Bobby Fischer Against the World

Watch Bobby Fischer Against the World

  • TV-14
  • 2011
  • 1 hr 34 min
  • 7.4  (7,348)
  • 76

Bobby Fischer Against the World is a documentary film that recounts the fascinating life and career of the legendary chess player Bobby Fischer, who is widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all time. The movie provides an in-depth look at the enigmatic and often controversial figure, from his early days as a prodigious young talent to his eventual decline into reclusive madness.

The film is directed by Liz Garbus, and it features a range of interviews and archival footage that bring Fischer's story to life. The documentary is not just an examination of Fischer's chess career, but also a look at the broader cultural and political context in which he existed. It explores the Cold War tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union, and the way that Fischer's remarkable chess career was intertwined with those larger historical forces.

One of the main themes of the film is Fischer's struggle with mental illness. As a young man, he was known for his intense focus and obsessive preparation, but as he grew older, he became increasingly erratic and paranoid. The movie explores Fischer's troubled relationships with the people around him, including his family, his coaches, and his fellow chess players. It also delves into his difficult upbringing, and the way that his unique abilities set him apart from the rest of the world.

Another central theme of the film is the way that Fischer's chess career was shaped by the historical context of the Cold War. During the 1960s and 1970s, the United States and the Soviet Union were engaged in a bitter ideological struggle, and chess was one of the arenas in which that rivalry played out. Fischer's epic matches against Soviet players like Boris Spassky became symbolic clashes between East and West, and the documentary explores the way that those matches shaped Fischer's reputation and legacy.

The movie also examines the controversy surrounding Fischer's decision to withdraw from competitive chess after his victory over Spassky in 1972. Fischer became increasingly reclusive in the years that followed, and his political views became increasingly extreme. He became a controversial figure, and the documentary examines the way that he became both a symbol of American exceptionalism and a cautionary tale about the dangers of celebrity and mental illness.

Throughout the film, we hear from a range of experts and witnesses who knew Fischer personally or professionally. Chess experts like David Edmonds and Anthony Saidy provide valuable insight into Fischer's playing style and his impact on the world of chess. Other interviews include people who knew him as a child, his former coaches, and even a former friend who spent time with him in his later years.

One of the most interesting elements of Bobby Fischer Against the World is the way that it blends archival footage with modern interviews and new perspectives. We see clips of Fischer's famous matches and his iconic public appearances, but we also hear from people who had never spoken about him on camera before. The documentary provides a rich and nuanced portrait of a man who was both brilliant and troubled, and it does so in a way that is both entertaining and thought-provoking.

Overall, Bobby Fischer Against the World is a fascinating and engaging documentary that should appeal to anyone interested in chess, Cold War history, or the struggles of genius and mental illness. The movie presents a complex and nuanced portrait of a brilliant but troubled man, and it does so with style, wit, and intelligence. Whether you're a chess enthusiast or simply interested in great documentaries, this film is well worth watching.

Bobby Fischer Against the World
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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 34 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.4  (7,348)
  • Metascore