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Seven Years In Tibet [DVD] [1997]

Price: £13.65
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Product details

  • Actors: Brad Pitt, David Thewlis, BD Wong, Mako, Danny Denzongpa
  • Directors: Jean-Jacques Annaud
  • Writers: Becky Johnston, Heinrich Harrer
  • Producers: Alisa Tager, Catherine Moulin, David Nichols, Diane Summers, Iain Smith
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English, German, Tibetan
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: U
  • Studio: Eiv
  • DVD Release Date: 1 Oct 1999
  • Run Time: 129 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00004RCK4
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 13,935 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Product Description

DVD Special Features:

Trailer A and B
The Making of..
Letterbox Ratio 2:35
Dolby Pro Logic


If it hadn't been for Brad Pitt signing on to play the lead role of obsessive Austrian mountain climber Heinrich Harrer, there's a good chance this lavish $70 million film would not have been made. It was one of two films from 1997 (the other being Martin Scorsese's exquisite Kundun) to view the turmoil between China and Tibet through the eyes of the young Dalai Lama. But with Pitt onboard, this adaptation of Harrer's acclaimed book focuses more on Harrer, a Nazi party member whose life was changed by his experiences in Tibet with the Dalai Lama. Having survived a treacherous climb on the challenging peak of Nanga Parbat and a stint in a British POW camp, Harrer and climbing guide Peter Aufschnaiter (nicely played by David Thewlis) arrive at the Tibetan city of Lhasa, where the 14-year-old Dalai Lama lives as ruler of Tibet. Their stay is longer than either could have expected (the "seven years" of the title), and their lives are forever transformed by their proximity to the Tibetan leader and the peaceful ways of the Buddhist people. China looms over the land as a constant invasive threat, but Seven Years in Tibet is more concerned with viewing Tibetan history through the eyes of a visitor. The film is filled with stunning images and delightful moments of discovery and soothing, lighthearted spirituality, and although he is somewhat miscast, Pitt brings the requisite integrity to his central role. What's missing here is a greater understanding of the young Dalai Lama and the culture of Tibet. Whereas Kundun tells its story purely from the Dalai Lama's point of view, Seven Years in Tibet is essentially an outsider's tale. The result is the feeling that only part of the story's been told here--or maybe just the wrong story. But Harrer's memoir is moving and heartfelt, and director Jean-Jacques Annaud has effectively captured both sincerity and splendor in this flawed but worthwhile film. --Jeff Shannon --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

49 of 54 people found the following review helpful By Ian Millard on 8 April 2005
Format: VHS Tape
As so often, the film simplifies and slightly alters the story as told in the book of the same name and written by Heinrich Harrer; Brad Pitt plays the role excellently, by the way.

Harrer, a rather egoistic young Alpinist from Austria, is in the Himalayas when Britain declares war in 1939. He is interned in British-ruled India as an enemy alien (NB: NOT for any other reason). After several failed attempts at escape in the succeeding two years, he gets away, eventually linking up with a fellow Austrian climber. In order to avoid recapture, they trek high into the mountains and head for Tibet, then closed to all foreigners. By bending and breaking the rules, they get into Lhasa, the Holy City and are tolerated. Indeed, a young educated "civil servant" assists them and continues to do so after he is promoted to high ministerial rank. Harrer builds roads and becomes tutor to the young Dalai Lama, who lives in the Potala Palace high above the city. Harrer's friend marries a local lady; Harrer himself changes to a less egoistic person over time.

After WW2 grinds to its dreadful end, Harrer stays on until the Chinese invasion of 1949. He then returns to Austria, to find that his son (born after he left Austria) has almost grown up. The films ends with Harrer, back in the Austrian Alps, reconciled with his son and his climbing and escaping friend.

