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Bobby Fischer Against the World


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Product Details

  • Actors: Bobby Fischer
  • Directors: Liz Garbus
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Docurama
  • DVD Release Date: December 6, 2011
  • Run Time: 90 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B005CB6MPE
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #43,480 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Product Description

In 1972, America was chess-obsessed. The Soviet Union used chess to demonstrate its intellectual superiority to the West, but along came a young, lone American, who demolished the Russian masters of the sport. At the height of his career, Bobby Fischer was better known than any other man in the world. Relentless press attention, political pressure and a monomaniacal focus on chess ultimately led to his undoing.

Filmmaker Liz Garbus uses the narrative tension of the 1972 match between Fischer and the defending World Champion, the Russian Boris Spassky, to explore not only the politically charged period of the early 1970s but also the nature of genius, madness and the game of chess itself.

Special Features

  • A History of Chess
  • The Fight for Fischer s Estate

Review

Brilliant, haunting, avid and beautifully inquiring --Entertainment Weekly

a haunting portrait of the chess genius as an incandescent prodigy and horrifying old crank --Village Voice

Garbus has put together a complex and fascinating portrait of genius wasted --The Hollywood Reporter

Customer Reviews

Pretty sad what happened to him at the end.
Rick
It gives an education into his life, mindset, background and, the lives of other geniuses.
Jeffrey Labowski
The piece really focuses in, however, as Fischer readies for the infamous competition.
K. Harris

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
Few people, to me, are more inherently fascinating than chess legend Bobby Fischer. Walking a complicated line between genius and madman, Liz Garbus' incisive documentary "Bobby Fischer Against the World" does a fine job highlighting this dichotomy. From a troubled and isolated childhood, to international superstardom, to recluse, to fugitive--Fischer's life had such a dramatic arc that ninety minutes doesn't seem quite adequate to complete a full picture. And yet, Garbus does manage to cover about fifty years in the life of the largest celebrity the chess world has ever seen. When Fischer took the stage to compete against Soviet grandmaster Boris Spassky in the 1972 World Championship, the world paid attention in astounding ways. Fischer almost single handedly turned chess into a spectator sport. But he was never very comfortable in the limelight and the pressures and expectations certainly took their toll.

The centerpiece of "Bobby Fischer Against the World" is the 1972 match. We are introduced to Fischer as a youth through archival footage and given a glimpse of his unorthodox upbringing. The piece really focuses in, however, as Fischer readies for the infamous competition. The Fischer presented is complicated, to say the least, but also a brilliant strategist. The series was riddled with drama and controversy and remains as intense and as intriguing now as it did then. The world wanted to embrace Fischer, but he just wanted to play chess without what he deemed the annoying encumbrances of fame (which was just about anything involving media coverage as far as I could tell). It's not like he was looking for anonymity, though. He wanted to be recognized as the best, he just wanted it on his own terms.
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30 of 38 people found the following review helpful By K. Swanson TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 7, 2011
Format: DVD
3.4 stars

I was in early grade school when Fischer played Spassky, and I got so swept up in the Fischer-inspired Chess Boom (seems such a quaint idea now) that I ended up playing matches over the phone for hours every night by the time I was 12. Captain of the high school chess team as a sophomore, I was poised to rule the world. And then, suddenly...the CIA!!

I kid (about the Agency, I really was a chess geek though), yet Fischer's madness is one area this film spends a lot of time on while refusing to really probe from both sides. WHY did Fischer get so into the Protocols Of Zion and risk his whole "career" to talk about Zionist conspiracies? He's shown to be brilliant, but then derided out of hand as insane, given zero credit for being able to perhaps see a few moves ahead of the rest of us. Yet the most startling thing in this whole film for me was the early interview where he mentions that he likes reading about water pollution (this was years before the media paid it much mind at all) and how the government controls us. Not many folks were saying that out loud at that point, let alone young chess prodigies. And how many chess prodigies worked out like a boxing champion?

Fischer seemed exceptionally poised and alert then, and it struck me that a mind that sharp will always see the world a few moves ahead of most other people. He was well ahead of his time in terms of ecological concern, but of course this film shows clearly that Fischer's crazy theories of Zionist bankers destroying the world economy via the constant inflation of money supplies while controlling currencies were obviously totally insane.

What a nut! Yet he seems actually very lucid until the end in Iceland.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Dhaval Vyas on January 18, 2013
Format: Amazon Instant Video
For those who do not play chess or know anything about it, the game is something that is commonly referenced in books, poetry, movies, etc. It is seen as somewhat of a metaphor for happenings in real life. For those who play chess and are in love with the game, it is something of an art or science, or something cosmic that is unexplainable. They may often be frustrated as to why the majority of society does not share their passion.

Chess has survived for thousands of years and is arguably the hardest game in the world. Through the eons, if there is one name or one master that has towered above anyone else, it is the American Bobby Fischer. When Fischer defeated Boris Spassky in 1972, the match created more publicity than any other chess event in history (even more than when IBM's computer Deep Blue defeated Garry Kasparov in 1996). A lone American had defeated the mighty Soviet chess machine during the cold war. What should have been just the beginning of an already great career for Fischer, it was actually just the end.

Bobby Fischer made one of the great disappearances of any famous person of the 20th century. He did not die, but was as elusive as Bigfoot after he won the world championship. For those who encountered him only would end of becoming frustrated because they realized he was slowly going insane. 20 years after winning the Championship (1992), Fischer reappeared to play Spassky for another match. When he appeared, it became even more obvious that the man had lost his mind. When the September 11th attacks happened, Fischer shocked the world when he applauded the acts on a radio program. He never played again and passed away in 2008.
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