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The Kite Runner

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Amir is a young Afghani from a well-to-do Kabul family; his best friend Hassan is the son of a family servant. Together the two boys form a bond of friendship that breaks tragically on one fateful day, when Amir fails to save his friend from brutal neighborhood bullies. Amir and Hassan become separated, and as first the Soviets and then the Taliban seize control of Afghanistan, Amir and his father escape to the United States to pursue a new life. Years later, Amir – now an accomplished author living in San Francisco – is called back to Kabul to right the wrongs he and his father committed years ago.


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The Kite Runner out of 5 based on ratings. 266 user reviews
Kite DVDs The Kite Runner Amir is a young Afghani from a well-to-do Kabul family; his best friend Hassan is the son of a family servant. Together the two boys form a bond of friendship that breaks tragically on one fateful day, when Amir fails to save his friend from brutal neighborhood bullies. Amir and Hassan become separated, and as first the Soviets and then the Taliban seize control of Afghanistan, Amir and his father escape to the United States to pursue a new life. Years later, Amir – now an accomplished author living in San Francisco – is called back to Kabul to right the wrongs he and his father committed years ago. $19.99

9 Responses to “The Kite Runner”

  • Grady Harp says:


    Khaled Hosseini’s THE KITE RUNNER was one of those first novels that captured both public interest and the hearts of the many who read this story of childhood unconditional love and redemption set against three stormy decades in Afghanistan. Though Hosseini was approached about the story’s adaptation to the screen soon after the novel was published, there seems to have been a rush to get the visual form of the poetic novel before the audience, a journey besieged by unsuspected political intervention and criticism by the Afghan government. But after seeing the film, this intrigue heightens the intent of those involved in translating the book to film – writer David Benioff and director Marc Forster.

    People may argue both sides of whether or not the dialog be in Afghan languages (Dari, Pashtu,Urdu) with English subtitles or be in English throughout: the choice of using both languages is severely hampered by the decision to place the Afghan translations in an overlay on the screen while the English subtitles are place off the viewing field. A small point, perhaps, but one that makes the first viewing of the film difficult to follow visually. As far as the actors are concerned, the two young lads who were chosen to portray Amir (Zekeria Ebrahimi) and Hassan (Ahmad Khan Mahmidzada) are perfect: closest of friends living in a household where one (Amir) is the son of the master of the house and the other (Hassan) is the son of the grounds and house keeper – a factor that serves to underline class differences that will later become increasingly poignant. The boys are inseparable, reading stories together and flying kites in competitions – each lad specializing in one of those pastimes. But disaster crumbles the boys’ victory in the kite flying contest when Hassan is beaten and raped by the town bullies while Amir cowardly runs for safety, deserting his friend. Suddenly the Russians invade and that change factors into the need for Amir and his father to move to America where Amir is educated and becomes a writer. Twenty years pass. After the fall of Afghanistan to the Russians and subsequently to the Taliban, Amir (now actor Khalid Abdalla) receives a telephone plea from Hassan’s father to return to Kabul. Amir, now married and a successful writer, feels the need to return to amend for his past omission as well as to assuage Amir’s fears. When he arrives in Kabul he encounters a war torn country he no longer recognizes, discovers past secrets as to his and Hassan’s true identities, and sets out on a journey to bring closure to a childhood love and promise. It is a touching tale of redemption and the strongest echo of the magic of the novel.

    THE KITE RUNNER as both novel and film will appeal to all audiences sensitive to scars that wars leave on children and adults alike. For this viewer the film lacks the intensity of the book in that the time spent with the childhood of the two boys feels secondary to the personal journey of the adult Amir. But that is not to say the film is less powerful in the end: the story is one that leaves an imprint on the audience that last long past the ending credits. Grady Harp, March 08

  • J. Michael Click says:


    Quite simply, “The Kite Runner” is magnificent. Based on the acclaimed bestselling novel by Khaled Hosseini, the film is epic in scope, spanning a number of decades, continents, and cultures, and yet it remains intimate and personal in terms of its characters and their stories. It is spectacularly photographed, sensitively directed, hauntingly scored, and impeccably acted by a brilliant cast whose performances are meticulously nuanced. Even the opening credit sequence is fascinating, foreshadowing through calligraphy the differences in Western and Middle Eastern culture that will be a subtheme of the movie.

