Go Filmography - Films

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 1) A Beautiful Mind
    Year: 2001
    Directed by: Ron Howard
    Cast: Russell Crowe, Ed Harris
    Source: IMDB
    Comment: A Beautiful Mind is the story of Prof. John Forbes Nash, Jr., 
      who won the Nobel Prize for Economics for his game theories but suffered 
      from paranoid schizophrenia. Nash is a long time member of the American Go 

      The first scene, from 8.5 to 10.5 minutes in, starts with Martin Hansen 
      (played by Josh Lucas) finishing a game with Sol (Adam Goldberg) and Sol
      declaring he has had enough Go. It is just one of several games being played
      perched on the benches outside at Princeton. Nash is challenged to a game 
      by Hansen, with the words "Are you scared?" Nash then replies "Terrified, 
      mortified, petrified, stupefied, by you."

      They talk about research as the game progresses and the camera often zooms 
      in on the board which is balanced on two small suitcases. The stones are in
      old orange tins. A large group of Nash's is wrapped up into a dango and captured. 
      At this point he throws a tantrum claiming the game is obviously flawed, since 
      he had the first move and his play was perfect. He knocks the board over
      as he stands up to storm off. 

      The (uncredited) Go consultant was Janice Kim, so the game and capture are 
      credible enough, except that the editing shows the position developing in 
      the wrong order. The scene takes place to the music "A Game of Go" by 
      James Horner which features Charlotte Church vocalising.
      Nash is challenged by Hansen to another game right at the end of the film 
      (105 to 105.25 minutes in). 

      In addition there are two more sequences featuring Go in the deleted scenes 
      section of the DVD: one where Nash picks up a dropped white stone and stares 
      at it on the board for inspiration as the light fades and another where he 
      busts a game between two friends in a study in order to show them his new hex-game. 
      He adds "I prefer Chess."

 2) Pi
    Year: 1998
    Directed by: Darren Aronofask
    Cast: Sean Gullette, Mark Margolis
    Source: IMDB
    Comment: This movie is filmed in black and white so Go fits in well visually.
      The main character Max Cohen (Sean Gullette) plays Go against his old professor 
      Sol Robeson (Mark Margolis) in the professor's flat. They play in three scenes 
      and as they play they discuss philosophy and even some Go philosophy:

        Max: "But as a Go game progresses, the possibilities become smaller and 
              smaller, the board does take on order... So maybe, even though we 
              are not sophisticated enough to be aware of it, there is a pattern, 
              an order underlying every Go game."
        Sol: "This is insanity. Max... You're losing it!"
      Max also holds a black stone and studies it while riding the subway, and
      also we see some Go game sequences when he has flash thoughts.
      The final Go scene has a spiral pattern laid on the board (not part
      of a game). The documentary on the DVD shows crew members, Sean and Luke,
      playing Go in a yard - using gold and silver painted washers for stones. 
      The Go advisors are listed as Barbara Calhoun, Michael Solomon and Dan Wiener,
      and the Brooklyn Go Club is thanked in the credits.       

 3) Tron: Legacy
    Year: 2010
    Directed by: Joseph Kosinski
    Cast: Jeff Bridges, Garrett Hedlund, Olivia Wilde
    Source: IMDB
    Comment: In one scene Sam Flynn (Hedlund) and Quorra (Wilde) are playing a game on a Go ban. 
       Quorra comments her patience usually overcomes her aggressive strategy. The stones are 
       slightly smaller than usual and the board is light with a black border. It was Olivia Wilde 
       that suggested using Go in the movie.

4) The International
    Year: 2009
    Directed by: Tom Tykwer
    Cast: Clive Owen, Naomi Watts, Ulrich Thomsen
    Source: IMDB
    Comment: A thriller about an Interpol agent who tries to take down a corrupt bank. 
       54:30 in, the scene is the Luxembourg hill-top mansion of the evil banker, 
       Jonas Skarssen (played by Thomsen). He is playing Go and discusses it with his son
       Cassian (played by Benjamin Wandschneider) in Danish, with English subtitles. The 
       board position is about 30 moves in. The boy is told something like that he sometimes
       has to act like a man to make his move. They are interrupted by a video call from
       the other bankers. Afterwards he asks the son what you should do if you are in too deep
       with no way out. To which the son answers that you should go in deeper.

