Seven Years in Tibet (1997) - Rotten Tomatoes

Seven Years in Tibet1997

Seven Years in Tibet (1997)



Critic Consensus: Seven Years in Tibet tells its fascinating true-life story with a certain stolid grace, even if it never quite comes to life the way it could.

Seven Years in Tibet Photos

Movie Info

Jean-Jacques Annaud (The Name of the Rose, Quest for Fire) directed this Becky Johnston adaptation of Heinrich Harrer. In 1943, an Austrian mountain climber-skier (Brad Pitt) escapes from a British internment camp in India, travels over the Himalayas, arrives in Lhasato, and becomes friends with the Dalai Lama. Filmed in Argentina, Chile, and Canada.

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Brad Pitt
as Heinrich Harrer
David Thewlis
as Peter Aufschnaiter
B.D. Wong
as Ngawang Jigme
as Kungo Tsarong
Jetsun Pema
as Great Mother
Victor Wong
as Chinese `Amban'
Ingeborga Dapkunayte
as Ingrid Harrer
Lhakpa Tsamchoe
as Pema Lhaki
Sonam Wangchuk
as Dalai Lama (age 8)
Tsering Dorjee
as Dalai Lama (age 4)
Ric Young
as General Chang Jing Wu
Ven. Ngawang Chojor
as Lord Chamberlain
Duncan Fraser
as British Officer
Benedick Blythe
as Nazi Official
Tom Raudaschl
as Lutz Chicken
Wolfgang Tonninger
as Hans Lobenhoffer
Samdup Dhargyal
as The Garpon
as Garpon's Agent
Ven. Tenzin Jangchub
as Declaration Monk Official
Major Angphurba Sherpa
as Tibetan General
Tsering Wangdue
as Burly Guide
Kalsang Dhundop Lungtok
as Ice-Skates Vendor
Sonam Bidhartsang
as Jacket Vendor
Lama Champa Tsondu
as Watch Vendor
Geshe Lobsang Nyma
as Ling Rinpoche
Geshe Yeshi Tsultrim
as Trijang Rinpoche
Lama Champa Chandu
as Dalai Lama's Room Attendant
Pemba Norbu Sherpa
as Young Sherpa
Karma Apo-Tsang
as Messenger to Great Mother
Ven. Ngawang Tenzin Gyatso
as Jokhang Monk Official
Choeden Tsering
as Military Instructor
Lama Jampa Lekshe
as Monk Head of Security
Lama Thupten Nugdup
as Head of Security's Aide
Gerardo Ebert
as Horst Immendorf
Sebastian Zevalia
as Rolf Harrer (younger)
Philipp Kriechbaum
as Rolf Harrer (older)
Ingeborga Dapkunaite
as Ingrid Harrer
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Critic Reviews for Seven Years in Tibet

All Critics (35) | Top Critics (8)

Unfortunately for Seven Years in Tibet, its focus is on the wrong guy. Harrer may be a fascinating figure in real life, but he never shows up here. The guy we're watching is never anyone but Brad Pitt.

March 5, 2018 | Full Review…
Top Critic

The movie is about two characters and is told from the point of view of the wrong one.

January 1, 2000 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

Pitt is no disgrace but is blown off the screen by a bright-eyed adolescent actor.

January 1, 2000 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…
Top Critic

If the film seems a little like a fairy tale, what can one do with the story of an Olympic skier who ends up as tutor to a boy-king regarded as a god?

August 17, 2018 | Full Review…

Pitt is smiling, taking his shirt off, brushing his blond locks with his hands, striking poses against the picturesque scenery--in short, being Brad Pitt.

January 5, 2009 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

Part road picture, part epic, and part spiritual journey, Seven Years in Tibet is a beautiful film with a story so typical-yet-unusual that it could only have come from autobiography.

July 26, 2007 | Rating: 7/10 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Seven Years in Tibet


At the end of the world his real journey began. Great Film! The film has a great amount of interesting facts, and takes place in the 1930's through '50's. There are times when it is; magical, spiritual, enlightening, sweet, sad and poignant.Overall, an unusual film, very involving and emotional without sentimentality, with wonderful music and outstanding cinematography. Highly recommended. 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 his son's refusal to communicate. But nothing will prepare him for the devastation about to descend when Communist China decides to attack, leading to the deaths of over 1 million Tibetans, destruction of over 6000 monasteries, and betrayal from their very own people.

Manu Gino
Manu Gino

Super Reviewer


Pitt's terrible Austrian accent and shallow pretty boy role play are hidden as its coincidentally perfect for the jerk he plays, but such happenstance doesn't extend to the film as a whole that tries to convey some spiritual change in the jerk yet fails to do so. Beautiful scenery, wasted.

Kevin M. Williams
Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer


Dazzling locations, swindling heights and breathtaking cinematography. A highly captivating film experience, even if the story lacks a clear and proper goal. We follow an Austrian mountain climber (Brad Pitt) as he embarks on a perilous journey into the isolated heart of Tibet. Pitt does an excellent job with his role, despite the fact that his "Austrian" accent sounds awfully contrived. As previously inclined, there's a lot of water-treading progress-wise, and it could easily have been shortended down by at least 30 min. One thing I really liked though was the music score by John Williams. Much of the time, it stays quite anonymous in the background, but there are parts where it's reminiscent of the work he did for the Indiana Jones movies - which is a big plus point in my book. Had the story only possessed more drive and focus, this could have been a truly great motion picture. But due to mentioned drawbacks, it comes to a stop at the "good, but not amazing"-line on my enjoyment scale. In terms of beauty, however, it's close to being a full-pointer. A scenic pleasure that makes it more than worthwhile.

Mike S
Mike S

Super Reviewer

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