    The story opens in 21st century San Francisco, where a young man from Afghanistan (the charismatic Khalid Abdalla as Amir) has just published his first novel. In flashbacks, he recalls his childhood in Afghanistan, and particularly his relationship with his best friend Hassan, the child of his father’s oldest friend and live-in servant. The two boys (played by Zekeria Ebrahemi and Ahmad Khan Mahmidzada, both of whom turn in performances of amazing depth) are eventually driven apart by an act of childish cowardice by the young Amir. They lose contact all together after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, at which time Amir and his father (Homayon Ashadi in a wonderfully understated performance) flee to Pakistan and then eventually to America. Years pass, and then, finally, the adult Amir is provided with an opportunity to redeem himself. The decision that he makes, and the consequences that unfold, bring the story full circle to its powerful conclusion.

    I was fortunate enough to see this film as part of a single screening that played to a sold-out audience (dozens and dozens of disappointed cinemagoers ended up being turned away after demand exceeded supply), and expectations were almost impossibly high. Happily, Marc Forster (who also directed “Finding Neverland”, “Monster’s Ball”, and is currently set to direct the 22nd James Bond film) and company satisfied even the most demanding members of the audience, as ripples of gentle laughter gave way to surpised gasps and finally to unsentimental tears as the story unfolded. Here is a film destined to win over audiences and critics alike, one that will undoubtedly end up being one of the year’s short list of bona fide masterpieces.

  • Rocky Raccoon says:


    (4.5) `The Kite Runner’ is every bit as moving as `The Children of Heaven’. Synthesizing the developments of two boyhood friends with the modern history of Afghanistan, the movie integrates its subject matter supplely and with great finesse.

    At the start we have Amir (Khalid Abdalla), a successful author and Afghan émigré living in San Francisco. His new book ‘A Season for Ashes’ has been published and several copies have been delivered to his place. In one short scene he is at a park where kites are flying near the Bay.

    Soon we’re transported to his past. It is 1978 in Kabul, Afghanistan, and his father (Homayoun Ershadi) is a wealthy man. Living with them is his housekeeper, Ali, and his son Hassad (Ahmad Khan Mahmidzada), who is Amir’s (Zekeria Ebrahimi) best childhood friend. They both share a liking for the cinema where Steve McQueen and Charles Bronson have become their favorite celluloid heroes. As an example of the movie’s gentle heart, Hassad is surprised to learn that Charles Bronson isn’t really Afghan, a fact that throws him given the lines are overdubbed in their native language. They also love to read stories from a book together.

    But their real passion is flying kites. A tournament is held every year in their neighborhood. And practice employs the strategy of maneuvering around an opponent’s kite until the string is broken, and one’s kite is the sole survivor in the frosty Afghan sky. With festive enthusiasm the movie captures all the energy of their favorite childhood ritual, especially from the arial shots.

    Ominously, Kabul is a short time away from the Soviet invasion, one that builds up within the university and gets much conversation from the adults. As we grow closer to these life-shattering events, their friendship becomes amiss, too. Amir and Hassad are bullied on the street by older boys, and to ward them off, they each get a sling-shot to fend off the attacks. One day Hassan must endure hardship when he’s caught off guard on the street after retrieving a kite. Amir, who witnesses the debacle, doesn’t help out his friend, but later tests his endurance until he loses all respect for his friend’s perseverance. Hassad perhaps lives up to turning the other cheek better than most boys of any background, but Amir must grapple with his own guilt. Just before the Soviets invade Afghanistan, Amir does something unsettling to Hassad. Then Amir and father flee to America, and Amir is separated from his lifelong friend.

