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The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters (2007)

tomatometer

96

Average Rating: 8.1/10
Reviews Counted: 98
Fresh: 94 | Rotten: 4

The King of Kong is funny and compelling with more than a few poignant insights into human behavior. Director Seth Gordon presents the dueling King Kong players in all their obsessive complexity and with perfectly al dente observations.

91

Average Rating: 7.6/10
Critic Reviews: 34
Fresh: 31 | Rotten: 3

The King of Kong is funny and compelling with more than a few poignant insights into human behavior. Director Seth Gordon presents the dueling King Kong players in all their obsessive complexity and with perfectly al dente observations.

audience

94

liked it
Average Rating: 4.2/5
User Ratings: 28,455

My Rating

Movie Info

Seth Gordon's documentary The King of Kong follows the exploits of the two best Donkey Kong players in America. Billy Mitchell has held the world record for the popular video game for over 20 years. The film covers his rise to prominence, and the circle of associates he keeps in the Twin Galaxies organization, which serves as the official referee and scorekeeper of the electronic gaming world; within the organization, Mitchell is highly revered for his prowess at a number of games. Eventually

Jan 29, 2008

$0.5M

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All Critics (99) | Top Critics (35) | Fresh (94) | Rotten (4) | DVD (3)

You could hardly call it a paragon of impartial filmmaking, but this is still a compelling and immersive glance into the nature of competitiveness and the corrupting aspects of fame.

June 5, 2008 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Is there anything more tiresome than watching people play video games? Seth Gordon's documentary The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters answers that question with a decisive yes: watching a movie about people playing video games.

December 7, 2007 Full Review Source: Washington Post | Comments (21)
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A terrifically entertaining documentary about an unlikely subject.

December 7, 2007 Full Review Source: Globe and Mail
Globe and Mail
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Hilarious and eye-popping.

December 7, 2007 Full Review Source: Toronto Star
Toronto Star
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Wonderful, hilarious documentary.

October 4, 2007 Full Review Source: Arizona Republic
Arizona Republic
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Directed by Seth Gordon, the film illuminates and draws you into a subculture you never knew existed and makes you genuinely care about its characters.

September 14, 2007 Full Review Source: Detroit News
Detroit News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Amusing documentary duel at the video arcade.

December 15, 2010 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

Seth Gordon's unexpectedly engrossing documentary about the quest for a "Donkey Kong" record - a seeming paradise only for the pale and pasty -offered a fascinating, infuriating look at the bleakly funny morass of American social expectations.

September 23, 2010 Full Review Source: Suite101.com
Suite101.com

Even if you've never so much as eaten a single ghost in a game of Ms. Pac-Man, King of Kong is still a remarkable (and remarkably hilarious) film.

June 9, 2010 Full Review Source: DCist

every bit as exciting as any sports %uFB01lm, while also shedding light on how obsessions can combine with corrupt power structures to drive otherwise normal people to ridiculous ends.

July 30, 2008 Full Review Source: Paste Magazine
Paste Magazine

It's clear that director Seth Gordon is rooting for Wiebe - but it is not just a trick of the editing that means within 30 minutes of the political machinations of Kong beginning, you will be too.

June 13, 2008 Full Review Source: Eye for Film
Eye for Film

A great little documentary, full of laughs, drama and tension. It's like Rocky, but with a joystick. And an opponent who isn't actually seen stepping into the ring.

June 6, 2008 Full Review Source: Film4

An engrossing story that plucks at the heartstrings just as hard as it pummels the fire buttons.

June 5, 2008 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

Gordon invites us to snicker at his cast of hardcore gamers, for whom 'Donkey Kong' tournaments are as vital as Super Bowls and as divisive as the war on abortion. But once embedded in their strange world, he finds a compelling story to tell.

April 10, 2008
San Francisco Examiner

If it weren't for swirling currents of humanity, the film would bore me Gongless. But it turns out to be character thriller with a big finish.

February 22, 2008 Full Review Source: Urban Cinefile
Urban Cinefile

Unquestionably the most engaging and flat-out entertaining documentary since Murderball...

