DirectorRichard Dembo Music directorGabriel Yared Duration CountryFrance
Release date25 April 1984 (1984-04-25) Initial releaseApril 15, 1984 (West Germany) CastMichel Piccoli (Akiva Liebskind), Alexandre Arbatt (Pavius Fromm), Liv Ullmann (Marina Fromm), Leslie Caron (Henia Liebskind), Wojciech Pszoniak (Le grand maître Felton - l'équipe de Fromm), Jean-Hugues Anglade (Miller, l'équipe de Fromm) Similar moviesKnight Moves (1992), Searching for Bobby Fischer (1993), Return from the Ashes (1965), The Luzhin Defence (2000), Queen to Play (2009)
Dangerous Moves (French: La Diagonale du fou) is a 1984 French-language film about chess, directed by Richard Dembo, produced by Arthur Cohn, starring Michel Piccoli, Alexandre Arbatt, as well as Liv Ullmann, Leslie Caron, and Bernhard Wicki in prominent supporting roles.
Its original French title is La diagonale du fou ("The Fool's Diagonal", referring to the chess piece called the bishop in English but the fool in French). The film was a co-production between companies in France and Switzerland. It tells the story of two very different men competing in the final match of the World Chess Championship. One is a 52-year-old Soviet Jew who holds the title, and the other is a 35-year-old genius who defected to the West several years earlier.
Michel Piccoli as Akiva Liebskind
Alexandre Arbatt as Pavius Fromm
Liv Ullmann as Marina Fromm
Leslie Caron as Henia Liebskind
Wojciech Pszoniak as Felton, Fromm's team
Jean-Hugues Anglade as Miller, Fromm's team
Daniel Olbrychski as Tac-Tac, Liebskind's friend
Hubert Saint-Macary as Foldes
Michel Aumont as Kerossian, Liebskind's friend
Pierre Michaël as Yachvili
Serge Avedikian as Fadenko
Pierre Vial as Anton Heller
Bernhard Wicki as Puhl, arbiter
Jacques Boudet as Stuffli
Benoît Régent as Barabal
The film won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 1984; it was submitted by the Swiss government, and gave that nation its first Oscar win. It also won the Louis Delluc Prize, the Prix de l'Académie du Cinéma and the César Award for Best Debut.
The CD soundtrack composed by Gabriel Yared is available on Music Box Records label (website).