    The rest of the movie shows how Amir tries to catch up with his past. Learning secrets along the way, he must sort through the rubble of his native country that has had indelible effects from both the Soviet upheaval and the Taliban’s rigid regime. Noting that Kabul used to smell of “lamb kabob” and now reeks of “diesel fuel,” Amir returns as an adult to find nothing is the same. Ending in 2000 in America, the film only has to imply recent history as it comes to within a year of 2001 and the overthrow of the Taliban.

    `The Kite Runner’ is an absorbing ride through a didactic history blended well with a solid, lovable personal story. Much like French movie ‘Cache’ and the more recent ‘Atonement’ the protagonist has to make amends for his past in the ruins of a childhood that has been fractured by personal and historical events.

  • Brian E. Erland says:


    Note: Presented in English Dari, Pashtu, Urdu and Russian.

    Synopsis: Amir and Hassan are two young boys and best friends growing up in Afghanistan prior to the coming of the Taliban. When one boy, Amir and his Father leave for America all contact with Hassan is lost until many years later when both have grown and married. Amir is beckoned to return to his Homeland on a very specific and dangerous mission. It’s something he must do not only for the sake of his childhood friendship, but his only chance to forgive himself for a wrong committed against Hassan before his departure. If Amir succeeds he will finally be free of the pain and guilt he has carried with him ever since.

    The ’07 film `Kite Runner’ is a touching but somewhat uneven tale that spends too much time developing the storyline in the first part of the film and then rushing through the second half. Amir’s life threatening mission in Afghanistan is accomplished much too quickly and easily creating an unrealistic atmosphere to the story and short-circuiting any build-up of drama or tension. Be that as it may, the filmmaker and authors desired message is successfully delivered to the viewer and one is left with a better appreciation of Afghanistan and its people.

    What really made the film for me was the role of Amir’s Father played by Homayoun Ershadi. His strength, courage and adhence to a strict code of ethics is superbly portrayed. Sometimes we need to be reminded that such honorable people exist in cultures that have all to frequently become synonymous with distrust, hatred and terrorism in the American mindset.

  • Amanda Richards says:


    Whether you’ve read the best-selling first novel by Khaled Hosseini or not, this is a haunting movie that will drain your emotions, moisten your eyes and bring out your goose bumps. Mostly faithful to the book, the film tries its best to capture the gut wrenching emotional drama of the story and its unforgettable characters, and it succeeds in doing so to a large extent.

    SLASS (Slightly Longer Attention Span Summary)

    1. Amir is a boy who lives in Kabul (prior to the Soviet invasion) with his wealthy widowed father. He has a vivid imagination, and is working on writing a story

    2. He is an introverted child who is bullied by other boys, and never defends himself. He wants desperately to be accepted by his father, who sees him as a weakling. In simple language, Amir is a wuss.

    3. His loyal companion and friend is a servant boy named Hassan

    4. Hassan wields a mean slingshot and isn’t afraid to use it. He is devoted to Amir. Not having had the opportunity to go to school, he can’t read or write, but makes up for it with his courage and commitment.

    5. Both boys are good at the sport of kite fighting. Hassan is especially good at retrieving kites that have been cut away during the competition, having a sixth sense where they are going to land.

    6. An incident occurs where Amir wusses out yet again. This changes the boys’ relationship forever.

    7. When the Soviets come calling, Amir and his father have to leave rather quickly, eventually ending up in California. A family friend named Rahim Khan keeps an eye on the house.

