What to Watch If You Liked The Queen's Gambit



What to Watch If You Liked The Queen's Gambit

VOICE OVER: Emily Brayton WRITTEN BY: Nathan Sharp
Now that you've finished your latest binge, this is what to watch if you liked "The Queen's Gambit." Our countdown includes "Emma.," "The Crown," "The Great," and more!

What to Watch If You Liked The Queen's Gambit

Welcome to MsMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for what to watch if you liked “The Queen’s Gambit.”

For this list, we’ll be looking at series and films that you should check out if you’re a fan of “The Queen’s Gambit”.

Do you have any other recommendations? Let us know!

#10: “The Great” (2020)

In 2018 screenwriter Tony McNamara made waves with “The Favourite,” a period black comedy that earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay. In May of 2020, Hulu released his new show “The Great,” another period comedy - this one about Russia’s Catherine the Great. Elle Fanning plays Catherine, with Nicholas Hoult portraying her husband, Peter III. Like “The Queen’s Gambit,” “The Great” follows an outsider who rises to incredible power and high status, and Fanning proves just as captivating an actress as Anya Taylor-Joy. Of course, it bears almost no resemblance to actual history, with Hulu even calling it “anti-historical.” But it’s fun, funny, and visually striking.

#9: “Magnus” (2016)

“The Queen’s Gambit” was widely praised for its depiction of chess and the professional chess community. And while knowledge of the game certainly isn’t necessary to enjoy the show, it may have turned a few people on to the popular game. If that’s the case, then “Magnus” is required viewing. “Magnus” is essentially “The Queen’s Gambit” in real life, as the documentary concerns chess prodigy Magnus Carlsen. Becoming a Grandmaster at 13, Carlsen is one of the best players that the game has ever seen. He’s set various records, including a peak classical rating of 2882 and the longest unbeaten run in chess history. He was also the youngest person to reach number one in the FIDE world rankings.

#8: “Searching for Bobby Fischer” (1993)

One of the greatest chess movies ever made, “Searching for Bobby Fischer” is based on the life of another chess prodigy named Joshua Waitzkin. The movie is based on the book of the same name, which was written by Waitzkin’s father, Fred. Waitzkin won two U.S. Junior Chess Championships in the early 90s and became an International Master at 16. Like Harry Beltik in “The Queen’s Gambit,” he eventually lost his love for chess and retired around 1999. Funnily enough, Waitzkin was taught by Bruce Pandolfini, who later served as a chess consultant on “The Queen’s Gambit.” And like “The Queen’s Gambit,” “Searching for Bobby Fischer” received praise for both its chess scenes and moving story.

#7: “The Imitation Game” (2014)

While it has nothing to do with chess, “The Imitation Game” still shares a few similarities with “The Queen’s Gambit.” At the heart of the story is Alan Turing, a mathematician and cryptanalyst who played a major role in World War II by breaking secret German codes for the British government. Like Beth Harmon, Turing is quite an awkward, cold, and seemingly indifferent individual, who struggles to socialize with others. This aspect of the film actually received some criticism, as the real Turing did not display these antisocial traits. The movie is also a period piece, taking place throughout World War II and into the ‘50s, which is when “The Queen’s Gambit” begins.

#6: “The Dark Horse” (2014)

Hailed as “one of the greatest New Zealand films ever made”, “The Dark Horse” is another chess movie concerning a historical figure. This one follows Genesis Potini, a New Zealand man of Māori descent who unfortunately passed away in 2011 at the age of 47. Potini suffered from bipolar disorder, for which he was hospitalized on several occasions. In 2000, he co-founded a chess club for underprivileged children called The Eastern Knights. Like Benny Watts in “The Queen’s Gambit,” he became an exceptional speed chess player in the process.

#5: “The Crown” (2016-)

When it comes to Netflix period dramas, it’s hard to beat “The Crown.” Perhaps one of their most popular series, “The Crown” covers the history of the modern Royal family. The first two seasons span the late 40s to the mid 60s, and star Claire Foy as Queen Elizabeth II. Olivia Colman takes over for the third and fourth seasons, presenting an older and more experienced Queen from the 60s to 1990. The fourth season is notable for introducing Princess Diana and her sons to the cast. However, it also drew ire from various critics and the Royal family, due to notable departures from historical accuracy.

#4: “Pawn Sacrifice” (2014)

Our previous entry, “Searching for Bobby Fischer” uses Fischer’s name as a metaphor while following another child prodigy. “Pawn Sacrifice” follows the man himself. In this film, Tobey Maguire plays Fischer, an American chess player who at 15 years old became the youngest Grandmaster in history at the time. In 1972, Fischer played what was dubbed “The Match of the Century”, defeating Boris Spassky at the World Chess Championship. The movie shares a lot in common with “The Queen’s Gambit,” including a chess prodigy, their rise through the chess world, a heated final game against a Soviet chess master, and a Cold War-era period setting. While the movie failed at the box office, Maguire’s performance as Fischer earned widespread praise.

#3: “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” (2017-)

Serving as one of Prime Video’s finest creations, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” is indeed a marvelous, if somewhat underappreciated, comedy drama. The series follows a prodigy of sorts, but not of the chess variety. Rather, it concerns Midge Maisel, a 50s housewife who discovers a natural inclination and talent for stand-up comedy. The series shares a time period with “The Queen’s Gambit” and similarly follows a female character confidently making her way through a male-dominated profession. The production values are terrific and convincing, as is Rachel Brosnahan’s Emmy and Golden Globe-winning performance as Maisel. Charming, funny, sad, and with a razor sharp eye for social commentary, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” is an undeniable winner.

#2: “Emma.” (2020)

Those looking for another Anya Taylor-Joy period piece should definitely seek out “Emma.” Taylor-Joy is quite proficient in period films and TV shows, as proven in “The Miniaturist” and “The Witch.” “Emma.” serves as an adaptation of Jane Austen’s classic novel, published way back in 1815. Taylor-Joy plays the titular Emma Woodhouse, whom Austen famously called “a heroine whom no one but myself will much like.” Like her or not, Taylor-Joy does a typically excellent job in the role, and the cast is rounded out by the likes of Johnny Flynn, Mia Goth, Miranda Hart, and Bill Nighy. It’s required viewing for Anya Taylor-Joy fans, Austen readers, and period piece aficionados alike.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.

“Godless” (2017)
This Western Was Also Created by Scott Frank & Shares Some of the Same Actors

“Mrs. America” (2020)
This Period Drama Concerns the Passing of the Equal Rights Amendment

“Puzzle” (2018)
Kelly Macdonald Plays a Stay-At-Home Mom Who Takes to Solving Jigsaw Puzzles

“Fresh” (1994)
A 12-Year-Old Drug Courier During New York’s Crack Epidemic Discovers Chess

“Game Over: Kasparov and the Machine” (2003)
This Documentary Follows the Famous Chess Match Between Garry Kasparov & IBM’s Computer Deep Blue

#1: “Queen of Katwe” (2016)

This Disney film is just as uplifting as its real life story. It follows a Ugandan chess player named Phiona Mutesi, who started playing chess in a Ugandan slum named Katwe. Mutesi was forced to drop out of school at nine and began selling maize on the street, but she eventually discovered chess - and her calling. Mutesi rose through the ranks, became a Woman Candidate Master, and represented her native Uganda in four different Chess Olympiads. Playing Mutesi is another native of Katwe, Madina Nalwanga, who delivers a confident performance alongside the always-excellent David Oyelowo and Lupita Nyong’o. It’s a beautiful film adapted from an inspiring story.