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Seven Years in Tibet (1997)

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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 79,018 users   Metascore: 55/100
Reviews: 112 user | 77 critic | 18 from Metacritic.com

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.

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(book), (screenplay)
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Title: Seven Years in Tibet (1997)

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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 3 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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...
...
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Jamyang Jamtsho Wangchuk ...
Lhakpa Tsamchoe ...
Jetsun Pema ...
Ama Ashe Dongtse ...
Sonam Wangchuk ...
Dorjee Tsering ...
...
Ngawang Chojor ...
Lord Chamberlain (as Ven. Ngawang Chojor)
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Storyline

After the death of 11 climbers, Austrian Heinrich Harrer (Brad Pitt) decides to add glory to his country and to the German pride by climbing Nanga Parbat in British India, and leaves his expectant wife behind. Egoist and a loner, he does not get along with others on his team - but must bend to their wishes after bad weather threatens them. Then WWII breaks out, they are arrested and lodged in Dehra Dun's P.O.W. Camp. He attempts to break out in vain several times, but finally does succeed along with Peter Aufschnaiter (David Thewlis), and end up in the holy city of Lhasa - a place banned to foreigners. They are provided food and shelter, and Peter ends up marrying a tailor, Pema Lhaki, while Heinrich befriends the Dalai Lama. He meets regularly to satiate the child's curiosity about the world, including Jack the Ripper and 'yellow hair'; in return he is exposed to teachings of Lord Buddha and even constructs a movie theater, while getting news of the end of the war; his divorce; and ... Written by rAjOo (gunwanti@hotmail.com)

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

At the end of the world his real journey began.


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some violent sequences | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

Country:

|

Language:

| | | |

Release Date:

8 October 1997 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Siete años en el Tíbet  »

Box Office

Budget:

$70,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$15,900,000 (Non-US) (28 November 1997)

Gross:

$37,901,509 (USA) (6 February 1998)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

| (8 channels)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Because of their roles in the movie, David Thewlis and Brad Pitt are banned from ever entering China. See more »

Goofs

When Heinrich Harrer uses a globe to explain time zones to the young Dalai Lama, he spins the globe the wrong way (clockwise - from East to West), and says "So if the sun is just rising in Lhasa, that means it is just setting in New York City, perhaps." But the Earth spins counterclockwise, and Harrer should have spun the globe the other way, saying "So if the sun is already setting in Lhasa, that means it is just rising in New York City, perhaps." Another possible correct statement would be to say "So if the sun is just rising in Lhasa, that means it is just setting in New York City yesterday, perhaps." See more »

Quotes

Ngawang Jigme: Hello, my friend. We did what was best for our country, for Tibet.
Heinrich Harrer: On the way to Lhasa I would see Tibetans wearing those jackets. 'Chinese soldiers very nice. Give food, clothes and money. Very nice.' It's strange to me that something so harmless as a jacket can symbolize such a great lie.
Ngawang Jigme: After all these years you still don't understand our Tibetan ways. To return a gift is unforgivable.
Heinrich Harrer: A man who betrays his culture shouldn't preach about its customs. There was a time I would have wished you...
See more »

Crazy Credits

As the end credits roll, a view of the mountains of Tibet is seen. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Fight Club (1999) See more »

Soundtracks

Kham-Lu
Performed by the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts (TIPA)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
A moving, well-crafted, and visually breathtaking film
9 May 2004 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

First of all, Seven Years In Tibet is a very aesthetically pleasing film. The snowy Himalayas, the Tibetan villages, and the amazing costumes and religious ceremonies are all filmed beautifully, with rich colours and lighting. The music by John Williams is also excellent, and it's fascinating to hear how it blends with the unusual Tibetan music.

It's not all surface though, there's depth here too. Don't believe the negative comments about Brad Pitt's acting. Admittedly his accent slips a bit in places, but he does a great job as Heinrich, both the unpleasant, arrogant character at the beginning, and the more gentle and wise man that he becomes as the film progresses. His relationship with the young Dalai Lama (a very impressive actor) is an unusual one and refreshingly unsentimental. The film is well edited; scenes are not drawn out any longer than they need to be. As a whole, it is fast paced but also peaceful, tender and moving. You don't get bored but you're not bombarded with pointless action scenes either.

It's a pleasant surprise to see a Hollywood film where women and other cultures aren't treated as objects, and are allowed to be full, complex characters. It could be argued that this film has a Western perspective, but after all, it is adapted from a book written by a European living in Tibet, and intended for Western audiences. It treats the Tibetan culture with a great deal of respect, so I don't really see a problem with that. Similarly, those who have complained that it doesn't tell you enough about the Dalai Lama and too much about Heinrich, ultimately it is Heinrich's story, and that is its strength: that it is one man's tale, and not a political polemic. It gives you a great sense of how people's stories intersect and how the whole world is connected.

Overall, an unusual film, very involving and emotional without sentimentality, with wonderful music and outstanding cinematography. Highly recommended.


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