Buddhist Movies

A guide to movies (both Eastern and Western) influenced by, dealing with, or containing a Buddhist/Zen message.

Documentaries are NOT included.

Feel free to leave suggestions in the comments.
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1.
Samsara (2001)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
A spiritual love-story set in the majestic landscape of Ladakh, Himalayas. Samsara is a quest; one man's... (145 mins.)
Director: Pan Nalin
 
2.
Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter... and Spring (2003)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A young and truth seeking boy travels to an isolated lake, where an old Buddhist master lives on a small floating temple. (103 mins.)
Director: Ki-duk Kim
 
3.
Cloud Atlas (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
An exploration of how the actions of individual lives impact one another in the past, present and future, as one soul is shaped from a killer into a hero, and an act of kindness ripples across centuries to inspire a revolution. (172 mins.)
 
4.
Peaceful Warrior (2006)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
A chance encounter with a stranger changes the life of a college gymnast. (120 mins.)
Director: Victor Salva
 
5.
Jacob's Ladder (1990)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
Mourning his dead child, a haunted Vietnam War veteran attempts to discover his past while suffering from a severe case of dissociation. To do so, he must decipher reality and life from his own dreams, delusion, and perception of death. (113 mins.)
Director: Adrian Lyne
 
6.
Groundhog Day (1993)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A weatherman finds himself living the same day over and over again. (101 mins.)
Director: Harold Ramis
 
7.
TRON: Legacy (2010)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
The son of a virtual world designer goes looking for his father and ends up inside the digital world that his father designed. He meets his father's corrupted creation and a unique ally who was born inside the digital world. (125 mins.)
Director: Joseph Kosinski
 
8.
Fight Club (1999)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.8/10 X  
An insomniac office worker, looking for a way to change his life, crosses paths with a alter-ego devil-may-care soap maker, forming an underground fight club that evolves into something much, much more... (139 mins.)
Director: David Fincher
 
9.
Little Buddha (1993)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.0/10 X  
Lama Norbu comes to Seattle in search of the reincarnation of his dead teacher, Lama Dorje. His search leads him to young Jesse Conrad... (123 mins.)
 
10.
Travelers and Magicians (2003)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
The two men embark on parallel, if separate, journeys. Their yearning is a common one--for a better and different life... (108 mins.)
Director: Khyentse Norbu
 
11.
The Cup (1999)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
While the soccer World Cup is being played in France, two young Tibetan refugees arrive at a monastery/boarding school in exile in India... (93 mins.)
Director: Khyentse Norbu
 
12.
Milarepa (2006)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
Milarepa is a tale of greed and vengeance - demons, magic, murder and redemption. It is the story of the man who became Tibet's greatest mystic. (90 mins.)
Director: Neten Chokling
 
13.
Kundun (1997)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
From childhood to adulthood, Tibet's fourteenth Dalai Lama deals with Chinese oppression and other problems. (134 mins.)
Director: Martin Scorsese
 
14.
Kiss the Sky (1998)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  
Two professionals, Jeff and Marty, take a business trip to the Philippines. Their deep dissatisfaction... (107 mins.)
Director: Roger Young
 
15.
Into the Wild (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
After graduating from Emory University, top student and athlete Christopher McCandless abandons his possessions, gives his entire $24,000 savings account to charity and hitchhikes to Alaska to live in the wilderness. Along the way, Christopher encounters a series of characters that shape his life. (148 mins.)
Director: Sean Penn
 
16.
Siddhartha (1972)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
The story of a young Indian who embarks upon a journey to find the meaning of existence. Based on the novel by Hermann Hesse. (89 mins.)
Director: Conrad Rooks
 
17.
Enlightenment Guaranteed (1999)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
Two very different brothers get together for a temporary stay in a Japanese zen monastry. The trip from... (109 mins.)
Director: Doris Dörrie
 
18.
Why Has Bodhi-Dharma Left for the East? (1989)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
Three people live in a remote Buddhist monastery near Mount Chonan: Hyegok, the old master; Yong Nan... (137 mins.)
Director: Yong-Kyun Bae
 
19.
The Fountain (2006)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
As a modern-day scientist, Tommy is struggling with mortality, desperately searching for the medical breakthrough that will save the life of his cancer-stricken wife, Izzi. (96 mins.)
 
20.
Seven Years in Tibet (1997)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
True story of Heinrich Harrer, an Austrian mountain climber who became friends with the Dalai Lama at the time of China's takeover of Tibet. (136 mins.)
 
21.
The Thin Red Line (1998)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
Terrence Malick's adaptation of James Jones' autobiographical 1962 novel, focusing on the conflict at Guadalcanal during the second World War. (170 mins.)
Director: Terrence Malick
 
22.
The Matrix (1999)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.7/10 X  
A computer hacker learns from mysterious rebels about the true nature of his reality and his role in the war against its controllers. (136 mins.)
 
