Searching for Bobby Fischer

  • Review Date: July 8, 2003
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2002
  • Running Time: 111 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Excellent story about sportsmanship.
  • Review Date: July 8, 2003
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2002
  • Running Time: 111 minutes





What parents need to know

Positive messages

The boy's teacher tells him that to win he must learn to have contempt for his opponents.

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Sexy stuff
Not applicable

Some mild name-calling.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that at the core of this story is a valuable lesson about sportsmanship. Children in the 6-8 age bracket will enjoy seeing someone their own age intelligently portrayed, even if they don't quite grasp his particular gift or the situations it places him in. For older kids, this is one of the greatest movies around for demonstrating -- without preaching -- the value of decency and the payoff that comes from serious study.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

Based on a true story, SEARCHING FOR BOBBY FISCHER centers on young chess prodigy Josh. While chess tutor Bruce (Ben Kingsley) helps the boy hone his skills for competition, Josh's parents (Joe Mantegna and Joan Allen), are strong and supportive. Mom tells him, \"You have a good heart. And that's the most important thing in the world.\" Josh struggles with slipping into arrogance over his amazing talents, and he heads to a major competition intent on proving he's the best. But in the end, he learns that winning isn't everything.

Is it any good?


It takes confidence and loads of talent to make a movie about a boy who plays chess, and to make it riveting, but Steven Zaillian's directorial debut does just that. There are no clenched fists here, hardly a raised voice, and yet the movie is mesmerizing. There's a true sense of wonder in the scenes of Josh watching the chess players in the park, absorbing the intricacies of the game. That wonder is potent enough to spark an interest in young viewers, and encourage adults to take the board down from that dusty closet shelf. But an understanding of chess isn't vital to appreciating the movie, although a vague understanding does heighten the drama.

The characters, even the sideliners, are compelling, and a good streak of humor runs through the movie, especially in competition scenes when the nervous chess parents act less mature than their children.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about what good sportsmanship means.

Movie details

Theatrical release date:June 24, 2002
DVD release date:June 24, 2002
Cast:Ben Kingsley, Joe Mantegna, Laurence Fishburne
Director:Steven Zaillian
Studio:Paramount Pictures
Run time:111 minutes
MPAA rating:PG
MPAA explanation:thematic material

This review of Searching for Bobby Fischer was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Parent of a 6 and 8 year old Written byH2Clark December 7, 2010

Good Rental Movie will keep the parents engaged too.

This movie got my son to want to play chess! Which we are doing daily right now. But the theme -that is for the adults/parents - went over his head as it was suppose to. I liked that the 7 year old was portrayed as a true 7 yo.
Parent of a 7 and 10 year old Written bystuhlly May 22, 2010
What other families should know
Great messages
Adult Written bytommysportsgirl April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age


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