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Seven Years in Tibet (1997)

PG-13  |   |  Adventure, Biography, Drama  |  10 October 1997 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 89,921 users   Metascore: 55/100
Reviews: 117 user | 76 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.


(book), (screenplay)
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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 3 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Jamyang Jamtsho Wangchuk ...
Lhakpa Tsamchoe ...
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:




| | | |

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
See  »

Did You Know?


In the scene where Heinrich confronts Ngawang, the director did not tell BD Wong the script called for Brad Pitt to throw him into the dirt; Wong's reaction is completely authentic. See more »


Some of the Ghurkas who arrest Harrer in 1939 carry Sten Guns which did not exist for another two years. 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 Fight Club (1999) See more »


Written by Yungchen Lhamo
Performed by Yungchen Lhamo
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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I watch this movie every time I get drunk! brodieman761
Too bad Pitt didn't care enough to obtain a passable accent jking143
Pitt's Accent JIS_22
A Nazi Hero? zhao_kun_83
Something the outside world should remember... brenz_100
banned from china? silvertina33
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