 5) Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison 
    Year: 1957
    Directed by: John Huston
    Cast: Deborah Kerr, Robert Mitchum
    Source: IMDB
    Comment: Based on the book is by Charles Shaw.
      The first scene lasts 14 seconds. Allison is hidden in a dark corner of
      the store room as he tries to steal food. Two Japanese, one might be a chef
      rather than a soldier, clear a box, lift down a 3cm Go ban with Go bowls.
      The player on the right knows his colour and pushes the white bowl to the
      other who balances bowl and lid on his knees. Black slaps a stone down
      top-left (5-3?) and white replies top-right. We hear the click of stones
      whilst we see the hidden Allison. After a cut to Sister Angela who is
      worried why Allison is missing, we return for a scene that lasts nearly a
      minute. The board is now nearly full. The players laugh as if a rip-off has
      just been played. The chef pours from a huge sake bottle whilst the other
      hides his eyes. They have skilfully left territory in front of themselves
      for the very large sake cups. They start another game. For 27 seconds we
      hear the click of stones as a rat runs over Mr Allison, then we return to
      the game for another 45 seconds. The second game is now finished. One
      players declares he is sad and is going to the dormitory and they leave
      without packing the stones away. 

      In a later scene that lasts over a minute: after the Japanese have temporarily
      left the desert island, sister Angela says "I think I've mastered this, 
      this Japanese game. It's a bit like Draughts." She fetches the board. 
      Allison admits to having never played Draughts only Craps. She offers 
      to teach him and starts to set the white stones Draughts style, explaining 
      you simply have to capture each other's men. He declares he is not 
      interested and she says she is therefore going to bed. 
      For reference the Go scenes start 47.5 and 76.75 minutes into the film.
 6) Restless
    Year: 1998
    Directed by: Jule Gilfillan
    Cast: Catherine Kellner, Elizabeth Sung
    Source: IMDB
    Comment: Leah is adrift, restless and landing in Beijing after a string 
      of flights from failed romances, she falls in with other expatriates. 
      A chance encounter with a young Go master she saw on TV leads to a
      relationship. Along the way, we see Go on TV, on the street, in a
      club and at home. On TV, Master Sun (played by Geng Li) teaches how to 
      "attack from a distance". With an inevitability, the insight Leah gains 
      enables her to turn the tables on the cad who jilted her, and jilt him 
      right back. "Restless" is the first English-language film made in modern 
      Beijing, and the first US-China cooperative film-making venture. Arrow  
      Features, 98 minutes. Note there have been later movies with the same title.

 7) Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
    Year: 2000
    Directed by: Ang Lee
    Cast: Yun-Far Chow, Michelle Yeoh
    Source: IMDB
    Comment: During the calligraphy scene, the two female lead characters 
      are sitting together and a decorated brown Go table can be seen in  
      the background. On the board are two black bowls with white flowers 
      painted on. The board surface looks dark with white lines. They do 
      not use it to play Go, but as a table for their tea cups (also the 
      fate for a Chinese Chess board later in the film).

 8) Just Like Heaven
    Year: 2005
    Directed by: Mark Waters
    Cast: Mark Ruffalo, Reese Witherspoon
    Source: IMDB
    Comment: The main character is viewing flats to rent in San Francisco. At 4:06
      he visits a Japanese-style flat with low tables, pillows and what might be 
      a Goban. "Where's the furniture?" he asks.

