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Seven Years in Tibet

Seven Years in Tibet (1997)

September. 12,1997
| Adventure Drama History

Austrian mountaineer, Heinrich Harrer journeys to the Himalayas without his family to head an expedition in 1939. But when World War II breaks out, the arrogant Harrer falls into Allied forces' hands as a prisoner of war. He escapes with a fellow detainee and makes his way to Llaso, Tibet, where he meets the 14-year-old Dalai Lama, whose friendship ultimately transforms his outlook on life.


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Wonderful character development!


hyped garbage


A Masterpiece!

Humaira Grant

It’s not bad or unwatchable but despite the amplitude of the spectacle, the end result is underwhelming.


Thrown into a prisoner-of-war camp at the outbreak of World War II, an Austrian mountain climber escapes and eventually finds a new purpose in life as a mentor to the Dalai Lama in this historical drama based on actual events. Brad Pitt has some excellent, quiet moments as the conflicted main character who gradually progresses from arrogant and resentful to humble and compassionate, however, his attempt at an Austrain accent makes it a hard performance to sit through whenever he opens his mouth. There is, however, a lot to like about Pitt's character and the way he comes to see the Dalai Lama (still a boy upon meeting him) as a surrogate son. The friendship and camaraderie between the pair is very sweet and easily the highlight of the film with the Dalai Lama's intelligent questions and Pitt's thoughtful responses. The two do not meet until around halfway in though, and amusing as David Thewlis often is as a fellow POW who escapes with Pitt, the first half the film does not quite have the zest of the second half. This is a technically well accomplished movie either way though with the atmospheric Golden Globe nominated music of John Williams and all the majestic, vast natural landscapes rendering the tale quite immersive. It is hard not to wonder what may have been though with a more compact run-time - and no fake accent.

Filipe Neto

This film follows the course of the German climber Heinrich Harrer, who travels to Tibet in order to climb a mountain. The failure of the attempt and the outbreak of World War II takes him to a prison camp (India was a British colony), from where he manages to flee to Tibet, a neutral country outside of English jurisdiction but very averse to visits from foreigners . However, he is able to enter and settle in the capital, where he meets the young Dalai Lama and helps in his education. Thus begins a great friendship between the two, portrayed in a touching way. The plot has a strong story behind it and is truly interesting, with well-developed moral and historical backgrounds, though it does not focus much on the historical facts but rather on the protagonist's personal connection with what happened there. I felt that the Chinese invasion was almost a footnote in the film, and the movie ended up losing with that absence. Brad Pitt gave life to the protagonist and, despite a reasonable performance, was not totally happy with his character. It seems that he has never really been in the shoes of the climber he plays. David Thewlis had more capacity for his character but, being a secondary character, there was little for the actor. One never comes to understand whether Harrer is a sympathizer of Nazi ideas or whether he was merely a victim of events, like so many Germans who suffered from World War II and who have never reviewed the ideas of the regime. The film explores the whole Tibetan ambiance very well, with its impressive scenery and scenery. Although the film fails to create a mountain epic with an emotive background, it is good enough to merit our attention and does a good job showing a little of what Tibet has been in the past. I'm even surprised that this film has not been nominated for a single Oscar, but maybe political reasons have silenced the Academy.


Supermodel, eh Super Actor, eh Superstar Brad Pitt was apparently Well Intention-ed in Bringing Light to the Plight of the Exiled Dalai Lama and was willing to Die His Hair and Take Off His Shirt to Enhance the Cause, and Oh Yea, even Labor a Foreign Accent.But although the Film took Great Pains to make the Show Look Beautiful it didn't suffer too Much to bring Enlightenment and Entertainment to the Uninformed Masses. The Movie is Flat, Despite the Snowy Peaks and Defiant Hills. The Film never Gains any Attraction beyond that of Postcards until the Movie's Star meets the Lama. Yes, there are some Interesting Cultural Displays but a lot of it is Superficial and Boring (like the ice skating) and have Little to do with the Encroaching Chinese and Spiritual Beauty within the 14th Incarnation that is the Personified and Deified Dalai Lama, Tibet's Spiritual Leader.The Actor Portraying the 14 Year Old Lama could have Taught Brad Pitt something about Acting. Like doing more than just Smirking and Tilting the Face and Brushing Back Long Bottled Blonde Locks. Overall, the Ending is Rushed and should have been a Climax of Powerful Military and Political Suppression but is Over so Quickly it is almost an Afterthought. The Film is Focused throughout on all the Wrong Things and it renders the Movie Limp and Long with more Filler than Fact, and the Result is a Noble if Failed Effort to make the Case for the Tibetan People and the Dalai Lama. Based on a True Story but this is Hollywood Gloss Misused and does Little to Inspire Ire and bring Light to the Injustice. The Great Spiritual People of Tibet Deserve Better.


This had the foundations to be something truly special. An Austrian mountain climber leaves a dying marriage to explore the Himalayas in British India, but with the onset of World War II is forced to flea through inhospitable terrain to Tibet where he is befriended by a doomed world leader.Fantastic, how could such a unique and complex plot go wrong? Well believe me, they found a way.10 minutes into the movie and I'd already given up on the script, it was dull from the first line and barely improved after that, no point waiting for a witty or insightful remark because it isn't coming.Then there was the editing. Seemingly important scenes are over in a heartbeat while pointless scenes are dragged out. Moments that seem like big twists are immediately and coincidently reversed just 5 seconds later, it's all a bit of a mess. The film never really flows, it limps along, takes a sudden leap, then limps again.Brad Pitt isn't too bad but the supporting cast is pretty hopeless, the acting quality would barely compete with a daytime soap opera, and the elevator music soundtrack just makes thing worse.If you like a bit of culture and funky scenery then it might be worth a look, but otherwise Seven Years in Tibet will feel like seven years in solitary confinement.