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Seven Years in Tibet (1997)

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1:54 | Trailer
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.

Writers:

Heinrich Harrer (book), Becky Johnston (screenplay)
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Popularity
3,338 ( 463)
Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 3 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Brad Pitt ... Heinrich Harrer
David Thewlis ... Peter Aufschnaiter
BD Wong ... Ngawang Jigme (as B.D. Wong)
Mako ... Kungo Tsarong
Danny Denzongpa ... Regent
Victor Wong ... Chinese 'Amban'
Ingeborga Dapkunaite ... Ingrid Harrer
Jamyang Jamtsho Wangchuk ... Dalai Lama, 14 Years Old
Lhakpa Tsamchoe ... Pema Lhaki
Jetsun Pema Jetsun Pema ... Great Mother
Ama Ashe Dongtse Ama Ashe Dongtse ... Tashi
Sonam Wangchuk ... Dalai Lama, 8 Years Old
Dorjee Tsering Dorjee Tsering ... Dalai Lama, 4 Years Old
Ric Young ... General Chang Jing Wu
Ngawang Chojor 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 Austrian pride by climbing Nanga Parbat in British India, and leaves his expectant wife behind. An 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 several times in vain, but finally does succeed along with Peter Aufschnaiter (David Thewlis), and they 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. They meet regularly; while he satiates the child's curiosity about the world, including Jack the Ripper and 'yellow hair'; he is exposed to the teachings of Lord Buddha, He even constructs a movie theater, while getting news of the end of the war, his ... Written by rAjOo (gunwanti@hotmail.com)

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

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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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Did You Know?

Trivia

The real Heinrich Harrer joked that "Brad Pitt was a terrible choice to play me. At that age I was much better looking than him." 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

[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?
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Crazy Credits

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

Connections

Referenced in Micmacs (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

Die Moritat von Mackie Messer/The Ballad of Mack the Knife
Written by Kurt Weill & Bertolt Brecht
Performed by Lotte Lenya
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User Reviews

 
One Of The Most Unique Adventures Of The Twentieth Century
6 March 2007 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

Tibet has certainly fascinated people all over the world. The hidden land in the most forbidding place on the planet not at either pole. In its day Lost Horrizon made quite a bit of money for its author James Hilton. But the real story of Heinrich Harrer is better than anything a fictional author could have thought up.

Brad Pitt is Harrer in Seven Years In Tibet and this has become my favorite film of his. Heinrich Harrer, a world famous mountain climber and Austrian national hero goes on an expedition in 1939 to conquer an unclimbed peak in the Himalayas. While he's doing his mountain climbing Germany of which Austria is now part of marches into Poland and World War II begins. Harrer and his party are interred as enemy aliens.

In 1942 Harrer escaped and he and a friend played by David Thewlis make their way into Tibet. The rest of the film is the seven years he spent there, centered around the unique friendship he formed with the child ruler of Tibet, the Dalai Lama. This in fact is the same Dalai Lama who today is possibly the world's greatest and non-aligned apostle of the gospel of peace.

Brad Pitt is never better in the film than he is with the three child actors who play the Dalai Lama at various stages of his life. The physical hardship that he and Thewlis endure just getting into Tibet is adventure enough. But the spiritual journey he undergoes in his time there makes this one of the most unique adventure stories of the last century.

One thing I liked about Seven Years in Tibet is that no effort was made to cover up Harrer's Nazi background. In an alternate universe one can speculate on what might have happened to him had he actually had to serve in the army in World War II. His internment saved him from possibly being involved any number of atrocities. God, fate, some kind of higher power saved him for something wonderful.

The cinematography is breathtaking, this film had an incredible number of locations. Note that it was shot in British Columbia, in Argentina with the Andes serving as the Himalayas, Austria and even some establishing footage was shot in Tibet itself on the sly.

Tibet's status is unique unto the world. It has been part of China since the Ming dynasty. It's referred to properly as the autonomous region of Tibet. China has given it autonomy in varying degrees over the past several centuries, it's never been truly independent. The Communist regime back in the days of Mao Tse-tung brutally asserted it's sovereignty a few times, most notably in late fifties when the Dalai Lama was forced to flee Tibet and live in Northern India where he resides to this day. That is when he's not traveling the world as it's foremost advocate of non-violence.

It is sad that this film did not get more box office than it did. Brad Pitt, David Thewlis, director Jean Jacques Arnaud are all persona non grata in the People's Republic of China for making this film. Quite a market indeed to be shut out of for a stand for humanity.

It's to be hoped that one day the Tibetans will be free. Until then they have their unique brand of Buddhism to sustain them and this wonderful film to tell their story.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Official Sites:

Official Site

Country:

USA | UK

Language:

English | German | Mandarin | Tibetan | Hindi

Release Date:

10 October 1997 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Seven Years in Tibet See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$70,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$10,020,378, 12 October 1997

Gross USA:

$37,957,682

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$131,457,682
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | SDDS (8 channels)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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