DVD Review: Seven Years In Tibet

Seven Years In Tibet
Tri-Star Pictures, Mandalay Entertainment

I’ve seen this movie more times than I can count, but still wanted to review it here for those that haven’t seen it.

Seven Years In Tibet is based on the true story of Heinrich Harrer, an Austrian adventurer whose primary focus in life was mountain climbing. The movie begins with him leaving his wife, pregnant and distraught, to run off to northern part of India to climb the Himalayas .

Upon arrival he climbs various heights, and at one point reaches a base camp where police British police are waiting to arrest him and his compatriots. They are immediately sent off to a prison camp. Heinrich gets right to work on ways to escape, but gets caught over and over again. Unbeknown to him, his fellow prisoners had been planning their own escape for a while. This time the escape works, and Heinrich and his closest partner on the trip, Peter Aufschnaiter, head towards Tibet.

As the enter the majestic country, they are met by locals who ask them to leave Tibet, more than once . Heinrich and Peter don some disguises and area able to scoot in the city of Lhasa.

From here on out the story plays out like this. Heinrich and Peter are eventually welcomed, after much apprehension, by the local Tibetans. His Holiness The Dalai Lama, being as young as he was at the time, is very curious about the foreigners in his town and invited Heinrich to come and talk to him.

His Holiness and Heinrich hit it off and become good friends. His Holiness starts taking brief lessons from Heinrich on current events outside of Tibet and general curiosities he has with the world he has not seen.

There are a couple of funny parts, at least I got a chuckle out of them. His Holiness asks Heinirich to make his a place to view movies. Locals are asked to help with the work and at one point, they find a mass of works under the ground where they are to put the foundation of the building. Being Buddhists, they refuse to work because it may harm or kill the worms. Eventually an agreement is made and they carefully go through the dirt, pulling each worm out by hand and moving them away to a “safer” place.

While there is a brief chuckle for a moment, there are also two serious events playing out in the background. World War 2 is in full swing and the Chinese are working there way into Tibet, proclaiming the new to free the Tibetans (we all know how that plays out). One other event is the fact Heinrich is 1,000’s of miles from his newborn son. As time passes and he writes more and more letters to his son, they get returned to him telling him the son no longer wishes to communicate.

All in all, Seven Years In Tibet is a wonderful movie, filled with beautiful scenery. As great of an actor Brad Pitt is in the movie, at times his accent is a bit hokey. Other than that I have no complaints and nothing but compliments for this movie.

A found this trailer for the movie on YouTube, enjoy…


  1. Awesome, must be really cool to hear the old folks talk about it.

    I live in a historic area as well, Cape Cod. The area the pilgrims landed and then settled the US is not that far from me. I have been there numerous times. There are historical homes all over the Cape here dating back to the 1700’s, well before the Revolutionary War. It’s cool to be near an area that has so much history to it.

  2. Hello Nate. Good review of a good movie. The book Herrer wrote is good also but out of print I think. As I was reading what you wrote I wanted to say that much of the path that Herrer took to the Tibetan border through India is still open for trekking. He escaped from the prison camp in Dehra Dun which is about 10 miles from where I live. The site of that camp still exists and some of the older people around here still remember those times and the prisoners escaping. I think the locals didn’t do too much to try and capture them but the British colonialists at the time certainly did. The reason I think that is because the trail is quite arduous (I’ve trekked parts of it) and without some local help they probably wouldn’t have found their way. I always get kind of a kick being in historical places, although all places are historical if you really think about it. Like at Bodhgaya or such places too-part of personal historical karma or something like that. If certain things wouldn’t have happened I wouldn’t be doing exactly this thing at this moment. Riding the currents I suppose. (bit of a ramble there possibly)

  3. Wow, that looks really good. I’m going to check this out at the library. Thanks for the review!

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