1) 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 is a long time member of the American Go
Association. In the first scene, from 8.5 to 10.5 minutes in, Nash is challenged
to a game by Martin Hansen (played by Josh Lucas), one of the game players
perched on the benches outside at Princeton, with the words "Are you scared?"
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 editting
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 were 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."
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 his 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
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.
4) 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.
1 hour in, the scene is the Swiss mountain-top mansion of the evil banker,
Jonas Skarssen (played by Thomsen). He is playing Go and discusses it with his son
Cassian (played by Bejamin 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
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 others
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
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 filmmaking venture. Arrow
Features, 98 minutes.
7) 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).
8) Just Like Heaven
Directed by: Mark Waters
Cast: Mark Ruffalo, Reese Witherspoon
Comment: The main character is viewing flats to rent in San Francisco.
One is Japanese style with low tables, pillows and a Goban. "Where's
the furniture?" he asks.
9) Dangerous Moves (La Diagonale du Fou)
Directed by: Richard Dembo
Cast: Michel Piccoli, Liv Ullmann,
Comment: In this French film Michel Piccoli plays a Chess master called
Akiva Liebskind, and to rest sometimes he plays Go with his wife (20 minutes in).
The board position looks quite cluttered, and they seem to be placing stones at
random while talking.
10) 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 heist movie, we see the inside of
a Tokyo Go Club; full of smoke and of Go players.
11) Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III
Directed by: Stuart Gillard
Cast: Elias Koteas, Paige Turco, Stuart Wilson (II), Vivian Wu
Comment: Set in ancient Japan, the master of the turtles in a short scene
Directed by: Michael Lehmann
Cast: Winona Ryder, Christian Slater, Shannen Doherty, Lisanne Falk
Comment: It is believed that in one scene you can see a Goban.
13) Wild Palms
Directed by: Kathryn Bigelow
Cast: James Belushi, Dana Delany, Robert Loggia
Comment: A Go board can be seen.
14) The Pillow Book
Directed by: Peter Greenaway
Cast: Vivian Wu, Yoshi Oida, Ken Ogata
Comment: One person drinks himself to death and dares to
put a whisky glass and some pills on a Go board!
15) Little Buddha
Directed by: Bernardo Bertolucci
Cast: Keanu Reeves, Roucheng Ling, Bridget Fonda
Comment: In one scene a Goban can be seen.
16) Brotherhood of the Rose
Directed by: Marvin J. Chomsky
Cast: Robert Mitchum, Peter Strauss, Connie Selleca
Comment: A thriller (TV movie). In a short scene the main character
John Eliot (Robert Mitchum) is sitting in front of a Go board with
stones on it. Based on a novel by David Morrell that is supposed
to mention Go. The movie is planned for a remake in 2013.
17) Come See the Paradise
Directed by: Alan Parker
Cast: Dennis Quaid
Comment: In this movie, set in 1942, Jack McGurn (played by
Quaid) enters a Japanese men's club in San Francisco where
two old men can be seen playing Go.
18) 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
19) Genealogies d'un Crime (Genealogies of a Crime)
Directed by: Raul Ruiz
Cast: Cathrine Deneuve
Comment: A French film. It is claimed that Go can be seen in it.
20) 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.
21) M. Butterfly
Directed by: David Cronenberg
Cast: Jeremy Irons, John Leone
Comment: There is a brief scene of people playing Go in the movie.
It is about a male Chinese opera star 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 after the
cultural revolution when many peasants were living in the house
that formerly belonged to a wealthy family. In the courtyard of
the house the are two people seated at a Go board. It seems odd
at the time since Go itself was suppressed during the cultural
revolution, but that's Hollywood.
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. A vase on a shelf can easily be misinterpreted
as a Go bowls and board when seen briefly in one scene.
Directed by: Steven Spielberg
Cast: John Belushi, Sam Pickens
Comment: The heroes are captured by a Japanese submarine on which the
crew play Go whilst guarding them.
24) Red Corner
Directed by: Jon Avnet
Cast: Richard Gere, Ling Bai
Comment: A thriller in which there is a short scene where, while the
main character is interrogated, two guards in the background are
25) Night Train
Directed by: Brian King
Cast: Danny Gloiver, 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.
26) 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.
27) 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.
28) The Hedgehog (Le Hérisson)
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. French language.
The girl plays Go against Kakuro Ozu who lives in the same apartment block, though the positions
do not look from a real game.
29) 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
29) 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.
30) War Games: The Dead Code
Directed by: Stuart Gillard
Cast: Matt Lanta, Amanda Walsh, Colm Feore
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.
31) Balance of Power
Directed by: Rick Bennett
Cast: Billy Blanks, Mako, Lisa Yamanaka
Comment: A typical Billy Blanks martial arts movie where the stereotypical bad Asian rich guy plays
Go with the stereotypical bad Asian fighter guy. When the stereotypical bad white business guy mentions
Chess, the bad rich guy says something to the effect that Chess is for intellectual snobs while Go
is for warriors.