 9) Night Train
    Year: 2009
    Directed by: Brian King
    Cast: Danny Glover, Leelee Sobieski, Steve Zahn
    Source: IMDB
    Comment: A low budget thriller on the theme of how greed can drive a person to
      do terrible things. The action is set on an overnight train in Northern Europe
      when two passengers and a conductor find a dead passenger with lots of diamonds
      and decide to dispose of the body in order to keep the diamonds. The film cuts 
      several times from the action to two Asian men playing a game at a table on the 
      train, who are shown twice in the trailer. The game is not a real position.
10) Sleeping Beauty
    Year: 2011
    Directed by: Julia Leigh
    Cast: Emily Browning, Rachael Blake, Ewen Leslie
    Source: IMDB YouTube
    Comment: In this film about a student who sleeps in clients' beds for a living, an Australian
      lecturer is teaching an auditorium of students. He starts with "Let's get Go-ing" and talks 
      about moves 129 and 130 of one of the games of Honinbo Shusai, the diagram displayed on a 

11) Heathers
    Year: 1989
    Directed by: Michael Lehmann
    Cast: Winona Ryder, Christian Slater, Shannen Doherty, Lisanne Falk
    Source: IMDB
    Comment: Just before the hanging scene, you see Veronica's room, looking down, with 
      a flat Go board with some stones scattered on it resting on a small table.

12) Mr Nice
    Year: 2010
    Directed by: Bernard Rose
    Source: IMDB
    Cast: Rhys Ifans, Chloe Sevigny, David Thewlis
    Comment: The biopic of drug smuggler Howard Marks who revealed in his autobiography 
      of the same title that he played Go. In the film a woman is seen playing Go, 
      but not with a real position, for about a minute, 19 minutes in.

13) Dangerous Moves (La Diagonale du Fou)
    Year: 1984
    Directed by: Richard Dembo
    Cast: Michel Piccoli, Liv Ullmann,
    Source: IMDB
    Watch: YouTube (French + Spanish Subtitles 
    Comment: In this French film Michel Piccoli plays a Chess master called Akiva Liebskind,
      and to rest sometimes he plays Go with his friend (23.38 minutes in). They sit in arm
      chairs in a drawing room and bend over a goban, quite full with stones. They place stones 
      as they talk about the recent Chess game. The scene lasts 100 seconds and ends with a
      close up of the Chess master who is rattling the stones in his hand with a clicking sound.

14) Tokyo Rififi (Rififi a Tokyo)
    Year: 1963
    Directed by: Jacques Deray
    Cast: Keiko Kishi, Charles Vanel, Michel Vitold, Masao Oda, Eiji Okada
    Trailer: YouTube
    Source: IMDB
    Comment: In a brief scene in this French gem heist movie set in Tokyo, we see 
      the inside of a Tokyo Go Club; full of smoke and of Go players. A man (Masao
      Oda) can be seen at a Go board in the trailer (at 1:50). He is seated at a 
      goban, with the bowls and sake on a table to the side. He holds a Go book 
      in one hand and a gun in the other.

15) Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III
    Year: 1993
    Directed by: Stuart Gillard
    Cast: Elias Koteas, Paige Turco, Stuart Wilson (II), Vivian Wu
    Source: IMDB
    Comment: The turtles are transported back to Japan in 1603 and fight the
      local lord and his evil western gun trader, whilst the prince and four
      guards are brought to the present. The master of the turtles in a short 
      scene plays Go.

16) Wild Palms
    Year: 1993
    Directed by: Kathryn Bigelow
    Cast: James Belushi, Dana Delany, Robert Loggia
    Source: IMDB
    Comment: A Go board can be seen.

17) The Pillow Book
    Year: 1996
    Directed by: Peter Greenaway
    Cast: Vivian Wu, Yoshi Oida, Ken Ogata, Ewan McGregor
    Source: IMDB
    Comment: This film is about a Japanese woman who collects body calligraphy
      from her lovers and records it in her pillow book. One person drinks himself 
      to death and dares to put a whisky glass and some pills on a Go board!

18) Little Buddha 
    Year: 1993
    Directed by:  Bernardo Bertolucci
    Cast: Keanu Reeves, Roucheng Ling, Bridget Fonda
    Source: IMDB
    Comment: In one scene a Goban can be seen.

