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Life of Pi (2012)

2:36 | Trailer
A young man who survives a disaster at sea is hurtled into an epic journey of adventure and discovery. While cast away, he forms an unexpected connection with another survivor: a fearsome Bengal tiger.


Ang Lee


Yann Martel (novel), David Magee (screenplay)
1,545 ( 34)
Won 4 Oscars. Another 79 wins & 129 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Suraj Sharma ... Pi Patel
Irrfan Khan ... Adult Pi Patel
Ayush Tandon Ayush Tandon ... Pi Patel (11-12 Years)
Gautam Belur Gautam Belur ... Pi Patel (5 Years)
Adil Hussain ... Santosh Patel
Tabu ... Gita Patel
Ayaan Khan Ayaan Khan ... Ravi Patel (7 Years)
Mohd. Abbas Khaleeli Mohd. Abbas Khaleeli ... Ravi Patel (13-14 Years)
Vibish Sivakumar Vibish Sivakumar ... Ravi Patel (18-19 Years)
Rafe Spall ... Writer
Gérard Depardieu ... Cook
James Saito ... Older Insurance Investigator
Jun Naito ... Younger Insurance Investigator
Andrea Di Stefano ... Priest
Shravanthi Sainath ... Anandi


In Canada, a writer visits the Indian storyteller Pi Patel and asks him to tell his life story. Pi tells the story of his childhood in Pondicherry, India, and the origin of his nickname. One day, his father, a zoo owner, explains that the municipality is no longer supporting the zoo and he has hence decided to move to Canada, where the animals the family owns would also be sold. They board on a Japanese cargo ship with the animals and out of the blue, there is a storm, followed by a shipwrecking. Pi survives in a lifeboat with a zebra, an orangutan, a hyena and a male Bengal tiger nicknamed Richard Parker. They are adrift in the Pacific Ocean, with aggressive hyena and Richard Parker getting hungry. Pi needs to find a way to survive. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

tiger | india | journey | faith | pi | See All (247) »


Don't lose hope. See more »


12 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »


Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official site | See more »


USA | Taiwan | UK | Canada


English | Tamil | French | Japanese | Hindi | Chinese

Release Date:

20 December 2012 (Netherlands) See more »

Also Known As:

Una aventura extraordinaria See more »

Filming Locations:

Montréal, Québec, Canada See more »


Box Office


$120,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$22,451,514, 23 November 2012, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$124,987,023, 25 July 2013

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$609,016,565, 25 July 2013
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


One of two 2012 movies featuring Irrfan Khan that has a character named "Richard Parker," whose name is spoken by Khan's character. The other is The Amazing Spider-Man (2012). See more »


When Pi's father is going to feed the goat. The goat is outside the cage but after Richard Parker has made his move its on the inside. The goat shouldn't get behind the bars whole. See more »


[first lines]
Writer: So, you were raised in a zoo?
Adult Pi Patel: Born and raised. In Pondicherry, in what was the French part of India. My father owned the zoo, and I was delivered on short notice by a herpetologist, who was there to check on the Bengal monitor lizard. Mother and I were both healthy, but the poor lizard escaped and was trampled by a frightened cassowary. The way of karma, huh? The way of God.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The end credits are also in 3D. See more »


Referenced in Chasing Life: Life of Brenna (2015) See more »


Tum Aa Gaye Ho Noor Aa
Written by Rahul Dev Burman (as Dev Rahul Burman) and Gulzar
Performed by Lata Mangeshkar, Rahul Dev Burman, and Kishore Kumar
Courtesy of Saregama India
By arrangement with The Royalty Network, Inc.
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

"This is a picture of sheer power and beauty"
22 November 2012 | by StevePulaskiSee all my reviews

Life of Pi is one of the most marvelous theater experiences I've had all year. Its Oscar for art direction and cinematography should already be locked in. It's a film of incorruptible beauty and deeply satisfying drama which squeezes so much power and emotion out of its audience that they leave feeling riveted at the same time drained. You can bet the film's main character feels the exact same way.