32) Le Faucon (The Hawk)
Directed by: Paul Boujenah
Cast: Francis Huster, Guy Pannequin, Maruschka Detmers
Comment: In the opening sequence of this French thriller, the main character drops his gun on a goban,
disrupting the game laid out, probably suggesting he studied a game the previous evening.
32) Three Came Home
Directed by: Jean Negulesco
Cast: Claudette Colbert, Patric Knowles, Sessue Hayakawa
Source: IMDB YouTube
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 postitions 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.
1) The Go Master (Wu Qingyuan)
Directed by: Tian Zhuangzhuang
Cast: Chang Chen
Source: Movie Homepage IMDB
Comment: The life of Go Seigen (Wu Qingyuan), produced in Chinese, was on
international release in Autumn 2006 and shown at various film festivals.
Go Seigen needs no introduction as one of the top players of the last
century. The film tells his story how as a Chinese prodigy he has to
move to Japan to compete. When the two countries are at war his
allegiances are torn, but he remains in Japan and later gets sucked
into a religious cult which tries to exploit his celebrity. However
he loyalty to the discipline of his vocation as a Go player. The film
has been described as "visually elegant and psychologically astute",
but other reviews say the film was not up to expectations. 107 minutes.
2) The Go Masters (Mikan no Taikyoku)
Directed by: Ji-shun Duan, Junya Sato
Cast: Rentaro Mikuni
Comment: A "Gone with the Wind" all about Go, the film examines how the
relationship between a Chinese and a Japanese Go player changes because
of events during the war, explained using flash backs when they meet
again after the war has ended. Many Go scenes including clubs and
tournaments, and a scene where the Chinese player prefers to have his
Go fingers cut off than play the enemy, the Japanese. 123 minutes.
3) Tokyo Newcomer
Directed by: Jiang Qinmin
Cast: Qin Hao, Chieko Baisho, Hiroyuki Ikeuchi
Source: Festival Review IMDB
Comment: Chinese Go genius Yoshiryu (Qin Hao) comes to Japan to hone his skills
in the game, but finds he’s too busy earning a living to study Go at all.
One day, he meets an old woman hawking vegetables, who turns out to be a
descendant of a prestigious Go family. The latest film by Jiang Qinmin –
who also directed The Last Sunflower and Sky Lovers – Tokyo Newcomer
is "a touching drama about true communication, transcending national
borders and generation gaps, through go." Naturally features quite a bit
on Go including a game played in front of distinguished guests with a proper
goban and stone in an traditional Japanese building. Trailer
Japanese with Chinese or English subtitles.
4) The Taste of Tea (Cha no Aji)
Directed by: Katsuhito Ishii
Cast: Tadanobu Asana, Takahiro Sato
Source: Wikipedia IMDB
Comment: Although Go is not the only focus of the film, it is one of its essential
ingredients and appears more often than in other films like Pi and A Beautiful Mind.
The film is concerned with the lives of the Haruno family, who live in rural Tochigi
prefecture, the countryside north of Tokyo. Nobuo is a hypnotherapist who teaches his
son, Hajime, to play Go. Hajime becomes an excellent Go player, but he has a rough
time with girls and puberty. Nobuo's wife, Yoshiko refuses to be an average housewife,
and works on animated film projects at home. She uses assistance from Grandfather Akira,
an eccentric old man who is a former animator and occasional model. Uncle Ayano, a sound
engineer and record producer, moves in with the family. He is looking to restart his life
again after living in Tokyo for several years. Meanwhile, Yoshiko's daughter Sachiko,
believes that she is followed around everywhere by a giant version of herself, and she
searches for ways to rid herself of it. Go is played variously at school, home and clubs.
5) Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale (Sai De Ke Ba Lai)
Directed by: Te-Sheng Wei
Cast: Masanobu Ando, Umin Boya, Chi-Wei Cheng
Comment: Taiwanese film set in the Japanese occupation of Taiwan when
the local Seediq people rebelled. Visible in the extended film trailer
(4 min 21 sec in), in one scene an injured man talks leaning over a Go
board. (Japanese and Seediq language with Chinese and English subtitles.)
6) Rough Cut (Yeong-hwa-neun Yeong-hwa-da)
Directed by: Hun Jang
Cast: Ji-Sub So, Su-Hyeon Hong, Ji-Hwan Kang
Comment: Korean film about a gangster who wants to be an actor and an
an actor who wants to be a gangster. In one scene a visitor in jail
sticks a transparency of a Go game on the window between him and the
inmate, and the inmate indicates moves that result in the capture of
a stone which is then crossed out.
7) White Vengeance (Yeong-hwa-neun Yeong-hwa-da)
Directed by: Daniel Lee
Cast: Shao-Feng Feng, Leon Lai, Hanyu Zhang, Anthony Wong
Comment: This tells the story of two brothers contending for supremacy
during the fall of the Qin Dynasty in the 3rd century BC. At a banquet
advisors Fan Zeng (Anthony Wong) and Zhang Liang (Zhang Hanyu) play a
long Go match that is supposed to mirror the path the warring brother
have set out on. They play on a row of metre high Go tables with over-
sized grey boards, the biconvex stones held in metal stands, the moves
called out by the players. To remove captured stones they bang the table
with a sword and catch the stones as they fly in the air (see 1hr 11 mins
in)! The philosophy of I Ching is mentioned during the match.
