December 25, 1997 0 By Fans
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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

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


Tenzin Topjar

Lobsang (5-10)

Tsewang Migyur Khangsar


Tenzin Lodoe


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

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


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

Gross: $5,532,301
(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.
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

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
of using real Buddhists to do all of the acting payed off better than I
expected it would, the fact that we are hearing the story through the
it affected adds another level to this movie.

I cannot believe that this film only has a rating of 7 on this site. If
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
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