Dao ma zei (The Horse Thief) (1986) - Rotten Tomatoes

Dao ma zei (The Horse Thief) (1986)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

Norbu and Dolma are banished tribal Tibetans who desperately struggle against the harsh terrain and the elements to preserve their young son's life.


Critic Reviews for Dao ma zei (The Horse Thief)

All Critics (9) | Top Critics (3)

It offers the most awesomely plausible account of Tibetan life and culture ever seen in the west. It's one of the few films whose images show you things you've never seen before.

Full Review… | February 9, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

The film's tribal drama of theft, ostracism and terrible retribution unfolds, although the director, Tian Zhuangzhuang (an iconoclastic graduate of the Beijing Film Academy), uses few conventional means of bringing these dramatic events to the forefront.

August 30, 2004
New York Times
Top Critic

Tian had said that he made this for the 21st century, yet even today it's a film of the future.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Famously, Martin Scorsese chose this film as the best he'd seen in the 1990s.

Full Review… | May 13, 2006
Combustible Celluloid

A truly amazing film that takes a western audience to mystical places they have never seen before.

Full Review… | April 29, 2004
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

[It's] blessed with some of the most unbearably beautiful images of Nineties cinema.

Full Review… | October 1, 2003
Austin Chronicle

Audience Reviews for Dao ma zei (The Horse Thief)


Interestingly hard to find, at least in my neck of the woods, so I found it on youtube. A dude steals for his family, I guess, and then some shots of Buddhist stuff. That's my oversimplified synopsis.

Andy Cramer
Andy Cramer

This is a gorgeous film shot in the barren landscapes of Tibet. The skeleton thin plot is about a horse thief who is banished by his clan for stealing. There is very little dialogue. Much of the film is a series of cultural/religious rituals shot with a semi-documentary look, favoring long static shots. The film manages to portray the harsh way of life as well as the deep spiritual relationship between the main character and the environment. Unfortunately I could only find a shoddy VHS-rip full of scratches and faded color. Supposedly Marty Scorsese's fav film of the 90's, though it was made in the 80's.

X. T. C.
X. T. C.

[left]Now that "[url="http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/10002135-holy_mountain/"]The Holy Mountain[/url]" and "[url="http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/killer_of_sheep/"]Killer of Sheep[/url]" are finally hitting the shelves, I just want to make note of the fact that the following films are [url="http://www.dvdjournal.com/extra/mia.html"]not yet available on DVD[/url]: [/left] "[url="http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/horse_thief/"]The Horse Thief"[/url] "[url="http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/chimes_at_midnight/"]Chimes at Midnight[/url]" "[url="http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/jonah_who_will_be_25_in_the_year_2000/"]Jonah Who Will Be 25 in the Year 2000[/url]" "Edge of the City" "[url="http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/how_i_won_the_war/"]How I Won the War[/url]" "[url="http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/celine_and_julie_go_boating/"]Celine and Julie Go Boating[/url]" "Act of the Heart" "[url="http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/johnny_guitar/"]Johnny Guitar[/url]" "[url="http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/travelling_players/"]The Travelling Players[/url]" "[url="http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/docks_of_new_york/"]The Docks of New York[/url]" "Killdozer" "[url="http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/ishtar/"]Ishtar[/url]" "[url="http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/zapped/"]Zapped![/url]" [img]http://images.rottentomatoes.com/images/spotlights/2007/1l-1.jpg[/img] [size=1]These guys have the right idea: getting "The Horse Thief" on DVD may require the power of prayer.[/size] It's always a drag when there's a movie you read about and it sounds super cool, but it can't be found anywhere. Or if you're stuck watching mediocre copies of transcendent films (like "The Horse Thief" or "Chimes at Midnight"), wishing they'd get a nice, freshly-scrubbed DVD release. Any others I've missed?

Tim Ryan
Tim Ryan

Dao ma zei (The Horse Thief) Quotes

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