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Seven Years in Tibet (1997)

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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.


(book), (screenplay)
4,103 ( 2,378)
Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 3 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »



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


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


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:



Official Sites:




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Release Date:

10 October 1997 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Siete años en el Tíbet  »

Box Office


$70,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$10,066,508 (USA) (10 October 1997)


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

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| (8 channels)



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


Upon release, the film was condemned by the government of the People's Republic of China who claimed that the Communist Chinese military officers depicted were intentionally shown as being impolite and arrogant. They also objected to the positive depiction of the Dalai Lama. See more »


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 »


[first lines]
Heinrich Harrer: Why must you be this way? Why, why is there always a problem? It's a good question. Do you want to go home? Do you want to turn around?
Ingrid Harrer: Yes.
Heinrich Harrer: Would that make... It's the Himalayas! How long have I been talking about the Himalayas? How long?
See more »

Crazy Credits

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


Referenced in The Four Feathers (2002) See more »


Ku-nga Torbul: Invocation Of The Five Emanations
Performed by Monks from the Drepung Loseling Monastery
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

A fictionalized historical drama
23 November 2000 | by (PA) – See all my reviews

Seven Years in Tibet is to the true story what the Sound of Music is to Maria Von Trapp's autobiography. Maria writes in the second volume of her autobiography that she wanted to sue the film makers, and I wonder whether Heinrich feels the same. I thought it was an excellent film that did a great job of conveying accurately what Lhasa looks like, having earlier seen a book of photographs from British expeditions around 1910. And I am glad it generated some sympathy for the plight of the Tibetans. But having since read Heinrich's autobiography, it appears that virtually every event in the movie was made up, including the business with the watch. I don't understand why, because the true story was fascinating, with lots of drama. What is wrong with the minds and egos of people in Hollywood? If they want to completely distort the original facts, don't call it non-fiction.

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A poor movie JMSLee09
I watch this movie every time I get drunk! brodieman761
Too bad Pitt didn't care enough to obtain a passable accent jking143
Something the outside world should remember... brenz_100
A Nazi Hero? zhao_kun_83
Pitt's Accent JIS_22
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