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The Best Chess Movies Of All-Time

Best Chess Movies

“What are the best movies about Chess and Chess Players?” We looked at 73 of the top Chess films, aggregating and ranking them so we could answer that very question!

The top 28 films, all appearing on 2 or more “Best Chess” movie lists, are ranked below by how many times they appear. The remaining 40+ movies, as well as the sources we used, are in alphabetical order on the bottom of the page.



Top 28 Chess Movies



28 .) Computer Chess

 Computer Chess Lists It Appears On:

  • Ranker
  • Wikipedia

Set over the course of a weekend tournament for chess software programmers thirty-some years ago, COMPUTER CHESS transports viewers to a nostalgic moment when the contest between technology and the human spirit seemed a little more up for grabs. We get to know the eccentric geniuses possessed with the vision to teach a metal box to defeat man, literally, at his own game, laying the groundwork for artificial intelligence as we know it and will come to know it in the future.

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27 .) Geri’s Game [1997]

 Geri's Game [1997] Lists It Appears On:

  • Chess Craft
  • Wikipedia

An aging codger named Geri plays a daylong game of chess in the park against himself. Somehow, he begins losing to his livelier opponent. But just when the game’s nearly over, Geri manages to turn the tables.

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26 .) Hatley High (2003)

 Hatley High (2003) Lists It Appears On:

  • IMDB
  • Ranker

The Canadian teen comedy Hatley High sends up high school sports rituals by placing a most unlikely competitive game at the center of its story: that of chess. Tommy (Nicholas Wright) is a new arrival in his parents’ hometown of Hatley, whose mother recently died. He discovers, after the fact, that his mom was once a chess pro and thus a legend in the community. Tommy’s chess-fixated peers accept him almost instantly, inferring that he must have inherited his dear mother’s skills, but in time Tommy carves out a niche for himself independently of his mom’s legacy, and strikes up an enduring romance with Hyacinthe (Rachelle Lefevre) a “chess cheerleader.” Two fictional British filmmakers “frame” the tale by filming it for a documentary that they are producing, and thus provide witty, ongoing narration.

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25 .) Life of a King (2013)

 Life of a King (2013) Lists It Appears On:

  • Chess Tutor
  • Wikipedia

Life of a King is the true story of one man’s mission to give inner city kids of Washington DC something he never had – a future. After being incarcerated for eighteen years, Eugene Brown established the Big Chair Chess Club to get kids off the streets and working towards lives they never believed they were capable of. This is his inspirational story.

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24 .) Queen of Cactus Cove [2005]

 Queen of Cactus Cove [2005] Lists It Appears On:

  • Chess Craft
  • Wikipedia

Teenage chess champ Billie (Alia Shawkat) faces the prospect of defeat for the first time when she faces her best friend (Alex Frost) at the biggest chess tournament of her career.



23 .) Queen Sacrifice [1988]

 Queen Sacrifice [1988] Lists It Appears On:

  • Chess Craft
  • Wikipedia

A welsh school teacher attempts to guard his teenage protege’s genius for chess from his burgeoning libido.



22 .) Schwarz und weiß wie Tage und Nächte (1978 TV Movie)

 Schwarz und weiß wie Tage und Nächte (1978 TV Movie) Lists It Appears On:

  • IMDB
  • Wikipedia

A scientist who swore off playing chess after a nervous breakdown as a boy wunderkind, creates an undefeated chess program. But the Russian world champ beats Tommy Rosemund’s masterwork in a televised match. So the West German mathematician becomes a top chess pro himself, which the West German media boast will prove the superiority of Germany and democracy. The jowly, white-faced Rosemund believes that the entire Red Communist bloc is out to stop him from vanquishing their atheist pretty boy, Stefan Koruga, to become the next Bobby Fischer and a symbol that capitalism is preferable to socialism.

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21 .) The Dark Horse (2014)

 The Dark Horse (2014) Lists It Appears On:

  • Chess Tutor
  • Wikipedia

One-time Maori speed-chess champ, Genesis Potini, lives with a bi-polar disorder and must overcome prejudice and violence in the battle to save his struggling chess club, his family and ultimately, himself.