23.
American Beauty (1999)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
A sexually frustrated suburban father has a mid-life crisis after becoming infatuated with his daughter's best friend. (122 mins.)
Director: Sam Mendes
 
24.
Hi! Dharma! (2001)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  
Laughs and thrills go hand-in-fist in this Korean action comedy, as a band of criminals fleeing a violent gang war hides out in a monastery... (95 mins.)
Director: Cheol-kwan Park
 
25.
Zen (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
'Zen' Buddhist teacher Dogen Zenji is a very important religious person during the Kamakura period, 750 years ago... (127 mins.)
 
26.
Zen Noir (2004)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  
A nameless 'noir' detective, still mourning the loss of his wife, investigates a mysterious death in a Buddhist temple, but his logical, left-brained crime-solving skills are useless in the intuitive, non-linear world of Zen. (71 mins.)
Director: Marc Rosenbush
 
27.
A Buddha (2005)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
Un Buda follows two brothers orphaned as children when their parents were taken by the military during the "Dirty Wars" of the 1970s in Argentina... (115 mins.)
Director: Diego Rafecas
 
28.
Kung Fu Panda (2008)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
In the Valley of Peace, Po the Panda finds himself chosen as the Dragon Warrior despite the fact that he is obese and a complete novice at martial arts. (92 mins.)
 
29.
Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (2010)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
On his deathbed, Uncle Boonmee recalls his many past lives. (114 mins.)
 
30.
Onibaba (1964)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
Two women kill samurai and sell their belongings for a living. While one of them is having an affair with their neighbor, the other woman meets a mysterious samurai wearing a bizarre mask. (103 mins.)
Director: Kaneto Shindô
 
31.
The Burmese Harp (1956)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
In the War's closing days, when a conscience-driven Japanese soldier fails to get his countrymen to surrender to overwhelming force, he adopts the lifestyle of a Buddhist monk. (116 mins.)
Director: Kon Ichikawa
 
32.
Jan Dara (2001)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  
Jan Dara grows up in a house lacking in love but abundant in lust. He quickly picks up the sinful way... (108 mins.)
Director: Nonzee Nimibutr
 
33.
Heaven & Earth (1993)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
The final movie in Oliver Stone's Vietnam trilogy follows the true story of a Vietnamese village girl... (140 mins.)
Director: Oliver Stone
 
34.
Edge of Tomorrow (2014)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
A soldier fighting aliens gets to relive the same day over and over again, the day restarting every time he dies. (113 mins.)
Director: Doug Liman
 
35.
Lucy (2014)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  
A woman, accidentally caught in a dark deal, turns the tables on her captors and transforms into a merciless warrior evolved beyond human logic. (89 mins.)
Director: Luc Besson
 
36.
Seven Psychopaths (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
A struggling screenwriter inadvertently becomes entangled in the Los Angeles criminal underworld after his oddball friends kidnap a gangster's beloved Shih Tzu. (110 mins.)
Director: Martin McDonagh
 
37.
I Origins (2014)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
A molecular biologist and his laboratory partner uncover evidence that may fundamentally change society as we know it. (106 mins.)
Director: Mike Cahill
 
38.
Winter's Tale (2014)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  
A burglar falls for an heiress as she dies in his arms. When he learns that he has the gift of reincarnation, he sets out to save her. (118 mins.)
Director: Akiva Goldsman
 
39.
Happiness (2013 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
In 1999, King Jigme Wangchuck approved the use of television and Internet throughout the largely undeveloped nation of Bhutan... (80 mins.)
Director: Thomas Balmès
 
40.
Her (2013)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A lonely writer develops an unlikely relationship with his newly purchased operating system that's designed to meet his every need. (126 mins.)
Director: Spike Jonze
 
41.
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
Two warriors in pursuit of a stolen sword and a notorious fugitive are led to an impetuous, physically skilled, adolescent nobleman's daughter, who is at a crossroads in her life. (120 mins.)
Director: Ang Lee
 
42.
The 36th Chamber of Shaolin (1978)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
The anti-Ching patriots, under the guidance of Ho Kuang-han, have secretly set up their base in Canton... (115 mins.)
Director: Chia-Liang Liu
 
43.
Amrapali (1966)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
His hunger for conquest not satiated, even after repeated victories, Samrat Ajaatshatru of Magadh would like to continue on his winning spree... (119 mins.)
Director: Lekh Tandon
 
44.
Angulimala (2003)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
Arhingsaka was born in India to a noble family. Despite his noble birth, his horoscope showed to be born under the sign of thieves... (105 mins.)
Director: Sutape Tunnirut
 
45.
Ashoka the Great (2001)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
The Epic tale of King Asoka's life. (176 mins.)
Director: Santosh Sivan
 
46.
The Book of the Dead (2005)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
The story takes place as Buddhism is being introduced to Japan from China. Iratsume, a woman of noble descent... (70 mins.)
 