19) Brotherhood of the Rose
    Year: 1989
    Directed by: Marvin J. Chomsky
    Cast: Robert Mitchum, Peter Strauss, Connie Selleca
    Source: IMDB
    Watch: YouTube Part 1 YouTube Part 2
    Comment: A thriller (two-part TV movie). Towards the end of part 2, at
      56:49 we see the main character John Eliot (Robert Mitchum) seated at a 
      table on the terrace of the New Zealand retreat for retired agents. He 
      is playing Go against one of his agents, though it looks more like 
      Five-in-a-row. We also get two shots over Eliot's shoulder of the agent
      playing some moves. It is based on a novel by David Morrell that has a 
      Go scene in a dojo.  

20) Come See the Paradise
    Year: 1990
    Directed by: Alan Parker
    Cast: Dennis Quaid, Tamlyn Tomita
    Source: IMDB
    Comment: In this movie is set around 1942 and the internment of Japanese
      Americans that splits an American, Jack McGurn (played by Quaid) from 
      his wife and baby. In one scene McGurn enters a Japanese men's club in 
      San Francisco where two old men can be seen playing Go.

21) Tokyo Joe
    Year: 1949
    Directed by: Stuart Heisler
    Cast: Humphrey Bogart
    Source: IMDB
    Comment: In this movie, set in post-WW2 Tokyo, there are two
      brief scenes in which two people are playing Go. However,
      from the disposition of the stones, they could be playing

22) Genealogies d'un Crime (Genealogies of a Crime)
    Year: 1997
    Directed by: Raul Ruiz
    Cast: Catherine Deneuve, Michel Piccoli
    Watch: YouTube
    Source: IMDB
    Comment: A French film in which the main character (played Deneuve) is
      a Go player, as seen by the board with game in progress seen while she 
      sleeps in her bedroom at 3:27. In fact stills of a Go game are used 
      over a period of narration from 1:44 to 2:16, and whenever the passage
      of time is needed during the film (at 39:36, 65:17, 80:37, 91:25 and 
      1:06:05). It shows various positions from the same game, obviously taken 
      from the diagrams in a game record, as the captured stones are not
      removed from each position, but are gone from later positions. There are
      various overhead shots, showing nice glass stones and bowls at the
      corners, variously with zooms and spin-shots. 

23) Bis ans Ende der Welt (Until the End of the World)
    Year: 1991
    Directed by: Wim Wenders
    Cast: Pietro Falcone, William Hurt, Sam Niell
    Source: IMDB
    Comment: In one scene a Go board can be seen.

24) M. Butterfly
    Year: 1993
    Directed by: David Cronenberg
    Cast: Jeremy Irons, John Lone, Ian Richardson
    Source: IMDB
    Watch: YouTube
    Comment: There is a brief scene of people playing Go in the movie.
      It is about a male Chinese opera star, Song Liling, who had a long term 
      affair with a European male diplomat, who did not discover the opera singer
      was a man throughout the entire affair. The scene occurs at 68:09. It
      is after the cultural revolution when many peasants were living in the
      house that formerly belonged to a wealthy family. The main character,
      Rene Gallimard (Irons) enters the courtyard of the house and find it
      full of people, children, honking geese and so on. There are two old 
      men seated on stools at right-angles to a goban, with bowls on the floor. 
      It seems odd since Go itself was suppressed during the cultural revolution,
      but that's Hollywood.

25) Elektra
    Year: 2005
    Directed by: Rob Bowman
    Cast: Jennifer Garner
    Source: IMDB
    Comment: Despite the web site trailer for this film featuring a goban, there 
      is none in the film. The Director's Cut DVD does however contain, in the 
      alternative scenes section a Go beginning and Go end for the movie. It is 
      thought the whole action of the movie was meant to represent an epic Go game,
      but without the Go scenes this meaning is lost.

26) 1941
    Year: 1979
    Directed by: Steven Spielberg    
    Cast: John Belushi, Sam Pickens
    Source: IMDB
    Comment: In this whacky comedy about defending the USA from the Japanese,
      the heroes are captured by a Japanese submarine on which the crew play 
      Go whilst guarding them. 