Our main character is an adult named Piscine Molitor, who goes by the name "Pi Patel," and we meet him as an adult (played by Irrfan Khan) who begins telling his long life-story to a writer planning to adapt it (Rafe Spall). It's a story that tested him as a person in every possible way, and it all goes back to when his parents made the decision to move from India to Canada, and because Pi's father was a zookeeper, take many animals such as orangutans, zebras, goats, and tigers with them on an enormous ship across the Pacific Ocean. Before this move, Pi was an optimistic soul, who ventured out as a young boy beyond his comfort zone in his Hindu religion to seek out other walks of faith, specifically Christianity and Islam, which he began following all at once.

During the move, a wild, violent storm hits the ocean, flooding the ship and sending Pi, a zebra with a broken leg, a hyena, an orangutan, and a tiger named "Richard Parker" on a lifeboat, leaving behind the several other animals and Pi's entirely family. This whole sequence, which lasts around five minutes, feels like the entire movie The Perfect Storm shortened from its original two-hour length, only it emphasizes the emotional elements. This is one of the saddest scenes of the year, as we see a teenage Pi (now played by Suraj Sharma) desperately hold onto the lifeboat for dear-life, while being washed away from his mother, father, and siblings and there is absolutely nothing he can do about it. Between you and I, reader, this is one of the most emotionally upsetting scenes (this and the ending of the film) I've ever sat through in a theater.

Now, Pi is stranded in the middle of the Pacific, with an open sky, four different animals, until they are picked off with only the tiger remaining, and his own will to live. The remainder of the film forgoes the back-and-forth narrative between adult Pi telling the story to the writer, but remains focused on his own recollection of events on that lifeboat and the acts of bravery he committed to keep him and the tiger alive. While Pi and Richard Parker are sharing the boat, that does not mean they get along. Writer David Magee makes no mistake in illustrating that while they are stranded together, Pi is a human boy and Richard Parker is a Bengal tiger. The beauty of this picture is that it never mistakes that the only common traits between these two souls is that they are stranded together and both are mammals.

Life of Pi's visuals are astounding. Long shots that hold on the vast emptiness of the Pacific are invigorating because of their wide range of beauty and clarity, sequences of peril and uncertainty are captured through an equally clear, vivid lens, making them all the more real and enthralling, and atmospherically, the picture shows the dangers and the loneliness of the ocean better than any film I have yet to see.

Thematically, the picture focuses on predominately on the idea of survival and spirituality, which gratefully helps Pi keep hope and optimism during these gruelingly unforgiving days. One of the most intense and poignant scenes comes when Pi is faced with the task of killing a large fish. He is starving, and becoming skinnier by the day, so he fiercely grabs a fish out of the water and begins hacking at it with a small axe. When the fish is bloody and long dead, he begins to sob tears of joy and sadness; joy because he finally has a decent portion of food, yet sadness in the idea that he has killed a living creature and is about to abandon his vegetarian vow. It's a scene that, once more, clouded my eyes with tears, just like Pi's, of joy and sadness.

This is a picture of sheer power and beauty. A film that clearly tests its lead actor, Sharma, who is inhabiting his first main role, and a film that will hopefully go on to live with a reputation of one of cinema's supreme achievements. It must be said that in Ang Lee's twenty year film career that he has tackled almost every genre in the medium and done so with an extraordinary amount of confidence. His directorial efforts too have not been minor additions to the genre, but true game-changers if anything. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon was a martial arts film filled with depth and delight. Hulk was a superhero movie that added so much weight to its characters and relationships, you'd think Christopher Nolan's modern-day Dark Knight franchise was taking notes from it. And Brokeback Mountain was, for the most part, a lively portrayal of two men who've kept their orientation silent for so long that they begin to embrace it by meeting each other out of the blue. Life of Pi offers more of the same grandiose ideas from the brilliant visionaire and its shocking smoothness in terms of filming, placement, and writing is beyond fabulous and wildly consuming because of its clarity. This is one of the best films of the year, and on-par with the depth and cinematography in Samsara, making this year one of the most beautiful.

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