December 25th, 1997



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From childhood until adulthood, Tibet's 14th dalai lama deals with Chinese oppression and other problems.

Release Year: 1997

Rating: 7.0/10 (12,904 voted)

Critic's Score: 74/100

Director: Martin Scorsese

Stars: Tenzin Thuthob Tsarong, Gyurme Tethong, Tulku Jamyang Kunga Tenzin

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.

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

Taglines: The destiny of a people lies in the heart of a boy.

Release Date: 25 December 1997

Filming Locations: Ait Benhaddou, Ouarzazate, Morocco

Box Office Details

Budget: $28,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend: $72,095 (USA) (28 December 1997) (2 Screens)

Gross: $5,532,301 (USA) (29 March 1998)

Technical Specs


Did You Know?

This film is Martin Scorsese's first to earn a PG-13 rating from the MPAA.

Revealing mistakes: When Kundun is dreaming that he is surrounded by monks slaughtered by the Chinese, the "dead" monk closest to him moves his eyelids.

Chairman Mao: Religion is poison.

User Review

incredibly beautiful movie

Rating: 10/10

I rented Kundun to further my quest to see all the Scorsese movies I can. I never expected such an incredible movie. I didn't want this movie to end. It's really difficult to describe how I feel about this movie since I have only viewed it once and was completely blown away, it left me in complete awe.

Like most when I first started watching Scorsese I thought that he did brilliant gangster films and that was his thing, but I have recently discovered that this couldn't be further from the truth. Fist seeing The Last Temptation of Christ and now Kundun I wouldn't care if Scorsese ever made another gangster film. It is easy to see that he is an artistic genius, the acting in the film was great, but I could have watched it on mute and still have been amazed.

If, like I was, you are unfamiliar with the Buddhist religion and the Chinese takeover of Tibet this film has even more to offer. Scorsese's risk of using real Buddhists to do all of the acting payed off better than I ever expected it would, the fact that we are hearing the story through the people it affected adds another level to this movie.

I cannot believe that this film only has a rating of 7 on this site. If you are a fan of Scorsese and are not sure you are going to like this just give it a chance, it deserves at least one viewing, if you give it that I am sure you will be amazed as I was. Scorsese's vision's in this movie are unlike any of his films, not to mention a great score by Phillip Glass.


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