Top 15… Chess Scenes In Movies


Chess. It’s really boring, right? Wrong. Try telling that to Rutger Hauer, Jeff Goldblum, Humphrey Bogart and Ted bleedin’ Danson. Chess is flipping ace. Here’s why.

15. The Thomas Crown Affair

Okay, let’s get this one over with early. Of course we have to include the famous chess match from original Thomas Crown Affair because it’s so iconic, but it’s also very, very dull, and is shot like an outtake from an Emmanuelle movie. Give us Pierce Brosnan and Rene Russo writhing around on a marble staircase any day.

14. X-Men

Chess is all over the X-Men movies like a rash. You can see where Inception stole its ending from HERE and get a glimpse of young Magneto and Xavier discussing politics over a game HERE but the best chess comes at the end of the first X-Men movie, when the two older men go head-to-head with some plastic pieces. Not as erotic as it sounds.

13. Saturn 3

A truly bizarre film and a truly bizarre game of chess. Kirk Douglas and Farrah Fawcett get to grips with Harvey Keitel and a mad chess machine in the terrible but terrribly fascinating Saturn 3.

12. Casablanca

Of all the chessboards in all the bars in all the world… Humphrey Bogart loved chess and can be seen playing it in several of his movies. For Casablanca, he wanted his character Rick to be a chess hound, simply because he could. Now that’s star power.

11. Revolver

While a bit of a messy film, you have to hand it to Guy Ritchie for making chess look pretty exciting in Revolver. And making us believe that The Stath can play it.

10. From Russia With Love

One of the best Bonds, From Russia…doesn’t need explosions or boats steaming down the Thames – all it needs is a bit of rook action.

9. Knights of the South Bronx

Okay, so this one is a bit ridiculous, but if you want a movie where Ted Danson teaches underprivileged kids how to play chess, then this is the movie for you.

8. History of the World: Part 1

Mel Brooks rattles through the greatest moments of history. Including a live chess match with people as pieces.

7. Blazing Saddles

Brooks honed his chess skills a few years earlier in Blazing Saddles.

Here is the quickest way to get someone to suggest a game of chess..

And here is why you need a steady hand to play…

6. Blade Runner

The name is Roy Batty/The logic is erratic/Potato in a jacket/Chessboard in the attic… this Blade Runner/Ferngully crossover gag doing anything for ya?

5. An American Werewolf In London

Rik Mayall. Comedy legend. But not as good a chess player as the guy from the Tetley Tea adverts.

4. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

For the love of Hogwarts, Ron… please just get off the stupid horse. You don’t need to be on it. Quit being a hero.

3. The Seventh Seal

Inspired by the famous games-playing sequence in Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey, Death and Father Merrin have some chess action on the beach. Bergman… what a hack.

2. Independence Day

Uh… John… your chess players were so, uh, preoccupied with whether or not they could… that they didn’t, uh, stop to think if they should.

1. The Thing

Nobody… but nobody… beats Kurt Russell at chess. Easy for ZX Spectrums though.



10 Responses to “Top 15… Chess Scenes In Movies”

  1. Top one worst chess scenes
    1. The Last Castle (it’s a chess analogy, you see)

    Robert Redford: Hmm, pretty good. You have check-mate in five moves.
    [moves a piece]
    Some Mexi dude: How come you’re still playing if I have check mate in five moves?
    Robert Redford: ‘Cause I have check-mate in three.

  2. why didn’t they call it The Last Rook?

  3. […] THE MOVIE BATTLEGROUND « Top 15… Chess Scenes In Movies […]

  4. It’s a great list!

  5. However.. I do feel like there are a couple more missing.. Like the chess scene in 2001:A Space Odyssey..

  6. Anon E. Mousse Says:

    > 3. The Seventh Seal
    > Inspired by the famous games-playing sequence in Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey, Death and Father Merrin have some chess action on the beach. Bergman… what a hack.

    Um…”Bill and Ted…” was filmed in 1989. “The Seventh Seal” was filmed in 1957. There’s no way Ingmar Bergman could have copied a film that didn’t even exist during his time 😛

  7. Old Soul… good choice! Should have got that one in.

    Anon E. Mousse… wow, you’re bright.

  8. I can’t quite tell because there may be part of the board that doesn’t show, but in the closing scene of the first X-Men movie, it doesn’t appear that Dr. Xavier actually has Magneto in checkmate, yet Magneto knocks over his own king as if he’s been defeated.

  9. Tessa Dunn Says:

    Chess for me is a way to show that people playing it are smart. Maybe this is a reason, it’s used in movies depicting challenges.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: