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The Horse Thief (1986)

Dao ma zei (original title)
The story of Norbu, a horse thief, who is thrown out of his tribe in an effort to purge it of evil. Norbu repents after the birth of his son, but he is forced to steal again after the birth... See full summary »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Daiba ...
Granny
Jiji Dan ...
Dolma, wife
Drashi ...
Grandfather
Gaoba ...
Nowre
Jamco Jayang ...
Tashi, son
Rigzin Tseshang ...
Norbu
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Storyline

The story of Norbu, a horse thief, who is thrown out of his tribe in an effort to purge it of evil. Norbu repents after the birth of his son, but he is forced to steal again after the birth of a second son. Written by International Film Circuit <ifcplanet@aol.com>

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6 January 1988 (USA)  »

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The Horse Thief  »

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2.35 : 1
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Trivia

Number 1 on Martin Scorsese's top 10 movies of the 90s list, which he presented on a special episode of At the Movies with Roger Ebert. Even though the movie was made and released in the 80s, it gain traction in the US during the 90s. See more »

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User Reviews

He stole more than horses
7 December 2004 | by (Rochester, NY) – See all my reviews

I'm not Martin Scorsese, I'm not a film student, I'm just a guy who likes movies. I saw this film tonight and found myself a little mystified over all the praise. I'm also not the Summer Blockbuster guy either so that's not my justification for not gushing about this film.

I will remember the primitiveness and brutality of life in Tibet. I will remember the colorful and confusing religious rituals. I'm sure they'd say the same thing about Catholicism. The landscape is beautiful, but that kind of sells itself. Why does the director take credit for that?

As stated on other reviews there are several scenes of sheep abuse which are less than politically correct. OK yeah, I get it, it's a different culture. Doesn't make it easier to watch.

Working with a group of non-actors is a major hurdle to overcome and I salute Tian for overcoming this.

I kept thinking it a bit odd that Norbu's wife had no idea what he did for a living. I also found it a bit odd that she had no recrimination for him after getting banished. Further more I'd have thought she'd really see red when their son dies, probably as a result of their standard of living after being banished. Perhaps this is a cultural difference. I understand the director is making a political statement in this film, but ultimately it seems fairly universal, not a product of Chinese society specifically.

To sum up the dubbing was awful, the sound quality in general was very poor, character development was fairly minimal and the one scene of violence (people on people) was not very convincing. I'm sure I would need to go to film school to find out why this film was called the best of the decade, but if you need that much education to appreciate something is it really worth it in the end?


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