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The Climb (1986)

PG | | Adventure | 15 May 1987 (USA)
Based on the true story of the 1953 assault on Nanga Parbat, a treacherous Himalayan Peak.


Donald Shebib


Donald Shebib (screenplay by), Claude Harz (story editor) | 1 more credit »
2 nominations. See more awards »


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Complete credited cast:
Bruce Greenwood ... Hermann Buhl
James Hurdle James Hurdle ... Dr. Karl Herrligkoffer
Kenneth Welsh ... Walter Frauenberger
Ken Pogue ... Peter Aschenbrenner
Thomas Hauff ... Kuno Rainer
Guy Bannerman Guy Bannerman ... Hans Ertl
Denis Forest ... Hermann Kollensperger
David James Elliott ... Otto Kempter (as David Elliott)
Jeremy Wilkin Jeremy Wilkin ... Albert Bitterling
Tom Butler ... Willy Merkl


Based on the true story of the 1953 assault on Nanga Parbat, a treacherous Himalayan Peak.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Thirty before him have perished... Now one of them will decide his fate.




PG | See all certifications »



Canada | UK



Release Date:

15 May 1987 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Lonely Conquest See more »

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User Reviews

Excellent film does not play with the truth
18 December 2001 | by rsoonsaSee all my reviews

This is based on the true story of the 1953 Austro-German mountaineering expedition which had as its objective the conquering of one of the world's most dangerous peaks, Nanga Parbat (Naked Mountain) in Kashmir, and is told with precision as it happened, with the barest minimum of dialogue development required to indicate character conflict. Dr. Karl Herrligkoffer (James Hurdle) organizes this sortie into the Western Himalayas only with difficulty attracting well-known and experienced climbers, due to his method of organization being very autocratic, but does eventually garner the services of Peter Aschenbrenner (Ken Pogue), veteran of an ill-fated 1934 junket, and the great Alpine master Hermann Buhl (Bruce Greenwood). A large number (31) of Germans and their porters have died on Nanga Parbat before this effort is mustered and even Everest is scaled before it, by Sir Edmund Hillary and companions during the same year, and Herrligkoffer's operation is planned as a memorial to his stepbrother, Willy Merkl, one of those who perished in 1934. Buhl, a great climber with obsessive dedication to his goals, is correctly portrayed here as one who takes immense risks which enable him to succeed where others can not, and although his experience is primarily in Europe, Greenwood's voiceover of Buhl's diary written to his wife, during the films's early segments, perfectly matches what is known of his temperament. Director Donald Shebib wrote the screenplay for this Canadian production, and must be praised for being faithful to the original sequence of events, and for his supervision of superb sound technicians, which latter properly make us aware that what we hear in this work is often the cardinal adversary of the indefatigable Buhl. Greenwood and the remainder of the all male cast avoid overplaying their roles, simply letting the drama inherent in this primal struggle of man versus nature and himself take its normal course and although the events displayed in this feature occurred many years ago, a timeless quality is pervasive, again largely attributable to the skillful direction of Shebib, largely utilizing Buhl's written document, Nanga Parbat Pilgrimage.

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