8) The Warlords (Tau Ming Chong)
Directed by: Peter Chan and Wai Man Yip
Cast: Jet Li, Andy Lau, Takeshi Kaneshiro
Comment: The movie is set in the 1860s during the Taiping Rebellion.
Of course there are battles and martial arts and a love triangle.
Toward the end two of the Emperors’ officials are talking while playing
Go, using their moves to refer to the fate of General Pang (played by Jet Li). They play a
few moves but too quickly to get a layout of the position.
9) Hero (Ying Xiong)
Directed by: Yimou Zhang
Comment: The main character fights against a bad guy and plays
on a Go board over which it rains and while playing the stones
not on the lines but inside the squares.
10) Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters
Directed by: Paul Schrader
Cast: Ken Ogata
Comment: This beautiful film is based on the works of Yukio Mishima,
only features Go in the deleted scenes section of the DVD. The
scene shows the main character of Yukio Mishima's 'Temple of the
Golden Pavilion' talking with his meditation master, while the
master is studying a Go board. One shot in the scene is of nothing
but the board. In order to exaggerate the sense of perspective, the
Go board appears to be trapezoidally shaped and different sized stones
are used across the board (larger stones are nearer). Since this portion
of the film is purportedly lifted from Yukio Mishima's novel, it
presumably features in that. The director's comments suggest that he
regretted cutting the scene, but it caused some introductory material
in the film to be "disproportionately long".
11) Deadful Melody
Directed by: Min Kun Ng
Cast: Brigitte Lin, Biao Yuen
Comment: Two characters play while speaking to each other, at one point
one character crushes a stone in his hand.
12) Zatoichi Seki-sho Yaburi (Zatoichi Demolishes the Barrier)
Directed by: Kimiyoshi Yasuda
Cast: Shintarou Katsu
Source: Zatoichi homepage IMDB
Comment: Zatoichi was a character in a number of Japanese samurai films
and he was called "the blind swordsman". In this film, two people, the
Oyabun (boss) and his adviser, who takes White, are playing Go. When
Zatoichi enters to ask some kind of favour, the chief samurai arrives
and he and Zatoichi draw their swords and the blades pass, but apparently
no contact is made. Both sheath their swords, and the conversation continues.
The proverbial comment is supposed to be made: "A Go player's concentration is
such that they will miss their own parents funeral when playing Go". Zatoichi
leaves and the Oyabun and the adviser exchange some words. The adviser then
plays his next move. The board collapses, having been sliced through the middle,
without any of the stones being disturbed. All the stones pour onto the floor.
13) Zatoichi Abare-Himatsuri (At the Fire Festival)
Directed by: Kenji Misumi, Nakadai Tatsuya
Cast: Shintarou Katsu
Source: Zatoichi homepage IMDB
Comment: There is a scene where Zatoichi plays the Big Boss, who is also blind,
in a game of Go. They tell where the moves have been played by feel and sound
and the boss plays one move to flick a Black stone into Zatoichi's face and
Zatoichi then slides a stone to knock the last White move off the board.
14) You Seng (Temptation of a Monk)
Directed by: Clara Law
Cast: Joan Chen, Michael Lee, Lisa Lu
Comment: Set in 7th century China, there are three Go scenes.
In one scene a man is seen studying moves (replaying a game) on
a Go board and one scene involves throwing a board.
15) Kwaidan (Ghost Stories)
Directed by: Masaki Kobayashi
Cast: Michiyo Aratama, Keiko Kishi, Rentaro Mikuni
Comment: In one of the scenes the wife of the main character plays Go,
loses and storms out with the words "What a stupid game". This is to
illustrate the mean behaviour of the wife. The movie tells four stories.
16) Tsubaki Sanjuro
Directed by: Akira Kurosawa
Cast: Toshiro Mifune, Tatsuya Nakadai, Keiju Kobayashi
Comment: Kurosawa classic featuring a samurai who saved a framed and
imprisoned uncle. In a long sequence the main character rests next to a goban
while others are rushing in and out and then perches atop it to instruct his young samurai.
17) Bakushuu (Early Summer)
Directed by: Yasujiro Ozu
Cast: Chikage Awajima, Setsuko Hara
Comment: Yasujiro Ozu's typical (meaning outstanding) family drama,
known in the west as "Early Summer". A story of romance and
arranged marriages in post-war Tokyo. The one Go scene has
the head of the household, a doctor, playing Go with a friend,
talking and smoking, on a Sunday in, of course, early summer.
18) The Fate of Lee Khan (Ying Chun Ge Zhi Fengbo)
Directed by: King Hu
Cast: Wu Chia Hsiang, Roy Chiao, Ying-Chieh Han, Ying Bai
Comment: The characters are playing a game in the woods when they are
attacked. They used the board and the stones to mark the positions
of the enemies and coordinate the attack.