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20 .) The Great Chess Movie [1982]

 The Great Chess Movie [1982] Lists It Appears On:

  • Chess Craft
  • Wikipedia


19 .) Bobby Fischer Against The World (2011)

 Bobby Fischer Against The World (2011) Lists It Appears On:

  • Rafaelleitao
  • Ranker
  • Wikipedia

The first documentary feature to explore the tragic and bizarre life of the late chess master Bobby Fischer.

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18 .) Brainwashed (1960)

 Brainwashed (1960) Lists It Appears On:

  • Chess Craft
  • IMDB
  • Wikipedia

Werner von Basil (a Austrian intellectual) was captured by the Nazi in 1938. The want to break him to confess smuggling. Without any mental sustenance, the only thing left to keep his mind busy is an old tactics book for chess.

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17 .) Brooklyn Castle

 Brooklyn Castle Lists It Appears On:

  • Ranker
  • The Spruce
  • Wikipedia

Brooklyn Castle is a documentary about I.S. 318 – an inner-city school where more than 65 percent of students are from homes with incomes below the federal poverty level – that also happens to have the best, most winning junior high school chess team in the country. (If Albert Einstein, who was rated 1800, were to join the team, he’d only rank fifth best.) Chess has transformed the school from one cited in 2003 as a “school in need of improvement” to one of New York City’s best. But a series of recession-driven public school budget cuts now threaten to undermine those hard-won successes.

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16 .) Endgame (2011)

 Endgame (2011) Lists It Appears On:

  • IMDB
  • Ranker
  • Wikipedia

In the year 2025, a nuclear holocaust has left New York City an irradiated, but not abandoned, wasteland. The ruined city is inhabited now by scavenger packs and telepathic mutants, who are persecuted by the elite survivors. Keeping the people pacified is the reality television program Endgame, where hunters and gladiators fight to the death.

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15 .) Game Over: Kasparov and the Machine (2003)

 Game Over: Kasparov and the Machine (2003) Lists It Appears On:

  • Rafaelleitao
  • The Spruce
  • Wikipedia

Garry Kasparov is possibly the greatest chess player who has ever lived. In 1997, he played a match against the greatest chess computer: IBM’s Deep Blue. He lost. This film depicts the drama that happened away from the chess board from Kasparov’s perspective. It explores the psychological aspects of the game and the paranoia surrounding IBM’s ultimate chess machine.



14 .) Ivory Tower (2010)

 Ivory Tower (2010) Lists It Appears On:

  • Chess Craft
  • IMDB
  • Wikipedia

The film revolves around a sibling rivalry between two brothers, Hershell and Thadeus Graves (played by Gonzales and Tiga, respectively), as they compete during a game of chess. Peaches plays Marsha Thirteen, a former performance artist and the shared love interest of both brothers.

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13 .) The Chess Players (1977)

 The Chess Players (1977) Lists It Appears On:

  • Chess Craft
  • IMDB
  • IMDB

It is the year 1856. Nawab Wajid Ali Shah is the king of Awadh, one of the last independent kingdoms of India. The British colonialists, intent on controlling this rich land, have sent general Outram on a secret mission to clear the way for an annexation. Pressure is mounting amidst intrigue and political manoeuvres, but the Nawab whiles away his time in pursuit of pleasure and religious practice. The court is of no help either—Court nobles Mir and Mirza, ignoring the situation of their country and all their duties towards their families, spend their days playing endless games of chess. The film is based on Munshi Premchand’s short story of the same name.

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12 .) Uncovered (1994)

 Uncovered (1994) Lists It Appears On:

  • IMDB
  • Ranker
  • Wikipedia

While restoring an old painting showing a woman and two men playing chess, Julia discovers the text “Who killed the knight” underneath the paint. The owner of the painting tells her that one of his forefathers was killed, the painting might identify the murderer. When Julia’s friend is killed she understands that there is more to it. She consults Domenec, a chess genius who reconstructs the game from the painting. With any piece he takes, somebody dies.

