One of Brad Pitt’s movies got him banned from China. No, it’s not Interview with the Vampire. Because of the biographical play Seven Years in Tibet, he was condemned. The People’s Republic of China strongly disapproved of this movie. Brad Pitt, David Thewlis, and the movie’s director, Jean-Jacques Annaud, were banned from entering the country for more than ten years. Seven Years in Tibet came out in 1997, and Annaud didn’t get to go back until 2012.

Brad Pitt

The film was banned because it showed Communist Chinese soldiers as rude and cocky, even though they were beating up people in the village. China was going to take over Tibet at this time. Also, the film might have been banned because it has a lot to do with the N*zi party, which is about as controversial as you can get. In 2012, Annaud was invited back to China to lead the jury at the 15th annual Shanghai Film Festival. In 2014 and 2016, Brad Pitt went to the country. There was no doubt that neither man was still upset.

Seven Years in Tibet is about the life of a controversial person. Brad Pitt played SS Heinrich Harrer in the movie. Harrer was an Austrian mountain climber who was also a real-life NCO in the N*zi Schutzstaffel. But the character was changed for the movie. Pitt’s version of the character seemed to be less sure about the N*zi party, as seen in a scene at the train station where he reluctantly takes the N*zi flag. The real Harrer said that he climbed Mount Eiger for “the Fuhrer.” Also, when Pitt’s version of Harrer climbed the Eiger, he was seen as a German hero. Harre says in the movie,

No thanks, I’m Austrian.

In the late 1930s, Austria was a part of Germany, so this choice of words would have been a bit rude.

In the movie, Seven Years in Tibet, Heinrich Harrer (Brad Pitt) and Peter Aufschnaiter (David Thewlis) climb Nanga-Barpat in India, which was then ruled by the British. When World War II starts in 1939, the British government arrests the men and calls them “enemy aliens.” Then they are sent to a war prisoner camp in Dehradun. The men were POWs for almost five years. When they got out, they ended up in Tibet. At first, they are not welcome in the country, so they lie about who they are to get to Lhasa, the capital. Harrer is taken to meet the 14th Dali Lama, who is just a boy, while he is there. Harrer then teaches the boy things like world geography, science, and Western culture as his tutor. Since Harrer and the Dalai Lama spent so much time together, they became friends. Harrer’s time in Tibet gets more difficult when the relationship between China and Tibet gets worse and China plans to take over the country. Without giving away too much more about the movie, fans of Brad Pitt can watch the rest of this historical drama on Netflix.

Rotten Tomatoes gives the movie Seven Years in Tibet a 60% rating from critics. But the 73% audience score shows that this true-life historical drama was liked by most people. With a budget of $70 million, the movie brought in $131.5 million around the world. If it hadn’t been banned in China, it could have made a lot more money. Even though the movie didn’t make a lot of money, it was still a success. In the 1990s, $131 million was still a lot of money. It is also still talked about as one of Brad Pitt’s best roles.

As of now, you can watch Seven Years in Tibet on Netflix. Even though Brad Pitt played a real-life N*zi officer, the movie is still about how to accept and care for others. Harrer is still an egotistical mountain climber who finds peace and lessons when he becomes the 14th Dali Lama’s teacher. Fans of Pitt are likely to enjoy this great movie from the late 1990s. Also, you might want to watch it to find out why China banned two actors and the director from entering the country for more than a decade. Maybe there was no reason for that ban. Check it out for yourself.