Word Wars (2004) - Rotten Tomatoes

Word Wars (2004)



Critic Consensus: Fascinating look inside the world of competitive Scrabble.

Word Wars Photos

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 documentary competition.

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Critic Reviews for Word Wars

All Critics (35) | Top Critics (18)

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 | Rating: 3.5/5 | Full Review…

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
Top Critic

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…

Compellingly watchable.

July 23, 2004 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

The film fairly skips along as it introduces us to this strange world.

July 16, 2004 | Rating: 3/4

A surprisingly entertaining documentary that captures the triumph, the heartbreak and the consonants of the competitive Scrabble circuit.

June 17, 2004

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.

Luke Baldock
Luke Baldock

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.

Nani Vang
Nani Vang

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.

James Alvarez
James Alvarez

Super Reviewer

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