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11 .) Pawn Sacrifice (2014)

 Pawn Sacrifice (2014) Lists It Appears On:

  • Chess Tutor
  • IMDB
  • Ranker
  • Wikipedia

American chess champion Bobby Fischer prepares for a legendary match-up against Russian Boris Spassky.

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10 .) Queen of Katwe (2016)

 Queen of Katwe (2016) Lists It Appears On:

  • Chess Mates
  • IMDB
  • Ranker
  • Wikipedia

A young girl overcomes her disadvantaged upbringing in the slums of Uganda to become a Chess master.

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9 .) The Luzhin Defence (2000)

 The Luzhin Defence (2000) Lists It Appears On:

  • Chess Craft
  • IMDB
  • Ranker
  • Wikipedia

Based upon the novel by Vladimir Nabokov, a chess grandmaster travels to Italy in the 1920s to play in a tournament and falls in love.

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8 .) Chess Fever (1925)

 Chess Fever (1925) Lists It Appears On:

  • Chess Craft
  • IMDB
  • Ranker
  • The Spruce
  • Wikipedia

With an international chess tournament in progress, a young man becomes completely obsessed with the game. His fiancée has no interest in it, and becomes frustrated and depressed by his neglect of her, but wherever she goes she finds that she cannot escape chess. On the brink of giving up, she meets the world champion, Capablanca himself, with interesting results.

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7 .) Dangerous Moves (1984)

 Dangerous Moves (1984) Lists It Appears On:

  • Chess Craft
  • Chess Tutor
  • IMDB
  • Rafaelleitao
  • Wikipedia

World Chess Champion Akiva Liebskind (Michel Piccoli) faces his former pupil Pavius Fromm (Alexandre Arbatt), who defected to the West from the Soviet Union five years earlier, for the World Chess Championship in Geneva, Switzerland. The tension and strategies between the players draw parallels to the political conflicts and ideologies between East and West during the Cold War.

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6 .) Knight Moves (1992)

 Knight Moves (1992) Lists It Appears On:

  • Chess Craft
  • Chess Tutor
  • IMDB
  • Ranker
  • Wikipedia

A psychologist falls for a world-class chess player suspected of odd murders linked to his game.

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5 .) The Seventh Seal (1957)

 The Seventh Seal (1957) Lists It Appears On:

  • Chess Craft
  • IMDB
  • Rafaelleitao
  • Ranker
  • Wikipedia

When disillusioned Swedish knight Antonius Block returns home from the Crusades to find his country in the grips of the Black Death, he challenges Death to a chess match for his life. Tormented by the belief that God does not exist, Block sets off on a journey, meeting up with traveling players Jof and his wife, Mia, and becoming determined to evade Death long enough to commit one redemptive act while he still lives.

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4 .) Fresh (1994)

 Fresh (1994) Lists It Appears On:

  • Chess Craft
  • Chess Tutor
  • IMDB
  • Rafaelleitao
  • Ranker
  • Wikipedia

Michael is a 12-year-old drug pusher who lives in a crowded house with his cousins and aunt. His father has become a street bum,but still meets with Fresh on occasion to play chess. Fresh is rather quiet in a crazy world. Fresh’s sister is a junkie who sleeps with the dealers that Fresh sells for. As the story progresses Fresh realizes that he doesn’t want to sell drugs anymore – he wants revenge.

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3 .) Knights of the South Bronx (2005)

 Knights of the South Bronx (2005) Lists It Appears On:

  • Chess Craft
  • Chess Mates
  • Chess Tutor
  • IMDB
  • Ranker
  • Wikipedia

A business man decides that he wants to teach school in the inner city and chooses a tough school in the South Bronx. He teaches the children how to play the game of chess, and along the way they learn a lot about life.