19) The Valiant Ones (Zhong Lei Tu)
Directed by: King Hu
Cast: Feng Hsu, Ying Bai, Roy Chiao
Comment: Historical drama where the Chinese try to defend their shores
from Japanese pirates. The characters are colour-coded as Go pieces
(black or other dark shades for the Chinese, white for the Japanese).
Go boards and stones are used by the characters to keep track of soldiers
prior to battle, and the battles themselves are structured like a game.
A game is played in a bamboo forest with red and white stones. (Chinese
with English subtitles.)
20) Sex and Zen (Yu pu tuan zhi: Tou qing bao jian)
Directed by: Michael Mak
Cast: Lawrence Ng
Comment: A Go board can sometimes be seen.
21) Autumn Afternoon (Sanma no aji)
Directed by: Yasujiro Ozu
Cast: Shima Iwashita, Daisuke Kato, Kyoko Kishida,
Rynji Kita, Noriko Maki, Shinichiro Mikami
Comment: A Go board is shown.
22) Godzilla (Gojira)
Directed by: Ishiro Honda
Cast: Akira Takarada, Momoko Kouchi, Akihiko Hirata,
Takashi Shimura, Fuyuki Murakami, Sachio Sakai, Toranosuke Ogawa
Comment: The first classic Godzilla movie, in which a scene has
two sailors playing Go.
23) Tui Shou (Pushing Hands)
Directed by: Ang Lee
Cast: Bin Chao, Victor Chan,
Comment: There is a scene where the father and son are playing
Go and the son slaps a stone down (like a surprise checkmate)
and captures a big group.
24) Hitman (Sat Sau Ji Wong)
Directed by: Wei Tung
Cast: Jet Li, Simon Yam
Comment: The final fight is staged in a Japanese style room
where there is a Go board, with stones on the top. In the
fight, the board is hurled across the room.
25) Qi Yuan - Chun Qiu (Go Courtyard - Fall, Spring)
Comment: This movie has more Go in it than possibly any other!
It is a 'bowl-boiler' Chinese-made-for-TV Go movie (four hours,
five cassettes). The movie takes place in a palace during the
Sung Dynasty period c. 1100 A.D. and is based on fact in a
loose way. In the southern Manchurian kingdom of Liao, everyone
in the court is mad about Go and in the courtyard there is a Go
school. A princess is a top player. The top player in the Sung
court is a man (a 'prince') who is looking for someone to play
and ends up, so to say, 'courting' the princess. There is an
ongoing palace coup plot, of course, and the servant girl of
the princess is forced to play Go for her life.
26) Chushingura - Hana no maki yuki no maki
("The Loyal 47 Retainers", "The 47 Faithful Samurai" or "The 47 Ronin")
Directed by: Hiroshi Inagaki
Comment: the film is about 3-1/2 hours long. At 3 hours, one of
the bad guys is trapped and he tosses a Go board at his attacker,
then a bowl of white stones. There is one scene toward the end of
the climactic fight where a trapped samurai picks up a full size
floor Goban and hurls it at his attacker who deflects it with a
swipe of his sword. The victim then hurls a bowl of white stones
at him with no effect at all. The stones fly like snow flakes.
Two of the attacker's buddies crash in and that's all for the victim.
This scene is depicted on numerous woodblock prints. The story is
a cherished legend and is one of the more popular kabuki stories.
27) So Close (Chik yeung tin sai)
Directed by: Corey Yuen
Comment: In a very short scene two guards are shown playing Go on a
mega screen inside a very high tech building.
28) Yapian Zhanzheng (The Opium War)
Directed by: Jin Xie
Cast: Bao Guoan, Debra Beaumont
Original music by: Fuzai Jin
Comment: In the film Lin Xezu (Bao Guoan) is playing Go in a pavilion
when he is informed about the arrival of the British fleet. Being
enraged about it he sweeps away the stones from the board with his
hand. It shows nicely that high ranking Mandarins were playing Go.
The film is interesting, especially as it shows the Opium War period
seen from the Chinese side. As a consequence of the Chinese defeat,
Hong Kong became a British colony.
29) Volcano High
Directed by: Tae-gyun Kim
Cast: Hyuk Jang, Min-a Shin, Su-ro Kim
Comment: In a long scene two teachers play Go together. It is quite a funny scene,
at one point one teacher tries to move the stones with his will-power!
30) Long Xing Tian Xia (The Master)
Directed by: Tsui Hark
Cast: Jet Li
Comment: Somewhere in the film you see a Go board.
31) Genji Monogatari
Directed by: Kozaburo Yoshimura
Cast: Kazuo Hasegawa, Michiyo Kogure
Comment: There is a short sequence were two ladies of the
imperial court finish counting a game.
32) Borei Kaibyo Yashiki (Mansion of the Ghost Cat)
Directed by: Nobuo Nakagawa
Cast: Toshio Hosakawa
Comment: A ghost story featuring a samurai and haunted cat.