48.
The Cup (1999)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
While the soccer World Cup is being played in France, two young Tibetan refugees arrive at a monastery/boarding school in exile in India... (93 mins.)
Director: Khyentse Norbu
 
49.
Doomsday Book (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  
The First Chapter of The Anthology Film- In A Brave New World, a mysterious virus brings the city to ruins and zombies flood the streets of Seoul... (115 mins.)
 
50.
The Holy Man (2005)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  
Brother Theng, a young monk, moves to a temple in a village where villagers still foolishly believe in ghosts and spirits...
Director: Note Chern-Yim
 
51.
A Journey of Samyak Buddha (2013)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
This movie traces the journey of Gautam Buddha's miraculous birth, marriage & his path towards enlightenment. Based on Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar's book, 'The Buddha & His righteousness.
Director: Praveen Damle
 
52.
Mandala (1981)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
A story that follows the lives and interactions of two Buddhist monks living in South Korea. (117 mins.)
Director: Kwon-taek Im
 
53.
Da mo zu shi (1994)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
(89 mins.)
Director: Brandy Yuen
 
54.
Baytong (2003)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
On hearing the news of the death of his sister, a Buddhist monk leaves the temple where he has lived...
Director: Nonzee Nimibutr
 
55.
Sankara (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
Young Buddhist monk Ananda, arrives at a temple in order to restore its paintings. These paintings depict Thelapaththa Jathakaya... (87 mins.)
 
56.
Transgression (1974)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.4/10 X  
A boy raised in a temple by the monks must resist the test of temptation before he can become an abbot of his order (112 mins.)
Director: Ki-young Kim
 
57.
Trishagni (1988)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
(102 mins.)
Director: Nabendu Ghosh
 
58.
Valley of Flowers (2006)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
A greatest Asian love story, an unforgettable tale about passion, death and reincarnation. A mesmerizing Himalayan epic that spans two centuries, from the Silk Route of the early 19th century to the bustling metropolis of modern-day Tokyo. (155 mins.)
Director: Pan Nalin
 
59.
Transcendence (2014)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  
A scientist's drive for artificial intelligence, takes on dangerous implications when his consciousness is uploaded into one such program. (119 mins.)
Director: Wally Pfister
 
60.
Princess Mononoke (1997)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
On a journey to find the cure for a Tatarigami's curse, Ashitaka finds himself in the middle of a war between the forest gods and Tatara, a mining colony. In this quest he also meets San, the Mononoke Hime. (134 mins.)
Director: Hayao Miyazaki
 
61.
The Razor's Edge (1984)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
He had everything and wanted nothing. He learned that he had nothing and wanted everything. He saved the world and then it shattered. The path to enlightenment is as sharp and narrow as a razor's edge. (128 mins.)
Director: John Byrum
 
62.
Being There (1979)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A simple, sheltered gardener becomes an unlikely trusted advisor to a powerful businessman and an insider in Washington politics. (130 mins.)
Director: Hal Ashby
 
63.
The Tale of the Princess Kaguya (2013)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
Found inside a shining stalk of bamboo by an old bamboo cutter and his wife, a tiny girl grows rapidly into an exquisite young lady. The mysterious young princess enthralls all who encounter her - but ultimately she must confront her fate, the punishment for her crime. (137 mins.)
Director: Isao Takahata
 
64.
Spirited Away (2001)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  
During her family's move to the suburbs, a sullen 10-year-old girl wanders into a world ruled by gods, witches, and spirits, and where humans are changed into beasts. (125 mins.)
Director: Hayao Miyazaki
 
65.
I Heart Huckabees (2004)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
A husband-and-wife team play detective, but not in the traditional sense. Instead, the happy duo helps others solve their existential issues, the kind that keep you up at night, wondering what it all means. (107 mins.)
 
66.
Himalaya (1999)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
An aging chief's last stand, lessons for the new, and the education of a young chief-to-be played against harsh Nature in Nepal's Dolpo... (108 mins.)
 
67.
Dean Spanley (2008)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
Set in Edwardian England where upper lips are always stiff and men from the Colonies are not entirely to be trusted, Fisk Senior has little time or affection for his son, but when the pair visit an eccentric Indian, they start a strange journey that eventually allows the old man to find his heart. (100 mins.)
Director: Toa Fraser