7.0/10
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Kundun (1997)

From childhood to adulthood, Tibet's fourteenth Dalai Lama deals with Chinese oppression and other problems.

Director:

Martin Scorsese
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Popularity
4,496 ( 555)
Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 7 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Tenzin Thuthob Tsarong ... Dalai Lama (Adult)
Gyurme Tethong ... Dalai Lama (Age 12)
Tulku Jamyang Kunga Tenzin ... Dalai Lama (Age 5)
Tenzin Yeshi Paichang Tenzin Yeshi Paichang ... Dalai Lama (Aged 2)
Tencho Gyalpo Tencho Gyalpo ... Mother
Tenzin Topjar Tenzin Topjar ... Lobsang (5-10)
Tsewang Migyur Khangsar Tsewang Migyur Khangsar ... Father
Tenzin Lodoe Tenzin Lodoe ... Takster
Geshi Yeshi Gyatso Geshi Yeshi Gyatso ... Lama of Sera
Losang Gyatso Losang Gyatso ... The Messenger (as Lobsang Gyatso)
Sonam Phuntsok Sonam Phuntsok ... Reting Rinpoche
Gyatso Lukhang Gyatso Lukhang ... Lord Chamberlain
Lobsang Samten Lobsang Samten ... Master of the Kitchen
Jigme Tsarong Jigme Tsarong ... Taktra Rimpoche (as Tsewang Jigme Tsarong)
Tenzin Trinley Tenzin Trinley ... Ling Rimpoche
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Storyline

The Tibetans refer to the Dalai Lama as 'Kundun', which means 'The Presence'. He was forced to escape from his native home, Tibet, when communist China invaded and enforced an oppressive regime upon the peaceful nation of Tibet. The Dalai Lama escaped to India in 1959 and has been living in exile in Dharamsala ever since. Written by Deki

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The amazing story of the fourteenth Dalai Lama. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for violent images | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA | Monaco | Morocco

Language:

English | Tibetan | Mandarin

Release Date:

16 January 1998 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Кундун See more »

Filming Locations:

Ait Benhaddou, Morocco See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$28,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$72,095, 28 December 1997

Gross USA:

$5,684,789

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$5,684,789
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

The Dalai Lama and his family were portrayed by actual relatives of the Dalai Lama himself, now living in refugee in Dalamsala as well as abroad. Tenzin Thuthob Tsarong who played the adult Dalai Lama is his grand nephew. See more »

Goofs

Some of the Chinese soldiers with goggles that go marching by are obviously Caucasian. See more »

Quotes

Dalai Lama: The Buddhas neither wash ill deeds away with water, nor remove beings' sufferings with their hands, nor transfer their realizations to others.
Dalai Lama: Beings are released through the teachings of the truth. The final reality.
Dalai Lama: Thus, by the virtue that has collected, through all that I have done, may the pain of every living creature be completely cleared away.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The Touchstone Pictures logo shown after the end credits is red. See more »

Connections

Featured in The Cutting Edge: The Magic of Movie Editing (2004) See more »

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User Reviews

 
An opera
17 July 2006 | by OttoVonBSee all my reviews

Tibet. The young boy who shall become the 14th Dailai Lama is discovered and trained. At an early age he has to deal with his country's invasion by the Chinese and is ultimately forced into exile.

Those expecting a Martin Scorsese film will be disappointed. This is not his typical kind of story and - fittingly - neither does it bear his typical direction. Using a cast of non-actors for the most part and opting for a more artful photographic style (kudos to DP Roger Deakins, veteran Coen collaborator, for his mesmerizing work here), Scorsese gives a truly spiritual film revolving around one of History's great tragedies. It is a feast of sights and sounds that succeeds in making Tibet alluring and makes for even more of a heartbreak for the viewer when this country is violated and destroyed. Perhaps as important as any other collaboration - if not more so - is the score by Philip Glass providing unusual but haunting melodies and depth.

Kundun is regarded by many as a misstep. It does wander a long way from the gangster territory and the familiar NYC surroundings Scorsese usually plays with. In truth, that such a comfortable veteran director might take such an artistic and financial risk is both surprising and inspiring. This will never gain the popularity of "Raging Bull" or "Goodfellas", because it speaks of a world that disappeared. Nevertheless, it might just be, with "Last Temptation of Christ", Scorsese's deepest and most important film.


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