January 31, 2008 Full Review Source: Reel Film Reviews
Reel Film Reviews

an oddly entertaining and exciting documentary that at times looks like a mockumentary

January 7, 2008

You could say it's sort of like Murderball, only these guys' disabilities are of the social variety. At any rate, it's a great film

December 18, 2007
Manhattan Movie Magazine

"When We Were Kings" for dorks.

December 11, 2007 Full Review Source: Film Snobs
Film Snobs

As tremendous an act in empathy as anything Werner Herzog has ever committed to the documentary screen.

December 8, 2007 Full Review Source: Projection Booth
Projection Booth

Benefits immeasurably from a cast of colorful supporting players, as well as a taut narrative that builds to a surprisingly tense climax.

December 7, 2007 Full Review Source: Lessons of Darkness
Lessons of Darkness

The King of Kong is as winning, sweet, and occasionally disturbing a documentary about people for whom time has stopped somewhere around 1982 as you'd ever want to see.

December 7, 2007 Full Review Source: Austin Chronicle
Austin Chronicle

Audience Reviews for The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters

good fun but seemed a little staged for the cameras - ok, very staged.
June 8, 2008
brooklynspo

Super Reviewer

Good documentary, but is not as great as what every critic has claimed it to be. The film uncovers the word of competitive gaming and some of its icons such as Billy Mitchell who held the record of the most points acquired during a game of Donkey Kong. With a score of 870,300 points, Mitchell set a record hat stood for over twenty years. In comes Steve Wiebe, a teacher by day and video game enthusiast and Challenger of Billy's record. The film is good, and brings to light this interesting subject; however I found myself not liking it that much because I thought that Mitchell had a huge ego and couldn't face Steve Wiebe in what would have been the film's strongest point. I believe that if the documentary would have shown a match of Donkey Kong between Mitchell and Wiebe, then this would have been a far better film. The film is worth seeing if you're a gamer, and it is most certainly fun to watch. However if you're not familiar with its subject or don't express interest in video games, you may want to pass up on this. You can clearly see that a few parts of the film were scripted and that's really the film's biggest weakness, that and Billy Mitchell's refusal to face off with Steve Wiebe.I think what Mitchell did back in the 80'swas cool, but now he just makes himself look like a D__bag. In the end Steve Wiebe proved he was the better person and made Mitchell look like a coward. A good film, but pretty disappointing considering all the hype surrounding it.
October 28, 2012
TheDudeLebowski65
Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski

Super Reviewer

"Don't get chumpatized"

Diehard video game fans compete to break World Records on classic arcade games.

REVIEW
The King Of Kong is one of the best documentaries I've ever seen. I might be a bit biased since I'm a long time video gamer but even a non- video gamer would find this one to be utterly interesting.

Steve Wiebe, a then unemployed schoolteacher, decides to try and break arcade ace Billy Mitchell's long-standing score at Donkey Kong. He does so and that begins his rocky road to getting a bunch of gaming nerds to recognize him for his efforts.

It's amazing to see Billy Mitchell (who comes off as the Brad Pitt of video gaming) using his smarmy charm and stroke to control the nerds who kowtow him when it comes to his beloved Donkey Kong record. All Steve Wiebe wants is recognition for his prowess at Donkey Kong; he doesn't really want to join Walter Day and his merry nerds. However, we see Billy Mitchell (who doesn't play a single game in the film) continually belittle Wiebe, talk about how great he is and use BS tactics to keep Wiebe away from his record. The Twin Galaxy nerds want to accept Steve but they are so under Billy the Egotist's thumb that they can't lest they lose their biggest "star". It's sad to see people simply let one guy walk all over them and think they deserve to be respected.

We see a group of people fighting over something so trivial as a video game score record and it's a shock. That something so insignificant is taken so seriously will surprise many people.

This is one documentary worth seeing just to see some real hardcore video gamers trading barbs and talking big. These guys didn't stop after the filming. Billy, Steve and a few others are still trying to be The King Of Kong as we speak.
September 7, 2011
LorenzoVonMatterhorn
Lorenzo von Matterhorn

Super Reviewer

This is an incredible documentary about two of the most obsessive and unforgettable characters I've seen in ANY FILM! Entertaining, unforgettable and pretty remarkable.
March 1, 2011
YLOWBSTARDreturns

Super Reviewer

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