Indexed on IMDB as Go-related.
33) Jing Wu Ying Xiong (Fist of Legends)
Directed by: Gordon Chan
Cast: Jet Li, Siu-hou Chin
Comment: The film is set in pre-Japanese invasion China. It contains
a two minute scene (about 75 minutes in) where the Japanese Ambassador
is seated at a Go ban with Uncle Funakushi, who is described as samurai
clan. Unfortunately they are clearly playing 5-in-a-row (White wins on
the second move shown), however the ban is black with white lines and
white decoration on the sides, and they have Chinese-style stones and
brown bowls. They discuss impending war as they tidy the stones
(different amounts are tidied depending on camera angle). Later the ban
is briefly seen again in a fight sequence. The film is dubbed English,
but a subtitled version refers to the game as Chess.
34) Five Fingers of Death (Tian Xia Di Yi Quan)
Directed by: Chang-Hwa Jeong
Cast: Lieh Lo
Comment: A Hong Kong martial arts film.
35) Ninja and the Warriors of Fire
Directed by: Godfrey Ho
Comment: A Hong Kong film. At one point of this gruesome film one of the main
characters speaks with a Kung Fu master who is studying a game on the Go board.
36) Three Friends (Sechinku)
Directed by: Soon-Rye Yim
Cast: Hyun-Sung Kim, Hee-Suk Jung, Jang-Won Lee
Comment: Korean film about three young friends. One character is obsessed with
37) The I-go King and His Son (Qi Wang He Ta Er Zi)
Directed by: Wei Zhou
Cast: Hai-Yan Meng, Song Sun, Cheng-Yang Wang
Comment: His friends call Liu Yishou, an amateur Go player, “the King of Go.”
Liu was laid off, and with no other skills to make a living, teaches the
strategic board game in a humble training school for children. Life has been
hard for Liu, but his son, Xiaochuan, has chosen to stay with him through the
difficulties. On an unexpected occasion, Xiaochuan displays an amazing talent
for Go, and his father vows to encourage the further development of his game.
Along the way the father and son are confronted with challenges, but with courage,
persistence and profound love, they eventually arrive at the destination toward
which they were headed.
38) Fist of Fury (Jing Wu Men) also known as The Chinese Connection
Directed by: Wei Lo
Cast: Bruce Lee, Nora Miao, James Tien
Comment: In one scene characters can be seen putting stones on a board. In a fight
scene the board is on a spindly table and the board is thrown in someone's face.
39) The Man from Nowhere
Directed by: Jeong-Beom Lee
Cast: Taek-Sik Cha
Comment: A Korean thriller in which a man enters a bodega to find the owner at
his counter reviewing a game on his board.
40) Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame (Di Renjie zhu tongtian diguo)
Directed by: Hark Tsui
Cast: Andy Lau, Carina Lau
Comment: A Chinese detective thriller with lots of CGI and martial arts (English subtitles).
Dee has to solve the mysterious deaths by fire that stop the inauguration of
Empress Wu. In one scene the Prince is clearing the board after a game of Go and is
discussing how he is going to succeed. As he talks an assassin kills him with an arrow
from the roof above.
41) 13 Assassins (Jusan nin no Shikaku)
Directed by: Takashi Miike
Cast: Koji Yakusho, Takayuki Yamada, Yusuke Iseya
Comment: A Japanese (with English subtitles) period Samurai movie, a remake of a 1963 film.
13 samurai assassins set out to kill the ruthless Lord Naritsugu. No Go board can be seen,
but two protagonists talk about continuing a series of games of Go.
43) There was a Father (Chichi Ariki)
Directed by: Yosujiro Ozu
Cast: Chishu Ryu, Shuji Sano, Shin Saburi
Comment: A story about the relationship between a widowed father and his son, spread over several years.
The father, a teacher, plays another at Go during a school outing, whilst the unattended children go out
on a boat with one of them getting killed. This tragedy leads to the father and son being separated.
43) The Yakiniku Movie: Bulgogi (Yakiniku Muubii: Purukogi)
Directed by: Su-yeon Gu
Cast: Ryuhei Matsuda, Yu Yamada, Arat
Comment: A Japanese Comedy where the old master cook and his friend are constantly playing
or pondering the game of Go in the background, without a single move played during the movie.
44) The Host (Gwoemul)
Directed by: Joon-ho Bong
Cast: Kang-ho Song, Hie-bong Byong, Hae-il Park
Comment: A Korean monster movie. Go can be seen about 27 minutes into the movie when the TV is
turned on and the channel is changed. The game shown is believed to be a review of O Meien
(white) vs Pak Yeong-hun in the 1st Zhonghuan Cup from 2004.
45) Duelist (Hyeong-sa)
Directed by: Myung-se lee
Cast: Ji-won Ha, Sung-kee Ahn, Dong-won Kang
Comment: Joseon dynasty Korean swordfighting movie where the villain, who conspires against the government,
plays Go. About 70 mins in he is seen capturing a white stone. At about 90 mins he plays a move, but
is disturbed by a noise tips the ban over scattering stones.
