Go Filmography - Films
23A) Tetris Year: 2023 Directed by: Jon S Baird Cast: Taron Egerton, Toby Jones, Togo Igawa, Mikita Efremov Source: IMDB Watch: Trailer on YouTube Comment: This is the story of how Henk Rogers (Egerton) went to the USSR to get the rights for Tetris from its author, Alexey Pajitnov (Efremov), and take it to Yamauchi (Igawa) at Nintendo in Japan. In the trailer, Rogers walks into the foyer of the Nintendo office and a Go game is seen laid out on a low table in the foreground. It is known that Rogers was 3d and Yamauchi also a keen Go player and they were known to play each other. 23B) Club Zero Year: 2023 Directed by: Jessica Hausner Cast: Mia Wasikowska, Samuel D Anderson Source: IMDB Comment: This internationally produced film was nominated for a Palme D'Or and released at Cannes Festival. It fatures five teenagers at a select international school who join the healthy eating Club Zero, forming a bond with their teacher, but which later takes a shocking turn. One of the five is the geeky Ben (played by Samuel D Anderson), who is a Go player. He studies Go playing on his computer and also plays in a school tournament where he beats a female opponent (played by British junior Connie Amer) by resignation. However we are told the Go didn't make the final cut! Sam was coached in Go playing by the BGA's Tony Atkins and the tournament scene was coordinated by the BGA's Toby Manning. The other players in the tournament were Jonah Burnstone-Cresswell and young extras. The games they are playing are well-known pro games. Oxford's St Catherine's College was the filming location (August 2022) for the school scenes. 19A) 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. 18A) 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. 15A) 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, 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. 15B) 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, 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 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. 11B) 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 screen. 10A) 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. 10B) 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. 09A) 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. 09B) 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. 08A) 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. 08B) WarGames: 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 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. 05A) 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. 05B) 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. 01A) 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 was a long time member of the American Go Association. 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 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). 98A) 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. 98B) 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. 97A) 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. 97B) 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. 97C) Red Corner Year: 1997 Directed by: Jon Avnet Cast: Richard Gere, Ling Bai Source: IMDB 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) 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. 96B) 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! 93A) 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. 93B) 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. 93C) 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. 93D) Wild Palms Year: 1993 Directed by: Kathryn Bigelow Cast: James Belushi, Dana Delany, Robert Loggia Source: IMDB Comment: A Go board can be seen. 91A) Bis ans Ende der Welt (Until the End of the World) Year: 1991 Directed by: Wim Wenders Cast: Soveig Dommartin, William Hurt, Sam Niell Source: IMDB Comment: In one scene (about 2 hours in on the 5 hour director's cut) William Hurt's character has gone blind and is being healed by the herbs of a Japanese man in Hakone. While he’s being treated, you can see on the shelf in the background a goban with two bowls resting on top. 90A) 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 briefly be seen playing Go in the background (32:30 in). 89A) 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. 89B) 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. 84A) 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. 83A) 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. 83B) 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. 79A) 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. 63A) 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. 62A) 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. 57A) 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. 50A) 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. 49A) 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 Go-moku.
Last updated Sat Oct 28 2023.
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