19A) Knives Out
Directed by: Rian Johnson
Cast: Daniel Craig, Christopher Plummer, Chris Evans, Ana de Armas
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.
18A) Escape Plan 2: Hades
Directed by: Steven C. Miller
Cast: Sylvester Stallone, David Bautista
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.
15A) My Golden Days (orig. Trois Souvenirs de ma Jeunesse)
Directed by: Arnaud Desplechin
Cast: Mathieu Amalric, Quentin Dolmaire, Lou Roy-Lecollinet
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, at 34:30, we see a new girlfriend being
taught Go for a few seconds. After being told about borders and territory she gets bored
and balances a white stone on her eye.
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, at 3:08, Greenwood
plays Go with his father on a table in the garden. They use a flat board and flat stones
held in flat trays. It looks like a real game apart from stones have all been jogged in one
corner into a mess.
11A) Age of the Dragons
Directed by: Ryan Little
Cast: Danny Glover, Vinnie Jones, Corey Sevier
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.
11B) Sleeping Beauty
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 screen.
10A) Mr Nice
Directed by: Bernard Rose
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.
10B) Tron: Legacy
Directed by: Joseph Kosinski
Cast: Jeff Bridges, Garrett Hedlund, Olivia Wilde
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.
09A) The International
Directed by: Tom Tykwer
Cast: Clive Owen, Naomi Watts, Ulrich Thomsen
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.
09B) Night Train
Directed by: Brian King
Cast: Danny Glover, Leelee Sobieski, Steve Zahn
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.
08A) The Hedgehog (Le Herisson)
Directed by: Mona Achache
Cast: Josiane Balasco, Garance Le Guillermic, Togo Igawa
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.
08B) WarGames: The Dead Code
Directed by: Stuart Gillard
Cast: Matt Lanta, Amanda Walsh, Colm Feore
Comment: A straight-to-video follow up to 1983's WarGames. When the computer is being
bombarded with online games, pop-ups of Go games can be seen among games of Chess,
Draughts (Checkers) and Noughts-and-Crosses (Tic-Tac-Toe). Note the Go boards do not
show real games, just stone placements.
Directed by: Rob Bowman
Cast: Jennifer Garner
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.
05B) Just Like Heaven
Year: 2005 Directed by: Mark Waters
Cast: Mark Ruffalo, Reese Witherspoon
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.
01A) A Beautiful Mind
Directed by: Ron Howard
Cast: Russell Crowe, Ed Harris
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 was 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."
00A) Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
Directed by: Ang Lee
Cast: Yun-Far Chow, Michelle Yeoh
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).
Directed by: Darren Aronofask
Cast: Sean Gullette, Mark Margolis
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.
Directed by: Jule Gilfillan
Cast: Catherine Kellner, Elizabeth Sung
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.
97A) Genealogies d'un Crime (Genealogies of a Crime)
Directed by: Raul Ruiz
Cast: Catherine Deneuve, Michel Piccoli
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.
97B) Level Five
Directed by: Chris Marker
Cast: Catherine Belkhodja, Kenji Tokitsu, Nagisa Oshima
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.
97C) Red Corner
Directed by: Jon Avnet
Cast: Richard Gere, Ling Bai
Comment: A thriller set in China in which the lawyer played by Gere is falsely accused
of murder. There is a short scene where, while the main character is interrogated, it
has been claimed that two guards in the background are playing Go, but a Chinese Chess
board is shown.
96A) Balance of Power (Hidden Tiger)
Directed by: Rick Bennett
Cast: Billy Blanks, Mako, Lisa Yamanaka
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.
96B) The Pillow Book
Directed by: Peter Greenaway
Cast: Vivian Wu, Yoshi Oida, Ken Ogata, Ewan McGregor
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!
93A) Little Buddha
Directed by: Bernardo Bertolucci
Cast: Keanu Reeves, Roucheng Ling, Bridget Fonda
Comment: In one scene a Goban can be seen.
93B) M. Butterfly
Directed by: David Cronenberg
Cast: Jeremy Irons, John Lone, Ian Richardson
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.
93C) Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III
Directed by: Stuart Gillard
Cast: Elias Koteas, Paige Turco, Stuart Wilson (II), Vivian Wu
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.
93D) Wild Palms
Directed by: Kathryn Bigelow
Cast: James Belushi, Dana Delany, Robert Loggia
Comment: A Go board can be seen.
91A) Bis ans Ende der Welt (Until the End of the World)
Directed by: Wim Wenders
Cast: Pietro Falcone, William Hurt, Sam Niell
Comment: In one scene a Go board can be seen.
90A) Come See the Paradise
Directed by: Alan Parker
Cast: Dennis Quaid, Tamlyn Tomita
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 briefly be seen playing Go in the background (32:30 in).
89A) Brotherhood of the Rose
Directed by: Marvin J. Chomsky
Cast: Robert Mitchum, Peter Strauss, Connie Selleca
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.
Directed by: Michael Lehmann
Cast: Winona Ryder, Christian Slater, Shannen Doherty, Lisanne Falk
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.
84A) Dangerous Moves (La Diagonale du Fou)
Directed by: Richard Dembo
Cast: Michel Piccoli, Liv Ullmann,
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.
83A) Le Faucon (The Hawk)
Directed by: Paul Boujenah
Cast: Francis Huster, Guy Pannequin, Maruschka Detmers
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.
Directed by: David Cronenburg
Cast: James Wood, Deborah Harry
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.
Directed by: Steven Spielberg
Cast: John Belushi, Sam Pickens
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.
63A) Tokyo Rififi (Rififi a Tokyo)
Directed by: Jacques Deray
Cast: Keiko Kishi, Charles Vanel, Michel Vitold, Masao Oda, Eiji Okada
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.
62A) Dr. No
Directed by: Terrence Young
Cast: Sean Connery, Ursula Andress, Bernard Lee
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.
57A) Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison
Directed by: John Huston
Cast: Deborah Kerr, Robert Mitchum
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.
50A) Three Came Home
Directed by: Jean Negulesco
Cast: Claudette Colbert, Patric Knowles, Sessue Hayakawa
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.
49A) Tokyo Joe
Directed by: Stuart Heisler
Cast: Humphrey Bogart
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 Go-moku.