46) When the Last Sword is Drawn (Mibu Gishi Den)
Directed by: Yojiro Takita
Cast: Kiichi Nakai, Koichi Sato, Yui Natsukawa
Comment: Japanese samurai movie in which the main character plays Go whilst conversing about his
opponent's impending marriage.
47) Onmyoji II
Directed by: Yojiro Takita
Cast: Mansai Nomura, Hideaki Ito, Kiichi Nakai
Comment: Japanese historical movie in which demons dismember Japanese nobles. The main character,
Abe no Seimei, plays Go against a spirit (a shikigami) in the form of his friend Minamoto no
Hiromasa, a monk.
48) Men Behind the Sun (Hei Tai Yang 731)
Directed by: Tun Fei Mou
Cast: Hsu Guo, Tie Long Lin, Zhaohua Mei
Comment: Set in Manchuria during WWII at the notorious Japanese experimentation camp 731, Go equipment
appears in a few scenes. There is a goban on the floor of the geisha house General Ishii visits.
A shattered ceramic bowl filled with Go stones inspires his "low temperature pottery bomb". Later,
in a dinner scene, Ishikawa and the medical painter are playing Go before debating the morality of
their squadron's experiments on the Chinese people, or "maruta" as they were often called.
49) Thousand Miles Escort (Ren Ba Zhao)
Directed by: Teng Hung Hsu
Cast: Liang Chia, Ying Bai, Michelle Yim
Comment: A low budget Kung Fu movie which features, among other villains, a pair of Go-playing brothers
who are hired to kill the protagonist and the orphan he protects.
50) Tenchi: the Samurai Astronomer (Tenchi Meisatsu)
Directed by: Takita Youjirou
Cast: Okada Junichi, Miyazaki Aoi, Sato Ryuta
Comment: Also known as "Insight Into the Universe", this is a Japanese film about Yasui Santetsu, a Go
player and famous Japanese astronomer, better known as Shibukawa Shunkai. The creator of the Japanese
Jokyo calendar and the author of many books about astronomy, he also played with his friend and rival,
Honinbo Dosaku, in castle games. The famous game between Dosaku and Santetsu, where Santetsu opened
on tengen, is depicted in the film. It stars Okada Junichi, a Japanese actor who is also a member of
the pop group V6. The trailer starts with shots of him holding a Go stone and playing the tengen move.
51) New World
Directed by: Park Hoon-jung
Cast: Lee Jung-jae, Choi Min-shik, Hwang Jung-min
Comment: This Korean gangster movie looks at the conflicts between the mob and the police through the
eyes of an undercover cop. In the trailer, a lady is seen sitting at a Go board and later her oponent
smacks the board sending the stones flying.
A) Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles
Cast: Lena Headley, Summer Glau
Comment: Season 2 Episode 10 is titled "Strange Things Happen on the 1-2 Point".
Cameron (Summer Glau) unfolds a Go board and starts laying out stones
on the table in front of Sarah Connor (Lena Headley). The stones have
flat tops and are held in glass bowls. Cameron says that Xander does not
play Chess but prefers Go. The game was invented by the Chinese 5000
years ago and has more permutations than atoms in the universe. He is
going to teach her to play. She says that "strange things happen on
the 1-2 point" is a Go proverb, which means the usual rules do not
always apply. Sarah grabs some white stones and three stick her hand.
There is a shot of her hand above a Go board with a game in progress
B) Diagnosis Murder
Cast: Dick van Dyke, Barry van Dyke, Charlie Schlatter, Michael Beck
Comment: In the series 5 episode "Deadly Games" (episode 89),
Frank Waldeck (Michael Beck) is a body guard who is in
hospital and plays himself at Weiqi whilst recovering.
Dr Mark Sloan (Dick van Dyke) admits he has played occasionally
and very badly. Mark is challenged to a game when Waldeck is
better and spends some time with Steve Sloan (Barry van Dyke) and
Jesse Travers (Charlie Schlatter) studying and reading from a Go
leaflet. By the time they play, Mark suspects Waldeck of plotting
a murder and tries to understand his plan from his Go strategy.
Eventually Waldeck's plan is sussed, but at the end Steve produces
a Mancala set and convinces Mark that they'd be better off playing
that. Several of the Weiqi scenes look more like 5-in-a row and
in one a close up is a different position. In the game Mark add a
second stone to remain in atari and Waldeck plays the capturing
move without removing. The set is a mini set with black and white
bags for the "men". At least they have a try at holding the stones
properly, but it's hard with mini-stones. First shown 9th October 1997.
C) Ally McBeal (Episode 2.37 Pyramids of the Nile)
Cast: Calista Flockhart, Courtney Thorne-Smith,
Comment: There is a scene of two characters playing Go.
It is not just a background scene, as the scene starts
with a birds-eye view of the game. The Go game wasn't much
of a game but at least the position was legal - at least
until Richard Fish (played by Greg Germann) was put off his
game by Ling Woo (played by Lucy Liu) talking dirty to him.
