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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.

Writers:

Heinrich Harrer (book), Becky Johnston (screenplay)
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Popularity
3,582 ( 322)
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
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 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

Taglines:

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:

View content advisory »
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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:

Siete años en el Tíbet See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$70,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$10,066,508, 12 October 1997, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$37,957,682

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$131,457,682
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | SDDS (8 channels)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Goofs

The movie depicts the Dalai Lama's enthronement occurring after Germany surrenders in WWII, and after China invades Tibet. The actual Enthronement Ceremony took place on 22 February 1940, (Iron-Dragon Year, 1st month, 14th day), long before the end of the war and the Chinese invasion. On 17 November 1950 the Dalai Lama assumed full temporal (political) power over Tibet, more then 10 years after his Enthronement Ceremony. 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?
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Connections

Referenced in NCIS: Hide and Seek (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

Lotus Field
Performed by Phuntsok Namgyal Dhumkhang
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
A moving, well-crafted, and visually breathtaking film
9 May 2004 | by kaos-23See all my reviews

First of all, Seven Years In Tibet is a very aesthetically pleasing film. The snowy Himalayas, the Tibetan villages, and the amazing costumes and religious ceremonies are all filmed beautifully, with rich colours and lighting. The music by John Williams is also excellent, and it's fascinating to hear how it blends with the unusual Tibetan music.

It's not all surface though, there's depth here too. Don't believe the negative comments about Brad Pitt's acting. Admittedly his accent slips a bit in places, but he does a great job as Heinrich, both the unpleasant, arrogant character at the beginning, and the more gentle and wise man that he becomes as the film progresses. His relationship with the young Dalai Lama (a very impressive actor) is an unusual one and refreshingly unsentimental. The film is well edited; scenes are not drawn out any longer than they need to be. As a whole, it is fast paced but also peaceful, tender and moving. You don't get bored but you're not bombarded with pointless action scenes either.

It's a pleasant surprise to see a Hollywood film where women and other cultures aren't treated as objects, and are allowed to be full, complex characters. It could be argued that this film has a Western perspective, but after all, it is adapted from a book written by a European living in Tibet, and intended for Western audiences. It treats the Tibetan culture with a great deal of respect, so I don't really see a problem with that. Similarly, those who have complained that it doesn't tell you enough about the Dalai Lama and too much about Heinrich, ultimately it is Heinrich's story, and that is its strength: that it is one man's tale, and not a political polemic. It gives you a great sense of how people's stories intersect and how the whole world is connected.

Overall, an unusual film, very involving and emotional without sentimentality, with wonderful music and outstanding cinematography. Highly recommended.


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