This film is largely true to the book. It was badly mauled on release in 1997 because the newspaper critics wanted the standard Spielberg-style Hollywood anti-Nazi propaganda message spelt out; this film is not a propagandistic film, thank God. The blanket condemnation of the critics really showed that there is a kind of "claque" at work in the UK and USA. In fact, Brad Pitt is stellar here, his performance just right. The film is heartwarming and never boring, which shows that Hollywood can do it, when allowed.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Nat Whilk on 17 Nov 2012
Format: Blu-ray
Based on the late Heinrich Harrer's famous memoir, this 136-minute epic tells the tale of an arrogant Austrian climber (Brad Pitt) and his 1939 expedition to the Himalayas. The turmoil that comes with the onset of war leads him and his companion (the great David Thewlis, Remus Lupin in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Ultimate Edition) - Double Play (Blu-ray + DVD)[Region Free]) to the mysterious realm of Tibet, where the young Dalai Lama in his hilltop palace is preparing for his rule and ministry. The unlikeliest of friendships grows up between the egocentric mountaineer and the gentle, humorous philosopher-prince, while all around them sinister forces are gathering...

This is, quite simply, a superb piece of cinema. Brad Pitt, David Thewlis and the many Tibetan actors all play their parts wonderfully. The story is by turns comical, cliffhanger-thrilling and deeply moving; the austere mountain scenery is sublime; the music - composed by the ever reliable John Williams and featuring the virtuoso cellist Yo-Yo Ma - is gorgeous, not least for its sonorous Tibetan chant. And we imbibe a good deal of fascinating history and - if we're minded to receive it - no little wisdom too. This is one film that's equally rewarding to eye, ear, mind, heart and soul.

The beauty of the film's cinematography and soundtrack practically oblige one to prefer the Blu-ray over the DVD if one is lucky enough to be able to afford it. As far as I know, no UK Blu-ray is available, but happily the American disc - featuring 1080p video and uncompressed 5.1 PCM audio - is region-free. One word of warning: imports from the US that cost more than £15 (including shipping) attract not just 20% VAT but also a swingeing £8 Royal Mail administration fee, so try not to cross that threshold if you can possibly help it!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By inch worm on 13 Nov 2009
Format: DVD
This film I watch again and again and I believe it should have had Oscars and Baftas for Lead actor, best supporting actor and screen play, music etc. There is not a bad performance throughout and the shooting is stunning. It seems to have been one of those stupendous films that slipped through the net of awards, at least to my knowledge.I think it is one of Brad Pitt's most genuine performances.It is both entertaining, full of pathos and is an excellent interpretation of the true story that Heinrich Harrer describes in his book of the same title.An inspiring story that shows the journey of suffering that one man makes through his egoic struggles into something more spiritually enlightening and is offset by the stupendous backdrop of some of the most stunning scenery in the world, that of the Himalayas.It is still a very thrusting film and brings home the ravages of the Chinese and how the take over of Tibet began. Lest we forget!!!!!!
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful By J M Salt on 7 Dec 2002
Format: DVD
This is the sort of film that it becomes easy to criticise as its topic and setting is so vast. It is also one which people seem to be either utterly compelled by, or are sent off to sleep within the first half hour; this is doubtless due to the low-impact nature of the first half of the film. However, Seven Years in Tibet is aesthetically breathtaking and inherently inciteful. While Brad Pitt's Austrian accent leaves a little to be desired, the characters are portrayed excellently and the gradual reversal of Harrer's character is intricately woven into the wider upheavals of the Tibetan culture and the war continuing in the world outside. I found myself watching in real sadness as the Chinese gradually overpower the peace-loving tibetans, and by the end feeling as though I had a real understanding of the pain suffered by the Tibetan people, despite entering into the film with no prior knowledge whatsoever.
Obviously there is only a certain amount that can be covered in just over 2 hours, perhaps leaving some viewers feeling that the film is too much based on Harrer than the Tibetan way of life, but after all, this is the story of an individual's journey, it is not a documentary. Jean-Jaques Annaud's direction is imperious, as is the score, the production and the leading performances; given this framework the film could hardly fail to be brilliant, and I found it to be one of the most entralling and inspiring films that I have ever seen.
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