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Little Buddha 1994

PG CC

Keanu Reeves, Bridget Fonda and recording artist Chris Isaak star in this motion picture spectacular from Academy Award- winning director Bernardo Bertolucci (The Last Emperor, 1987).

Starring:
Keanu Reeves, Ruocheng Ying
Runtime:
2 hours, 3 minutes

Available to watch on supported devices.

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Product Details

Genres Drama
Director Bernardo Bertolucci
Starring Keanu Reeves, Ruocheng Ying
Supporting actors Chris Isaak, Alex Wiesendanger, Raju Lal, Greishma Makar Singh, Sogyal Rinpoche, Ven. Khyongla Rato Rinpoche, Bridget Fonda, Ven. Geshe Tsultim Gyelsen, Jo Champa, Jigme Kunsang, Thubtem Jampa, Surekha Sikri, T.K. Lama, Doma Tshomo, Mantu Lal, Mountain Yogi, Rinzin Dakpa, Rudraprasad Sengupta
Studio Lionsgate
MPAA rating PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Captions and subtitles English Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly Details
Format Amazon Video (streaming online video)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Rabbi Yonassan Gershom VINE VOICE on November 19, 2002
Format: VHS Tape
As a traditional Jew who is often critical of films about Judaism, I can understand why some Buddhist reviewers have disparaged "Little Buddha" as overly-simplistic. For a lifelong practitioner of Buddhism, it probably is. Then again, people have to start somewhere. Those of us who seriously practice a spiritual path - whatever it may be -- tend to forget that intro level materials are just that -- basic intro. While the average Buddhist might already know the story of Buddha's life by heart, the vast majority of non-Buddhists here in the USA do not. Also keep in mind that this is a PG family film, not an historical documentary. My impression was that the film was primarily aimed at children, since the main characters is a little boy, and the story-within-the-story about Buddha's life is presented as a series of scenes in a book he (the American kid) is reading. Granted, the film does have an certain idealized, fairytale quality, but then again, so do the all those sand-and-sandals films about Jesus. Which is why I would place "Little Buddha" in the same genre. I happen to like this kind of pagentry, so I enjoyed "little Buddha" for the icongraphy that it is.
On the technical end, the cinamatography is beautiful, the costumes are superb, and the acting is well done. The story, while fictional, is based on real cases of Tibetan Lamas who have reincarnated in the West. As a companion to this film, I would recommend Vickie McKenzie's book, "Reborn in the West," which chronicles several such real-life cases. In fact, it was after reading McKenzie's book that I noticed this film and decided to view it.
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Format: DVD
I have owned and enjoyed this film since it's release on video. Coming from a background of Buddhist study, I found this to be a very accessible and welcoming introductory film into the philosophy of Buddhism for a Western audience. The story covers the life of the Buddha, as well as that of a contemporary child, and his family's intersection with this centuries old faith tradition. Because Buddhism shares little that is familiar in it's origins with the Abrahamic faiths which predominate in America and the Western world, the stories about the early life of the Buddha are retold, with great beauty and respect, so they become understandable and relevant. This is intertwined with the adventures of the American child and his family, as they struggle to face decisions that they had never before contemplated, concerning their own lives and work, as well as the future of their son, who now has a variety of paths open to him. The photography is outstanding, and the music stands on it's own well enough that I purchased the sound track. The actors are well cast, with several actual Buddhist monks and a wandering ascetic portraying themselves in the film. This is a very enjoyable film for children and adults, and one that can be enjoyed on a deeper level with anyone who has studied Buddhism, as there are visual references to tenets of the faith through out the movie. This is a film that can simply be enjoyed for it's voluptuous story telling and performances; or as an exploration of a faith older than Christianity, and how it has shaped cultures. It is filmed on location, in India and Seattle, and provides an entertaining glimpse of the possibilities that life can offer, even in the face of obstacles and uncertainty.
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Format: VHS Tape
"Little Buddha" is a very interesting, educational, and well-made movie. It's not the best movie I have ever seen, but I can tell you that I thouroughly enjoyed it.

The story begins in modern-day Tibet. A monk, Lama Norbu, receives a letter telling him that the reincarnation of his former teacher may have been found. He goes to Seattle to pursure this great news, and another monk tells him that he had dreams that their old teacher led him to the same empty spot on a hill over and over again. One day, the monk came across teh very spot from his dream and finds a house there. A family with an only child lives there and the monks believe that Jesse, the child, is their teacher reincarnated. The monks visit Jesse and his mother at home and leave Jesse a book about Buddha.
Later, Jesse asks the monks about their teacher and takes them to the Seattle Fine Arts Museum to see a sculpture of Buddha. Jesse's mother takes him to the Dharma Center to visit the monk, where they continue to read to Jesse the story of how Siddhartha became the Buddha.
Jesse's father arrives to talk to the monks and calls the story of Buddha a myth and while he has plenty of respect for the Tibetan culture and religion he does not believe in reincarnation. The monks explains reincarnation to Jesse's father by breaking a cup full of tea. He says that the tea is still tea even when it's on the floor in in a rag. He says the mind and spirit are the same way after death. He goes on to mention that if Jesse goes to Nepal with the monks that he could be a powerful figure in Tibetan culture. Irritated, Jesse's father says it's gone too far, takes his son, and leaves.
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