    8. Amir grows up and lives his life (partly shown)

    9. Hassan grows up and lives his life (not shown)

    10. Rahim Khan calls from Pakistan, giving Amir a chance to prove whether he does, in fact, have a backbone.

    11. Amir digs deep

    12. His return to kite flying brings new hope

    For the parts of the movie where the actors speak Dari Persian, there are subtitles in English. Otherwise, it’s in English, and I didn’t find this to be a problem. It would have been impossible for the film to bring out some of the trauma and inner turmoil that make the novel so memorable, and some of the more brutal and tragic scenes have been trimmed, so for the full experience you really need to read the book, if you haven’t already.

    With excellent acting by the two young men playing Amir and Hassan, this is a movie you won’t forget in a hurry. Highly recommended – but walk with your hankie or a pack of tissues.

    Amanda Richards, April 15, 2008

  • B. Merritt says:


    THE KITE RUNNER is one of those modern epics that one is occasionally graced with. Spanning two continents, multiple family generations, and many decades, this film touches on a myriad of items including friendship, love, loss, and, ultimately, redemption.

    It’s prime mover is young Amir (Zekeria Ebrahimi), a native Afghan boy who often plays with the hired help; mainly young Hassan (Ahmad Khan Mahmoodzada), a Hazara boy who’s family is supposedly inferior to the ruling Afghans. But the two form a bond of friendship based on education (Amir teaches Hassan to read), closeness in Amir’s house, and, of course, kite flying.

    But bad times are on the way for the city of Kabul. The communists are invading and Amir and Hassan have separated due to an impossibly brutal act of prejudice by an Afghan boy against Hassan. The two may never see each other again.

    Amir’s father races to get himself and his son out of Afghanistan, eventually finding their way to America. Here the two set up a gas station and live hand to mouth by selling at niche markets. And as Amir’s father gradually becomes ill, a new revelation will strike to the heart of Amir; one that he cannot ignore and requires his return to his beloved Kabul.

    A study of friendship, war, and reconciliation, The Kite Runner is truly a fantastic piece of cinema. The story is never inappropriately spoken in English whenever we’re in a foreign country, and only broken English whenever we’re in America. This was refreshing and lent itself to a sense of realism.

    The acting was on-par with the best you’ll see, too. Particular note must be made of Homayoun Ershadi who plays Baba, Amir’s ailing father and strong patriarch. Also lead Khalid Abdalla as the older Amir is played well, especially when returning to Kabul to find it in ruin; quite the contrast from when he’d left.

    The cinematography of Afghanistan during Amir’s escape and ultimate return are nothing short of breathtaking, with snow-capped peaks that will cause your mouth to slacken (I’m not sure exactly which mountain range they used in the film, but wherever it was I want to go there and film it myself!)

    But it isn’t the cinematography nor the acting of one or two people that makes this film a success. It is a simple story told very well that makes it worth any movie watchers’ while. Highly recommended.

  • Linda Linguvic says:


    I read this book a few years ago and loved it. And, frankly, I was worried that the filmmakers might ruin the movie. That silly worry of mine sure was wrong though. I know it doesn’t seem possible, but the movie was even better than the book. I think that it was because the act of reading allowed me to put the book down and pick it up at a later time. The movie, however, is right there, in your face, and doesn’t give the viewer any reprieve from the compelling plot or the constant tension. I knew the story of course, and during one of the crucial scenes I found myself crying real tears even before one particular awful scene happened. And then I watched it in horror in full living color, knowing what would happen next and understanding that there were no easy answers.

    This is the story of a friendship between two boys in Afghanistan. It starts in the 1970’s before the Communists and before the Taliban. Life was complex enough then even without the awful politics which came later. Amir was the only son of a wealthy businessman and rather shy. Hassan was the son of a servant and of a lower class social group. Amir and Hassan shared a deep friendship despite the social differences between them and were a team in one of the big events in their town – a kite flying contest. At the very moment of victory though, there is a tragic act of aggression against Hassan which changes the relationship between the two boys forever. Each of the boys suffers in his own way. For Amir, it affects his life forever. All of this is set against an historical background of Afghanistan when it was secular and modern, especially for the upper classes. Women were free to go around unveiled. Books of all kind were available, although, shamefully, boys like Hassan were not taught to read.

