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
Director Jean-Jacques Annaud sent a team to Tibet to secretly film footage. About 20 minutes of it made it into the finished film. This was kept secret even after the film's premiere and not known until summer 1999. See more »
When Harrer demonstrates abseiling (rappelling) in Lhasa, he uses a modern figure of eight abseiling device. In those days one used the "Dülfer" method or the "Karabiner-sitz" method. See more »
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?
Would that make... It's the Himalayas! How long have I been talking about the Himalayas? How long?
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As the end credits roll, a view of the mountains of Tibet is seen. See more »
This movie has some of the best cinematography I have ever seen. The movie does a great job of showing the Potala Palace and Jokhang Temple in Lhasa as well as the rural villages of Tibet. Not to mention the breath taking views of the Himalayas.
Yes, Brad Pitt's accent wasn't exactly his best but it's forgivable when watching the movie. His acting was superb, portraying Heinrich's transition, which is what the movie is all about.
The movie did lack qualities of the book, the ending was totally wrong and somewhat disappointing. And the whole Nazi part in Austria was completely unnecessary.
Besides a few minor details, the movie is well worth the 2 1/2 hours especially if you are interested in the Chinese seizure of Tibet and the Tibetan culture and people.
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