D) 24 (Episode: 3.15)
Cast: Kiefer Sutherland
Comment: In Series 3 of "24" (Episode 15 3:00am-4:00am), an agent called Wong enters a seedy LA club
where three games of Go are in progress in different rooms. The male players are variously drinking
and smoking and being watched by loose women and other men. Later the hero, agent Jack Bauer,
catches and then questions a terrorist suspect seated at a Go table with a recently abandoned
game on it. When Jack fails to get a response from the suspect, in frustration he scatters a
lid of prisoners with his hand. The scene continues in the room at the start of Episode 16
(4:00am-5:00am) and the Go Club incident is twice referred to in later episodes.
E) Enterprise (Episode: 2.48) "Cogenitor"
Cast: Scott Bakula, Connor Trinneer, Jolene Blalock
Source: Startrek Webpage
Comment: The Enterprise's engineer Charles "Trip" Tucker III (played by Connor Trinneer)
teaches Go to a Vissian cogenator (third gender being) (played by Becky Wahstrom) seated
at a goban on the floor of his cabin. Trip captures a white stone and the Vissian takes a
clearly long dead black stone off of the board and asks if it means it has won. Trip reveals
that in two years of playing of playing this (Go is not named) that was the first time he was beaten.
F) Arrested Development
Comment: In the latter episodes of the first series of this US comedy,
the mother adopts a teenage Korean boy called Annyong (played by Justin Lee).
At the very end of the last episode of the series (episode 22 "Let 'Em Eat Cake"), he
is seen playing the girl Maeby (played by Alia Shawkat). They have small stones and board
and there are heaps of mixed-up stones on the table all around the board.
G) Criminal Minds
Comment: Go featured prominently in the 22nd September 2005 premiere of CBS Criminal Minds
television drama. Discovering a Go board in the attic room of a suspect's house,
FBI profilers Greenaway (Lola Glaudini), Reid (Matthew Gray Gubler), Gideon (Mandy
Patinkin) and Hotchner (Thomas Gibson) discuss the game:
Greenaway: What kind of game is it?
Reid: In China, it's called weiqi, here we call it Go. It's considered
the most difficult board game ever conceived.
Gideon: Chairman Mao required his generals to learn it.
Reid: It also looks like he's playing himself.
Greenaway: How can you tell?
(Spins board which is mounted on a turntable)
Reid: This might provide an advantage; actually Go is considered to
be a particularly psychological revealing game. There are profiles
for every player. The conservative point counter, the aggressor,
Hotchner: What kind of player is this one?
Reid: Extreme aggressor.
Year: 2000 - 2002
Cast: Kevin Sorbo, Lexa Doig
Go on Andromeda
Comment: Go playing or Go references appear in several episodes. In various episodes
Captain Dylan Hunt (the hero played by Sorbo) plays 3D Go (three blue-glass with
white lines 11x11 Go boards stacked on top of each other, supported by a clear
plastic column in one corner, just like the 3D Chess they used to play on Star Trek).
The stones are the half-sized sort and are kept in a single light-pink bowl. He also
often thinks by the Go board because of the connections with his old first officer
Rhade. He gets the Seamus Harper to make a hologram of Rhade for him to play against.
Another of his opponents is Prince Erik.
Episode S1E05: Double Helix
In this episode the Captain, Dylan Hunt (played by Sorbo), is seen reflecting on what
to do whilst holding a single white stone. In a series of flashbacks (between 27 minutes
and 32.5 minute in) he is seen playing with his former first mate Gaheris Rhade
(played by Steve Bacic). Hunt does not know how to pick up a Go stone properly,
sometimes using his thumb and in one clip seen trying to move the stone to the
correct fingers. Rhade warns him "Careful Captain! 10 moves until I win". Hunt
says "I have played Go with you for 3 years now, why do you treat winning like
a matter of life and death?" "Because it is" Rhade replies. Sorbo then spots a
missing stone on point "5d4". Rhade says it is only cheating if you get caught
and reveals the stone in his fist. When asked if he has always been cheating,
he is surprised the captain hasn't been also cheating "in order to win". No
positions can be seen clearly, but what can be seen does not look much like a
real Go position.
Episode S2E02: Exit Strategies
At the end of this episode, Dylan Hunt and Tyr sit down for a Go game and Hunt invites
Tyr to make his move.
Episode S2E16: In Heaven Now Are Three
This episode contains several references to the game of Go. In one scene, Hunt's
approach to complex battle situations is said to be as if he were playing a game
of Go thinking many moves ahead. In another scene, when faced with a life-and-death
duel, the he suggests that he would rather settle the conflict by playing a game of Go.
Episode S4E18: Trusting the Gordian Maze
In this episode Dylan Hunt says "I am excellent at Go." Indra Xicol replies "...I can beat
anyone at Go."
Cast: Eric Stoltz, Esai Morales, Alessanda Torresani
Comment: In episode 2, "Rebirth", of this prequel to Battlestar Galactica as two characters
walk through a market an old man is seen playing Go with a nice looking board (21:40 mins in).
