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Little Buddha (1993)

PG | | Drama | 25 May 1994 (USA)
1:57 | Trailer

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Lama Norbu comes to Seattle in search of the reincarnation of his dead teacher, Lama Dorje. His search leads him to young Jesse Conrad, Raju, a waif from Kathmandu, and an upper class ... See full summary »


(story), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
2 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Ruocheng Ying ...
Lama Norbu (as Ying Ruocheng)
Alex Wiesendanger ...
Raju Lal ...
Greishma Makar Singh ...
Sogyal Rinpoche ...
Ven. Khyongla Rato Rinpoche ...
Ven. Geshe Tsultim Gyelsen ...
Lama Dorje
Jigme Kunsang ...
Thubtem Jampa ...
Sonali (as Surehka Sikri)
T.K. Lama ...


Lama Norbu comes to Seattle in search of the reincarnation of his dead teacher, Lama Dorje. His search leads him to young Jesse Conrad, Raju, a waif from Kathmandu, and an upper class Indian girl. Together, they journey to Bhutan where the three children must undergo a test to prove which is the true reincarnation. Interspersed with this, is the story of Siddharta, later known as the Buddha. It traces his spiritual journey from ignorance to true enlightenment. Written by Samantha Santa Maria <TE7441667@ntuvax.ntu.ac.sg>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


A magical journey to a place where the past and the present meet.



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for some disturbing images | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:




| | |


Release Date:

25 May 1994 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Lille Buddha  »

Filming Locations:



Box Office


$35,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$873,983, 27 May 1994, Limited Release

Gross USA:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(70 mm prints)| (35 mm prints)



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


For the scene in the forest with the ascetics, where Siddartha becomes emaciated from lack of food, Keanu Reeves went on a crash diet of oranges and water. See more »


When Raju is playing with the Game Boy you can hear music from Tetris, but it's actually not turned on at all. See more »


[first lines]
Lama Norbu: Once upon a time, in a village in ancient India, there was a little goat and a priest. The priest wanted to sacrifice the goat to the gods. He raised him arm to cut the goat's throat, when suddenly the goat began to laugh. The priest stopped, amazed, and asked the goat, "why do you laugh? Don't you know I'm about to cut your throat?" "Oh yes," said the goat. "After 499 times dying and being reborn as a goat, I will be reborn as a human being." Then the little goat began to cry. The...
See more »

Crazy Credits

(Opening disclaimer) This film is inspired by the true life stories of several children and their extraordinary voyage of discovery. See more »


Referenced in Hagan Reviews: Eat the Schoolgirl (2012) See more »

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User Reviews

A gentle introduction to Buddhism
21 January 2000 | by See all my reviews

If you suspend your need for believable characters, this film does have moments that take you to another world where good and evil are at odds and how one man, Prince Siddharta (Keanu Reeves), deals with the inner demons that reside within us all.

The scenes in which you learn about the life of Prince Siddharta are beautifully done. We get a Buddhist primer of sorts, and learn about the trials that Prince Siddharta had to go through on his quest for enlightenment.

As for the rest of the movie, well, it just dragged in a lot of places and the characters just were not all that believable.

If you know little or nothing about Tibetan Buddhism and would like to get a sense of it without getting into heavy dogma and spiritual practice, this movie is a nice intro.

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