27) Red Corner
    Year: 1997
    Directed by: Jon Avnet
    Cast: Richard Gere, Ling Bai
    Source: IMDB
    Comment: A thriller in which the lawyer played by Gere is accused of
      murder. There is a short scene where, while the main character is 
      interrogated, two guards in the background are playing Go.

28) Level Five
    Year: 1997
    Directed by: Chris Marker
    Cast: Catherine Belkhodja, Kenji Tokitsu, Nagisa Oshima
    Source: IMDB
    Comment: Laura, a French programmer, is tasked with finishing a video game based on the WWII
      battle of Okinawa. She eventually discovers after a lot of research and interviews with 
      survivors that the correct metaphor for war is not the game's level five, but Go. French language.
29) The Hedgehog (Le Herisson) 
    Year: 2008
    Directed by: Mona Achache
    Cast: Josiane Balasco, Garance Le Guillermic, Togo Igawa
    Source: IMDB
    Watch: YouTube
    Comment: Based on the novel "The Elegance of the Hedgehog" by Muriel Barbery.  
      The girl, Paloma, plays Go against Kakuro Ozu who lives in the same apartment 
      block, in a scene from 38:44 to 39:15. They have a 2cm and wooden bowls with 
      lots of stones in the lids. We first see an overhead of Paloma connecting 
      an atari, followed by a view of the scene with a small Japanese girl passing 
      the white stones to Ozu. Several moves are played. French language.

30) Age of the Dragons
    Year: 2011
    Directed by: Ryan Little
    Cast: Danny Glover, Vinnie Jones, Corey Sevier
    Source: IMDB
    Comment: In this version of Moby Dick with dragons not whales, a tattered goban is shown for 
       about ten seconds with a few scattered natural stones on it. It is just there as decoration 
       of an interior and as a target for a fist of an angry character.

31) War Games: The Dead Code
    Year: 2008
    Directed by: Stuart Gillard
    Cast: Matt Lanta, Amanda Walsh, Colm Feore
    Source: IMDB
    Comment: A straight-to-video follow up to 1983's War Games. When the computer is being bombarded 
           with online games, pop-ups of Go games can be seen among games of Chess and so on.

32) Balance of Power (Hidden Tiger)
    Year: 1996
    Directed by: Rick Bennett
    Cast: Billy Blanks, Mako, Lisa Yamanaka
    Source: IMDB
    Watch: YouTube    
    Comment: A typical Billy Blanks martial arts movie where 18:30 in the 
      stereotypical bad Asian rich guy, Hatashita, plays Go with the stereotypical 
      bad Asian fighter, Takamura. The board is shown and it does not even look like
      Five-in-a-row let alone Go. Takamura loses and is upset. When their local 
      contact, Slater, asks about the loss, Slater adds that it not exactly Chess.
      In reply he is told by Hatashita that "Chess is a game for harmless intellectuals. 
      Go is a game for warriors". We then hear Hatashita putting the stones back in the bowls.

33) Le Faucon (The Hawk)
    Year: 1983
    Directed by: Paul Boujenah
    Cast: Francis Huster, Guy Pannequin, Maruschka Detmers
    Source: IMDB
    Watch: YouTube
    Comment: After the opening sequence of this French thriller, where he flashes back to the
      crash that killed his wife and left his child in a coma, at 10:15 in the main character puts his 
      foot by a Go board and picks up a gun from it. As well as the gun there is a coffee cup and
      disarranged stones suggesting he had not played a game for while.

      At 56:53 a two minute scene shows him visiting an old man in a wheel chair who is seated
      at a board with some stones laid out and two wooden bowls. The hero jolts the table and 
      the stones wobble. Then he sweeps the stones off and tips the white bowl onto the board
      and uses the white stones and one black stone to explain his plan to the old man.