    Then the world turned topsy turvy. Amir and his father had to flee for their lives and wound up in California. Amir marries, becomes a writer. And then, now, twenty years later, he receives a call from his father’s friend who has fled to Pakistan. “You must come back” is the message. This is the time of the Taliban. Life is horrible in Afghanistan. But Amir, now a man, is given the opportunity to do an heroic act. How this all plays out is scary and uplifting and real. I was sitting at the edge of my seat in the movie theater even though I knew how it would all turn out.

    I loved this film. The casting was excellent. Filmed in California and China, all of the actors seemed to be Afghanistani and the dialog was in Dari, Pashtu, Urdu and Russian as well as English. I particularly liked the performance of Homayoun Ershadi who played the father with wisdom and strength even when his fortune was reversed and he worked at a convenience store in California and sold merchandise at a flea market on weekends. There is a sense of authenticity throughout. Mostly, though, it was the theme that drove the film, a universal theme of sin and redemption and how a person can have a second chance to go from cowardice to courage.

    I live in New York City and the film opened in one of the art theaters. This might mean that it may never go mainstream. If this is true, it is a shame. The film was a winner all the way. Yes, it is disturbing and might just haunt your dreams. Clearly, it is for adults only too. In spite of all the horror though, it ends with an inspiring and uplifting note. Don’t miss this very important film. I give it my very highest recommendation.

  • BeachReader says:


    I was not sure if I wanted to watch this movie as I had such wonderful memories of the book, but I got it yesterday, watched it today —– and it was wonderfully done.

    The acting was marvelous, especially the actor who played the grown Amir. The setting was amazingly exactly as I had imagined Kabul – except that it was filmed in a city in Western China.

    The child actors, found at random in schools in Afghanistan, were fantastic.

    I cried a lot through this movie, but perhaps knowing what to expect made me less apprehensive.

    I also loved watching the extras on the DVD, especially the part about the making of the movie. This was a real international effort, for sure.

    WELL DONE!!!

  • KerrLines says:


    I loved the book and actually loved the movie even more!

    Rarely would I say such a thing, but Marc Forster’s “The Kite Runner” so brought alive the deeply personal book by the same name, that all that was personal thought within the book was aptly expressed and brought to reality on the screen. A story about the the deep bond of two Afghani boys,from two classes,the upheaval of the Afghan political system,the eventual disintegration of the land, and the eventual redemption found by the one boy,Amir, is so outstanding that I say “fie” on the Academy of Arts and Sciences for dismissing this film.That is my opinion and I am sticking to it!

    This film has all of the earmarkings of outstanding film making: outstanding cinematography,an excellent screen adaptation that is riveting,a really engrossing soundtrack,uniformly outstanding performances,well edited,and a redemptive story that few films had this past year.This is a film with a heart that is so big,Afghanistan or the Academy could not contain it “a thousand times over”, to quote the boys in this film.Well it wouldn’t be the first time that the Academy would make a miscue,and I am sure it will not be the last!

    I got the DVD as an early release through a film organization as a gift, and I am so glad that I can now savour the film at home.

    ** POSSIBLE SPOILER***The subjects of male abduction (Also rape),slavery,caste systems and adulterous women being stoned to death are addressed in this film.The Bible addresses the same subjects,so I can see no reason that this film not be seen.The well publicised child rape scene,is very discreetly handled.This is not a spoiler.Anyone who followed the well publicised making of this film knows that the rape of the Hazara boy,Hassan, which is absolutely germane to the story,was so in the press, that the boys actors had to be put under protection from Muslim radicals;so don’t get on your “high horse”, as I am not disclosing anything that countless newspapers AND THE TRAILER did not.

    Do not miss a superb opportunity to see a story that will educate and touch the heart at the same time.These films are as rare as peace in the Middle East!