Depictions of Gautama Buddha in film

The life of Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha, has been the subject of several films.


The first known film about the life of Buddha was Buddhadev (English title: Lord Buddha) which was produced by the well-known Indian filmmaker Dadasaheb Phalke (1870–1944) in 1923.

Two years later, another important Buddha film was released, The Light of Asia (Hindi title: Prem Sanyas). This movie was made by the German filmmaker Franz Osten (1875–1956). Himansu Rai (1892–1940) played the Buddha. Its title suggests that the script was based on the book The Light of Asia composed by the British poet Sir Edwin Arnold, which was issued by the Theosophical Society in 1891. In fact, its contents deviate deliberately from Arnold's book. The film was a greater success in Europe than in India. It gives a somewhat romantic picture of the life of Buddha. Buddhadev as well as The Light of Asia were silent films.

On March 20, 1952, a Japanese feature film representing the life of Buddha had its premiere, Dedication of the Great Buddha. Director Teinosuke Kinugasa (1896–1982) directed the picture under the Japanese film company Daiei Eiga. It was nominated for the 1953 Cannes Film Festival.

Another film about Buddha was a documentary film entitled Gotama the Buddha. It was released by the government of India in 1957 as part of the Buddha's 2500th birthday celebration. Rajbans Khanna acted as director and Bimal Roy as producer. It got an honorable mention at the Cannes film festival in 1957. It is a black-and-white film consisting of beautiful images of natural environments, archeological sites, reliefs and paintings, ancient ones from Ajanta as well as modern ones accompanied by a voice over relating the history of Buddha.

The film Angulimal (1960) was not directly based on the life of Buddha, but on the life of a dacoit and killer who used to loot and kill innocent people and cut off their fingers and who made a garland of such fingers to wear around his neck, thus he got the name Angulimal (Angluli: finger, mala: garland). The film depicts an incident where the dreaded dacoit once met the Buddha when Buddha was passing by a forest and goes ahead to kill him, but was corrected by the compassion of Buddha.

The fifth film about Buddha was a Japanese one, Shaka, produced by Kenji Misumi in 1961. It was shown in the USA in 1963 under the title Buddha. On February 13, 1964 a Korean film about the life of the Buddha had its premiere, Seokgamoni, the Korean translation of the Sanskrit Shakyamuni, which in Mahayana Buddhism is the term for the historical Buddha.

In 1997 the Indian producer G.A. Sheshagiri Rao made a Buddha film. It was simply entitled Buddha. This one did not roll in cinemas, but it was only sold on DVD. This one is also the longest movie about Buddha, as it consists of five DVDs with approximately 180 minutes film each.

In 2008, K. Raja Sekhar produced another Buddha film entitled Tathagata Buddha. The original film was in Telugu, but later it was dubbed in Hindi. This film relates Buddha's life story until its end, his parinirvana. The film is available on DVD.

Nepali director and actor Tulsi Ghimire is reported to have been working in an animation movie titled Buddha in 2013.

It is known that Buddhists in countries like Sri Lanka and Burma abhor the very idea of any human being impersonating the Buddha in a film.[1] After its release in 1925 The Light of Asia was banned in Sri Lanka and the Malay States (contemporary West Malaysia).[2]

List of films on the life of Buddha

Date English title Original title Country Notes IMDB
1923 Lord Buddha Buddhadev India Silent film by Dadasaheb Phalke [1]
1925 The Light of Asia Prem Sanyas Germany/India Silent film by Franz Osten [2]
1952 Dedication of the Great Buddha Daibutsu kaigen (大仏開眼) Japan Film by Teinosuke Kinugasa [3]
1957 Gotoma the Buddha India Documentary produced by Bimal Roy. Director was Rajbans Khanna [4]
1960 Angulimaal India
1961 Buddha Shaka Japan Film by Kenji Misumi [5]
1964 Shakyamuni Buddha Seokgamoni South Korea Film by Il-ho Jang [6]
1967 Gautama the Buddha India Rerelease of Bimal Roy's documentary [7]
1989 Buddha India Short documentary [8]
1993 Little Buddha France/Italy/Liechtenstein/United Kingdom Film by Bernardo Bertolucci, where the life of Buddha is enacted as a story-within-a-story [9]
1997 Buddha India Serial produced by G. Adi Sheshagiri Rao. Director was P.C. Reddy
2001 Life of Buddha La Vie de Bouddha France/India Documentary produced by Martin Meissonnier
2004 The Legend of Buddha India 2D animation film [10]
2007 The Life of Buddha Phra Phuttajao Thailand 2D animation film produced by Wallapa Phimtong
2008 Tathagatha Buddha: The Life & Times of Gautama Buddha India Hindi film on DVD produced by K. Raja Sekhar [3]
2009 The Rebirth of Buddha Buddha Saitan (仏陀再誕) Japan Happy Science-sponsored film [11]
2010 The Buddha US Produced and directed by David Grubin [4][5]
2011 Buddha: The Great Departure 手塚治虫のブッダ-赤い砂漠よ!美しく- Japan Anime film based on the manga series Buddha by Osamu Tezuka [12]
2013-14 Buddha Nepal Animation Movie by Tulsi Ghimire
2013 Siddhartha The Buddha Sri Siddhartha Gautama (ශ්‍රී සිද්ධාර්ථ ගෞතම) Sri Lanka Directed by Saman Weeraman
2013 A Journey of Samyak Buddha अ जर्नी आफ सम्यक बुद्ध India Screenplayed and directed by Praveen Damle, based on Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar’s book The Buddha and His Dhamma.
2014 Buddha: The Inner Warrior India et al. To be directed by Indian film maker Pan Nalin, official website of the movie [13]
2014 Buddha 2: The Endless Journey BUDDHA 2: 手塚治虫のブッダ~終わりなき旅 Japan Sequel to the film based on the manga series Buddha by Osamu Tezuka [14]