34) Three Came Home
    Year: 1950
    Directed by: Jean Negulesco
    Cast: Claudette Colbert, Patric Knowles, Sessue Hayakawa
    Source: IMDB 
    Comment: Biography of Agnes Newton Keith who was interned during WWII by the Japanese 
      on the island of Borneo. There is a very brief scene, about twenty one minutes in and 
      which lasts about four seconds, where you see two Japanese soldiers in an office, 
      doing guard duty, passing the time sitting at a table and playing Go. The positions 
      look a bit over-concentrated and not natural. The guy on the left plays left handed, 
      taking a white stone from his bowl and capturing a black.

35) Videodrome 
    Year: 1983
    Directed by: David Cronenburg
    Cast: James Wood, Deborah Harry
    Source: IMDB
    Comment: 32 minutes in, a folding Go board is partly visible amongst
      the objects buried on Max Renn's table as he leans on it and smokes.

36) Dr. No 
    Year: 1962
    Directed by: Terrence Young
    Cast: Sean Connery, Ursula Andress, Bernard Lee
    Source: IMDB
    Watch: Scene on YouTube   
    Comment: When Bond visits Dr. No in his apartment, to the right of the door that Dr. No
      enters through is a large 2m tall painting of a typical Chinese Go scene. There are 
      players seated at a table with others watching, one of whom appears to be the master,
      and a child standing to the left. It is not distinct and is quite a faint brown tint.   

37) Stutterer 
    Year: 2015
    Directed by: Benjamin Cleary
    Cast: Matthew Needham, Chloe Pirrie, Eric Richards
    Source: IMDB Website
    Comment: Only 15 minutes long, this short film set in London was nominated for best short
      at the 2016 Academy Awards. The main character, Greenwood, has trouble communicating
      with others because of his bad stutter. A crisis occurs when his Internet girlfriend
      comes to visit, who does not know about his stutter. In one scene Greenwood plays Go
      with his father. 

38) My Golden Days (orig. Trois Souvenirs de ma Jeunesse)
    Year: 2015
    Directed by: Arnaud Desplechin
    Cast: Mathieu Amalric, Quentin Dolmaire, Lou Roy-Lecollinet
    Source: IMDB
    Watch: Trailer on YouTube 
    Comment: In this French movie a middle age man's identity is questioned and he flashes              
      back to three periods of his younger life. In one we see a new girlfriend being taught
      Go for a few seconds.  

30) Escape Plan 2: Hades 
    Year: 2018
    Directed by: Steven C. Miller
    Cast: Sylvester Stallone, David Bautista
    Source: IMDB
    Watch: Trailer on IMDB  
    Comment: The team have to break into the best hidden prison and release their fellow. 
      At the start of the trailer it shows the two stars sitting in front of a large window on
      to a busy street, playing Go sat at a small table with wooden Go bowls.

31) Knives Out 
    Year: 2019
    Directed by: Rian Johnson
    Cast: Daniel Craig, Christopher Plummer, Chris Evans, Ana de Armas
    Source: IMDB
    Watch: Trailer on IMDB
    Comment: This comedy whodunnit movie, about the death of an old wealthy gentleman and crime 
      author (Harlan Thrombey),  has in its official trailer close ups of two Go stones being placed 
      on a board (from 52 seconds) and the stones and board then clattering to the floor. 

      The game of Go is central to the plot and the first mention is blaming a load bump on being
      when the board was tipped over. A little later, in flashback, we see the game between Harlan
      (Christopher Plummer) against his nurse Marta (Ana de Armas), which we are told is what they
      do each night. They sit at right-angles at a low table and have the good quality stones in
      bags.  She says to play 9x9 and they slap stones down instantly on the middle part of a 19x19. 
      She admits her winning strategy is to make pretty shapes and Harlan says he would need an
      earthquake to strike to stop her winning. He then simulates one with his legs under the table
      ultimately tipping it over to reveal a 13x13 board on the back when the board and stones end
      on the floor. This also jumbles up his medicine bottles which is relevant to his death. We are
      also given a one line summary of the rules and told that Harlan's grandson Ransom (Chris Evans)
      also plays, though we don't see him do so. 


Last updated Wed Dec 18 2019. If you have any comments, please email the webmaster on web-master AT britgo DOT org.