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2 .) Queen to Play (2009)

 Queen to Play (2009) Lists It Appears On:

  • Chess Craft
  • Chess Tutor
  • IMDB
  • IMDB
  • Rafaelleitao
  • Ranker
  • Wikipedia

In a small Corsican village, the life of Hélène, ordinary and single, She works as a maid in a hotel and is married happily with her Husband Ange and her fifteen year-old daughter. Her modest and monotonous life seems to be predetermined… One day while cleaning a hotel room, she meets a young, seductive, American couple which is playing a game of chess. First fascinated and then passionate about the game, Hélène learns with great tenacity she studies the rule of the game to perfection. She can count on Dr. Kröger, who is a mysterious inhabitant, to help her to achieve her goals. But this positive transition towards a liberty for Hélène does not go about without deeply changing her relationship with family, friends and inhabitants of the village.

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1 .) Searching for Bobby Fischer (1993)

 Searching for Bobby Fischer (1993) Lists It Appears On:

  • Chess Craft
  • Chess Mates
  • Chess Tutor
  • IMDB
  • IMDB
  • Rafaelleitao
  • Ranker
  • The Spruce
  • Unreality Mag
  • Wikipedia

A prepubescent chess prodigy refuses to harden himself in order to become a champion like the famous but unlikable Bobby Fischer.

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The 40+ Additional Best Movies Chess



 

# Movie Lists
(Films Appear On 1 List Each)
29 8 × 8: A Chess Sonata in 8 Movements Wikipedia
30 A Chess Dispute Wikipedia
31 A Little Game Wikipedia
32 Alice in Wonderland (I) (2010) IMDB
33 Arcibel’s Game (2003) IMDB
34 Assassins
Unreality Mag
35 Belyy sneg Rossii (1980) IMDB
36 Blade Runner
Unreality Mag
37 Capablanca (1987) IMDB
38 Chess King Wikipedia
39 Chess Player (1938) IMDB
40 Chess: In Concert The Spruce
41 Columbo (1971–2003) Episode: The Most Dangerous Match (1973) IMDB
42 Final Move (2006) IMDB
43 Five Fingers Ranker
44 Fool’s Mate Wikipedia
45 Golubye dorogi (1948) IMDB
46 Grossmeyster (1973) IMDB
47 Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (2001) IMDB
48 If Tomorrow Comes (1986) IMDB
49 Independence Day
Unreality Mag
50 King of Chess (1991) IMDB
51 La partie d’échecs (1994) IMDB
52 Lang leve de koningin (1995) IMDB
53 Le collectionneur des cerveaux (1976 TV Movie) IMDB
54 List of books and documentaries by or about Bobby Fischer Wikipedia
55 Long Live the Queen Wikipedia
56 Maximum Shame [2010] Chess Craft
57 Me and Bobby Fischer Wikipedia
58 Odysseus’ Gambit Wikipedia
59 Patrie (1946) IMDB
60 Return from the Ashes (1965) IMDB
61 Shatranj Ke Khilari Wikipedia
62 Shawshank Redemption
Unreality Mag
63 Silence of the Lambs
Unreality Mag
64 Star Wars
Unreality Mag
65 Steam Above a Pot (1950) IMDB
66 The Chess Set Wikipedia
67 The Creatures (1966) IMDB
68 The Grass Arena Wikipedia
69 The Lookout Ranker
70 The Tournament Wikipedia
71 Vesyoloye snovideniye, ili smekh i slyozy (1976 TV Movie) IMDB
72 War Games
Unreality Mag
73 Zatoichi and the Chess Expert Wikipedia


10 Best Chess Film Sources/Lists



Source Article
Chess Craft ChessCraft: 17 Movies about chess, to inspire you in your next game.
Chess Mates Good Movies that Happen to be Chess Movies
Chess Tutor Top 10 best movies about chess
IMDB Best Movies about Chess
IMDB Movies about chess
Rafaelleitao Top 7 Best Chess Movies
Ranker Best Chess Movies
The Spruce Five Great Movies About Chess
Unreality Mag Eight Awesome Chess Moments in Movies
Wikipedia Category:Films about chess

 

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