Kundun (1997)

PG-13  |   |  Biography, Drama, History  |  16 January 1998 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 20,957 users   Metascore: 74/100
Reviews: 117 user | 86 critic | 26 from Metacritic.com

From childhood to adulthood, Tibet's fourteenth Dalai Lama deals with Chinese oppression and other problems.


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Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 6 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Tenzin Thuthob Tsarong ...
Gyurme Tethong ...
Tulku Jamyang Kunga Tenzin ...
Tenzin Yeshi Paichang ...
Tencho Gyalpo ...
Tenzin Topjar ...
Lobsang (5-10)
Tsewang Migyur Khangsar ...
Tenzin Lodoe ...
Geshi Yeshi Gyatso ...
Losang Gyatso ...
The Messenger (as Lobsang Gyatso)
Sonam Phuntsok ...
Reting Rinpoche
Gyatso Lukhang ...
Lobsang Samten ...
Jigme Tsarong ...
Taktra Rimpoche (as Tsewang Jigme Tsarong)
Tenzin Trinley ...


The Tibetans refer to the Dalai Lama as 'Kundun', which means 'The Presence'. He was forced to escape from his native home, Tibet, when communist China invaded and enforced an oppressive regime upon the peaceful nation of Tibet. The Dalai Lama escaped to India in 1959 and has been living in exile in Dharamsala ever since. Written by Deki

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The amazing story of the fourteenth Dalai Lama. See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for violent images | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





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Release Date:

16 January 1998 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Кундун  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$28,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$72,095 (USA) (26 December 1997)


£157,451 (UK) (10 April 1998)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


Director Martin Scorsese, writer Melissa Mathison and her then husband Harrison Ford were added to the list of over 50 people banned from entering Tibet because of this film. See more »


When the young boy is first being tested, he is presented with several pairs of objects to choose between. When it comes to choosing between two bowls, he picks up the bowl on the right and examines it. When he places the bowl back on the table, he has the bowl on the left in his hand. See more »


Dalai Lama: I see a safe journey, I see a safe return.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The Touchstone Pictures logo shown after the end credits is red. See more »


Featured in Scorsese on Scorsese (2004) See more »

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User Reviews

"Dazzling to the eye and ear" A Masterpiece
19 June 2005 | by (United States BOULDER COUNTY COLORADO) – See all my reviews

I have reviewed this film several times, and find new details I missed. How did they film this, and using non-professional actors, as well? Mysterious, magical, educational, and dazzling to the eye and ear. Seems much careful planning went into this production, a labor of Love. The Dali Lama, must be grateful his story, can now reach the world and his personal mission, may be recognized and possible fulfilled in his lifetime?

Like the "Last Emperor" and "Little Buddha" this "slice of the metaphysical river", is breathtaking in its visual beauty. A story that grabs your heart and soul, and you find yourself, thinking about it weeks later.

Now I have a "Free Tibet" sticker on my Pathfinder, out of reverence for this tiny country, raped by the political powers in control of China.

Bravo to the cast, and film crews.

27 of 31 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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