Review… | September 22, 2011
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

Liz Garbus's documentary about the great American chess champion Bobby Fischer does its level best to avoid the easy cliché equating madness and genius, except that, in the case of Fischer, the cliché apparently holds up.

Full Review… | September 16, 2011
Christian Science Monitor
Top Critic

Tactfully but strongly posits a connection between the genius he brought to an infinitely complex game and the madness that defined his relationship to just about everything else.

Full Review… | September 8, 2011
New York Times
Top Critic

Supplies a cracked, conflicted genius trapped in his ceaseless endgame.

Full Review… | September 7, 2011
Time Out
Top Critic

Garbus handles this decline with tact. The sorry spectacle of the ranting codger never effaces the image of the boy concentrating his entire being over a chessboard. You have to love that kid and pity him.

Full Review… | September 6, 2011
Village Voice
Top Critic

An affective portrait of an intense, obsessed man and a tense, twisty, and occasionally inspiring narrative surrounding the Fischer-Spassky match.

Full Review… | February 3, 2012
Movie Metropolis

Audience Reviews for Bobby Fischer Against The World


When I was in college, I would occasionally play a friend in chess. And he admitted he had a hard time playing me, because of my strategy. I didn't have one, so he could not see ahead what I was going to do. Luckily, the documentary "Bobby Fischer Against the World" has a lot to say on the subject of chess strategy, so I was able to learn a thing or two for possible future reference.

At the top of the chess pantheon was Bobby Fischer, chessmaster and one time world champion, who was able to play entire games in his head and could outplay almost any other opponent. Sadly, that also included himself, as that same monomania which made him so successful at chess, made him that much less successful as a human being.(There is an intriguing chicken vs. egg debate here concerning his mental illness.) Later in life and post fame, he retains his intelligence to antagonize everybody he encounters with his own brand of twisted and bigoted logic while losing his mind.

Centered as the documentay is around the 1972 Chess World Championship versus Boris Spassky, who is still very much alive, oh by the way, Cold War politics come into play.(This chess match was apparently a very huge deal. I love the newscasts of the day that would go - "Watergate...McGovern...but first chess...) But to counter something said in the film, yes, the Soviet state supported its athletes, but they were not professional in the way we think of them today. Rather, they were probably allowed to live in a pretty nice apartment and did not have to stand on line for food.

Walter M.

Super Reviewer


Fascinating doc. Lots of great footage of Fischer going back to when he was 15 years old.

Grifty G

Super Reviewer

This is a great documentary regarding Bobby Fischer although I must admit, I do not understand the obsession with this guy. Could it be that I am not a major Chess fanatic? This film leaves you wondering why would somebody so eccentric and so-unbalanced as this chess player - with many diagnosed and diagnosed (yet untreated tics/idiosyncrasies) turn Anti-Semitic and paranoid? Well - the same reason the average nutcase who doesn't happened to be a world champion chess player does - because . . . they are CRAZY.

Given the history of grand master chess players - the better you get at chess - the closer you get to paranoid schizo - at least that's what I learned from this film.

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