See also


  1. ^ Aloysius Pieris, Love Meets Wisdom: A Christian Experience of Buddhism, Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books 1990, p. 54, 125.
  2. ^ Rachel Dwyer, Filming the Gods: Religion and Indian Cinema, London et al.: Routledge, p. 28.
  3. ^ staff (27 June 2007). "'Buddha' with a message of peace". Indiaglitz. Retrieved 21 January 2013.
  4. ^ journalist, Barbara O'Brien Barbara O'Brien is a; America, student of Zen Buddhism who writes about religion in; Politics, How It Impacts; culture. "How a Sheltered Prince Became the Buddha: The Life of the Buddha". ThoughtCo.
  5. ^ "The Buddha" – via
A Journey of Samyak Buddha

A Journey of Samyak Buddha (Hindi: अ जर्नी अॉफ सम्यक बुद्ध) is a 2013 Indian film about the journey of Gautam Buddha’s miraculous birth, marriage, and his path towards enlightenment. The biographical film is based on Babasaheb Ambedkar's book The Buddha and His Dhamma.

Buddha (manga)

Buddha (Japanese: ブッダ, Hepburn: Budda) is a manga drawn by Osamu Tezuka and is Tezuka's unique interpretation of the life of Gautama Buddha, the founder of Buddhism. The critically acclaimed series is often referred to as a visually explicit yet humorous and thought-provoking portrayal of the Buddha's life. The series began in September 1972 and ended in December 1983, as one of Tezuka's last epic manga works.

Buddha received the 2004 and 2005 Eisner Award. As of early 2006, each volume had sold an average of 8,500 copies, with the first volume, Kapilavastu, having sold 20,000 copies. Due to differences between the ways in which Japanese and English are read, the American volumes published by Vertical Inc. are presented as mirror images of Tezuka's original work so they can be read from left to right, rather than from right to left. Nearly three decades after the manga was completed, an anime film adaptation was released in 2011. A second film was released in 2014.

Dedication of the Great Buddha

Dedication of the Great Buddha (大仏開眼, Daibutsu kaigen) is a 1952 Japanese film directed by Teinosuke Kinugasa. It was entered into the 1953 Cannes Film Festival.

Depiction of religious figures

Depictions of religious figures may refer to:

Depictions of Jesus

Depictions of Muhammad

Depictions of Gautama Buddha in film

Gautama Buddha (film)

Tathagatha Buddha: The Life & Times of Gautama Buddha (Hindi: बुद्ध), also known as Gautama Buddha and as The Path Finder, is a multilingual feature film on the life and times of the Buddha directed by Allani Sridhar and is based upon the story by Sadguru Sivananda Murty. The film was released in Telugu in 2007 and in other languages in 2008.

Gotoma the Buddha

Gotoma the Buddha is a 1956 Indian documentary film directed by Rajbans Khanna. It was entered into the 1957 Cannes Film Festival, where it won a Special Mention for Best Director and was nominated for the Golden Palm (Best Film).

Lists of films

This is an index of lists of films.

Little Buddha

Little Buddha is a 1993 drama film directed by Bernardo Bertolucci, written by Rudy Wurlitzer and Mark Peploe, and produced by usual Bertolucci collaborator Jeremy Thomas. An international co-production of Italy, France, and the United Kingdom, the film stars Chris Isaak, Bridget Fonda and Keanu Reeves as Prince Siddhartha (the Buddha before his enlightenment).

Outline of Buddhism

Buddhism (Pali/Sanskrit: बौद्ध धर्म Buddha Dharma) is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha, "the awakened one".

The following outline is provided as an overview of, and topical guide to, Buddhism.

Prem Sanyas

Prem Sanyas (The Light of Asia) (Die Leuchte Asiens in German) is a 1925 silent film, directed by Franz Osten and Himansu Rai. It was adapted from the book, The Light of Asia (1879) in verse, by Edwin Arnold, based on the life of Prince Siddhartha Gautama, who founded Buddhism by becoming the Buddha or the "Enlightened one".

The Buddha (2010 film)

The Buddha is a 2010 PBS documentary directed by David Grubin and narrated by Richard Gere. The film follows the story of the Gautama Buddha's life and discusses the history and teachings of Buddhism.

The Life of Buddha

The Buddha (Thai: ประวัติพระพุทธเจ้า, Prawat Phra Phuttajao, or simply The Buddha) is a 2007 Thai animated feature film about the life of Gautama Buddha, based on the Tripitaka. The film was released on December 5, 2007, in celebration of Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej's 80th birthday.

Topics in Buddhism
The Buddha
Key concepts
Major figures


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