Cast: Terence Stamp
Comment: Terence Stamp stars as a spy master. He had a board on his office desk and would
occasionally place a stone for dramatic effect. British dan-level player Michael Carver
appeared in this as Nick Hannah, so it is assumed that Go was introduced by his influence.
K) The Man in Room 17
Cast: Michael Aldridge, Richard Vernon, Willoughby Goddard, Denholm Elliot
Comment: This British crime series from 1965-1966, featured a "Mycroft
Holmes" approach to crime-solving. The two men never left room 17, but
directed minions who went to catch the criminals. There was a Goban
in the middle of the set and in between crimes the men played Go. The script
was full of Go allusions like "We must surround the opposition before
launching our attack, then drive them into our territory". The was also
an explicit reference to the similarity between crime-fighting and Go playing,
though Go itself was never explained despite the title sequence just being a
series of Go positions.
Cast: Roger Hanin, Sam Karmann
Comment: In one episode of this French crime drama a Go player
kills all others to win a tournament.
Cast: David James Elliott, Catherine Bell, John M. Jackson
Comment: In series 2, episode 10 "The Game of Go", the main
character plays with a Columbian drug lord. However, they
play in the squares. First shown 28th February 1997.
N) La Femme Nikita
Cast: Peta Wilson, Roy Dupuis
Comment: In one episode it is explained how Go is very popular
among their super spy group. They show a Go board that uses
triangular stones and the board is a glass see-through table
with black lines painted on it.
O) Marco Polo
Cast: Ken Marshall, Denholm Elliott, Tony Vogel
Comment: In a scene in this mini-series in the imperial palace you
see a Go board in the distance.
Cast: Jerry O'Connell
Comment: In series 1 episode 7 "Eggheads" Quinn Mallory explains
that the game "Mindgame" is just like Go or Othello.
Q) Kamen Rider 555
Comment: In episode 1 of this Japanese sci-fi series Yuji's uncle
is seen reading a book and playing Go whilst talking about Yuji's
Comment: It is reported that this UK drama series about diamond merchants
included an character playing Go and has a Goban visible in the background
of several episodes. British dan-level player Michael Culver appeared in
this as David Kremer, so it is presumed to be him playing Go. Intriguingly
two episodes are called "A Taste of the Orient" and "Middle Game".
S) Verbotene Liebe (Forbidden Love)
Comment: around about episode 2080 of this German soap opera, while visiting Castle
Königsbrunn, Charlie Schneider plays Go with Count von Lahnstein. The Count is said
to be a descendant of Lasker and it is also said that he has won several times the
German Go Championship and that he often travels to Japan.
T) Have Gun – Will Travel
Comment: In Episode 186, "The Coming of the Tiger" (season 5 episode 30) of this classic
TV Western, the hero, Paladin (Richard Boone) is shown playing a game of Go in San Francisco.
To the dismay of his Japanese opponent, Paladin announces that the position is seki.
The game is interrupted by a crisis and resumed at the end of the episode. It looks more
like they were actually playing Five-in-a-row though.
U) Tower High
Comment: In Episode 12 of this US teen drama, set in a mysterious school/prison, a Go board can
be seen (c25 mins in). Suki Sato (played by Dyana Liu) returns to her room to find her mysterious
elder brother Shinji leaning against her table. On the table is a flat Go board with a position
on and rectangle trays for the stones.
Comment: A Chinese TV drama where in one episode two characters in period dress sit at a table with
a Go board with a random position on it.
W) Ja Myung Go
Comment: A Korean TV period drama where, in episode 10, General Wang Geng plots assassinations while
seated at a Go ban.
X) Gosei Sentai Dairanger
Comment: A Japanese TV series in the Power Rangers genre that ran for 50 episodes. In one episode
a boy named Akomaru is in trouble with a big chap named Gorma. At the start of a scene the edge
of a Goban, with very dark Go bowls, can be seen and later Gorma can be seen placing stones it.
Y) Last Resort
Cast: Andre Braugher
Comment: The series is about a renegade U.S. submarine crew on an island in the Indian Ocean.
In episode 10 ("Blue Water"), a Chinese diplomat named Zheng visits the crew offering humanitarian aid.
He meets with Captain Chaplin, who is wary of what strings might come attached with the aid. Zheng
offers Chaplin his grandfather's go board as a gift. When Chaplin says he prefers chess, Zheng says
"In chess, the victor is the one who annihilates his opponent's armies. In Weiqi or Go, victory goes
to the one who can control the most territory with the fewest armies." Later in the episode, they play
a game against each other, and Zheng catches Chaplin in a trap, exactly what Chaplin fears might be the
real-life situation if he accepts Zheng’s aid.
Z) DaVinci's Demons
Comment: Episode 3 "The Prisoner" is structured to parallel a game of Go, played by Riario and the eponymous,
mysterious prisoner. The villain forces a prisoner to teach him Go and then uses the Go strategy and
philosophy that he is learning against his enemies, in this case DaVinci’s employer and DaVinci himself.