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Word Wars

Word Wars (2004)



Average Rating: 7.1/10
Reviews Counted: 35
Fresh: 31 | Rotten: 4

Fascinating look inside the world of competitive Scrabble.


Average Rating: 6.9/10
Critic Reviews: 18
Fresh: 15 | Rotten: 3

Fascinating look inside the world of competitive Scrabble.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.5/5
User Ratings: 3,114

My Rating

Movie Info

The directorial debut of filmmakers Eric Chaikin and Julian Petrillo, Word Wars: Tiles and Tribulations on the Scrabble Circuit is a humorous documentary look at the culture surrounding the National Scrabble Tournament. Focusing on four players in particular, the film details the intense competitions that lead up to the finals in San Diego, where each of the competitors hopes to take home the 25,000-dollar prize. Premiering at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival, Word Wars screened as part of the

Apr 5, 2005

Seventh Art Releasing - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (39) | Top Critics (18) | Fresh (31) | Rotten (4) | DVD (3)

Chaikin and Petrillo have crafted an empathetic and revealing portrait of four men whose obsession is both a little bit sad and more than a little bit recognizable.

November 4, 2004 Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
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There's a pronounced lack of emotional pay-off that likely will derail any attempts to position Word Wars as an aud-friendly crowd-pleaser with breakout potential comparable to Spellbound.

November 4, 2004 Full Review Source: Variety
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The picture offers a funny but frequently sad portrait of four world-class gamesters in serious need of the $25,000 in prize money.

November 4, 2004 Full Review Source: L.A. Weekly
L.A. Weekly
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Compellingly watchable.

July 23, 2004 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
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The film fairly skips along as it introduces us to this strange world.

July 16, 2004 Full Review Source: Seattle Times
Seattle Times
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A surprisingly entertaining documentary that captures the triumph, the heartbreak and the consonants of the competitive Scrabble circuit.

June 17, 2004 Full Review Source: Newark Star-Ledger
Newark Star-Ledger
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Even with so much information lacking, Word Wars is still quite a treat.

March 29, 2005 Full Review Source:

Mostly lighthearted, yet somewhat unnerving.

November 19, 2004 Full Review Source: E! Online
E! Online

You'll be on the edge of your seat to find out who wins, and how the losers take it.

August 8, 2004 Full Review Source: Film Journal International
Film Journal International

...if you're a fan of films that concentrate on lesser known ingredients of our society...

July 23, 2004 Full Review Source: JoBlo's Movie Emporium
JoBlo's Movie Emporium

Think of it as the eccentric cousin to Spellbound...

July 16, 2004 Full Review Source: Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Seattle Post-Intelligencer

The human element is kept endearingly rich a la detailed background info and flaring tempers that are the hallmark of the low-budget tournament circuit.

July 14, 2004 Full Review Source: Palo Alto Weekly
Palo Alto Weekly

A highly entertaining look at these bizarre personalities and an insight into their obsession with Scrabble.

July 9, 2004 Full Review Source: Oregonian

Lively documentary.

June 17, 2004 Full Review Source: St. Paul Pioneer Press
St. Paul Pioneer Press

A facile view of the Scrabble players' world, and ... rather condescending to [its] subjects.

June 11, 2004 Full Review Source: Salt Lake Tribune
Salt Lake Tribune

A watchable documentary.

June 11, 2004 Full Review Source: Deseret News, Salt Lake City
Deseret News, Salt Lake City

Audience Reviews for Word Wars

An extraordinary band of misfits embark on trying to win a Scrabble tournament. I love seeing people with such eccentricities. I enjoy a good game of Scrabble, but these guys are obsessed. This also damages them as characters. Most don't have jobs, instead deciding to focus on Scrabble. Also, they don't tend to be that smart. They simply memorize what's allowed and what isn't The film takes us to a number of places and events, but never gets exceptionally interesting. It also doesn't build up the tension of the games, just simple notes on who's winning pop up on screen. A nice piece as a simple observation of a strange world, but doesn't explore the subject.
April 19, 2011

Super Reviewer

My boyfriend is weird, so he makes me watch all these documentaries with him...which I tend to enjoy for the most part.

Word Wars is about a group of guys who participate in a Scrabble competition. They are obsessed with winning and the documentary follows them as they play. They are crazy guys, but it's still interesting to watch.
July 13, 2009

Super Reviewer

A sad yet interesting look into the world of Scrabble and the people who try to make a living winning small cash prizes.
November 7, 2007

Super Reviewer

This was pretty cool. It was presented in a more interesting way than the spelling video with cool little visual effects and stuff. The guy from Baltimore was amusing with his hatred of the English language and all yet he competes in Scrabble tournaments (he was in it for the money). And his "friendship" with the other guy was funny since they really didn't like each other and they each talked separately about how they didn't understand why they were friends.
March 26, 2007

Super Reviewer

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