Skip to content

Directed by Frank Capra

United States 1937

Written by acclaimed screenwriter Robert Riskin (It Happened One Night, Meet John Doe), and using a great deal of Columbia’s annual production budget, Capra’s fantastical film had a troubled production and even more troubled history, replete with lost footage, multiple endings, piecemeal restorations, and a place in film history as one of the wildest products to emerge from the classical Hollywood system. Fleeing a war-torn Chinese city during a Japanese invasion, Robert Conway (Ronald Colman), a diplomat and writer, falls in with a ragtag group of expats, but their plane, caught in a storm, crashes into the Himalayas. Upon their discovery by a bizarre caravan led by Chang (H.B. Warner), they are taken to Shangri-La, a mountain Utopia, where everything is peaceful and war is non-existent. However, Robert feels they have been captured and brought there for a very specific reason, one that only the mysterious High Lama (Sam Jaffe) can relate to him. Academy Awards for Best Interior Decoration and Best Editing.