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Ram Dass: Fierce Grace
Ram Dass Fierce Grace
Actors: William Alpert, Ram Dass, Larry Brilliant, Bhagavan Das, Timothy Leary
Director: Mickey Lemle
Genres: Drama, Documentary
NR     2003     1hr 33min

Harvard professors Richard Alpert and Timothy Leary made countercultural history in 1963 when they were fired from that institution for conducting controversial psychedelic drug research. In the purple haze aftermath, Alpe...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: William Alpert, Ram Dass, Larry Brilliant, Bhagavan Das, Timothy Leary
Director: Mickey Lemle
Creators: Bobby Squires, Buddy Squires, Mickey Lemle, Aaron Vega, Jacob Craycroft, Jessica Brackman, Linda K. Moroney
Genres: Drama, Documentary
Sub-Genres: Drama, Biography
Studio: Zeitgeist Films
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen
DVD Release Date: 04/15/2003
Original Release Date: 01/01/2001
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2001
Release Year: 2003
Run Time: 1hr 33min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 7
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

A gift of love
Howard Schumann | Vancouver, B.C. | 11/26/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Mickey Lemle's documentary Ram Dass, Fierce Grace, describes the life of Ram Dass (Richard Alpert), author, 60s guru, spiritual teacher, cohort of Timothy Leary, and author of Be Here Now, one of the most influential books of the 1970s. The film begins in the present as Ram Dass deals with the effects of a massive stroke he suffered in February 1997 that left him physically incapacitated and with impaired memory and speech.

Interweaving current conversations, interviews with people in his life, and archival footage, Lemle then looks back at his childhood, the controversy surrounding his research with Timothy Leary in psychedelics at Harvard, his studies in India with Neem Karoli Baba who renamed him Baba Ram Dass (Servant of God), his work with the Seva Foundation in social action projects dedicated to relieving suffering in the world, and his impact as an author and guru to millions of followers. Several examples are shown of his compassion and his ability to feel the pain of others. In an opening sequence, his beautiful "Rachel's Letter"*comforts a family after their daughter was murdered. In the final sequence, Ram Dass listens to a young woman struggling to overcome her grief at her boyfriend's violent death. In a powerfully moving segment, she brings Ram Dass to tears when she tells him about a dream she had in which her boyfriend speaks to her from beyond with a reassuring message.

When Ram Dass received the "fierce grace" of being "stroked", he admits he did not have any unusual spiritual epiphany. He recalls, "Here I am, Mr. Spiritual, and in my own head I didn't orient toward the spirit. It showed me I have some work to do". He has written about the stroke in his latest book, "Still Here" in which he talks about slowing down, and finding out about the "everything" that is out there. For Ram Dass, aging has become a gift. "I was galumphing through life before the stroke", he says. "I'm at peace now more than I've ever been. The peace comes from settling in to the moment". Enhanced by the music of Krishna Das, the documentary is more than just a bio-pic or a meditation on the process of aging, it is an inspiring portrait of a man whose life can be summed up in one word -- service. Ram Dass has said, "What one person has to offer to another is their own being, nothing more, nothing less". In Ram Dass, Fierce Grace, Mr. Lemle has given us Ram Dass' being, nothing more, nothing less. That is a gift of love.
Itself a Transmission
Linda Linguvic | 07/03/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Never a Ram Dass fan, I saw this film at home and experienced a totally unexpected elevation of thought, mood and outlook. In my early 50's, I have surrendered many of my earlier life beliefs, preferring to live realistically and in concert with the community as it is. This film reached deeply into my core, brought deep tears and a profound softening, compassion for us all on the planetary journey. For anyone feeling distanced from spiritual energy, this is a must see, as it wakes up the best of what we as humans have to offer."
Not just about Ram Dass, but approaches to aging
M. Bromberg | Atlanta, GA United States | 04/14/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"As we all get older, the loss of independence and control that we've spent a lifetime acquiring is a frightening aspect. Beyond the spiritual components in the biography of Richard Alpert's life is a story of his life after the stroke that left him incapacitated; it's ironic that the book he was working on when he was "stroked by God" was a book on aging itself. Ram Dass's current example has become a daily reminder of what each one of us can accomplish with manifest hope and the help of others in our lives. (May we all have a cosmic jester the likes of Wavy Gravy!) Whatever one may think of Ram Dass as a spirtual guide his all-too-human frailty teaches a practical, very earth-bound lesson toward approaching age and disability. Highly recommended."
Absolutely Wonderful and Healing
J. Levine | Washington, DC United States | 03/22/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I've watched this DVD twice now. It is even more powerful the second time. I've known about Ram Dass for years and just really got how beautiful a man he is. This is a perfect example of how this medium can be a powerful tool for healing and transformation. The journey of this film is an emotional ride with many delightful moments of wit and interesting history about a man and presence of love on this planet. I highly reccomend everyone to experience the power of "Fierce Grace". While no one would ever wish upon another the harsh lessons of the many people interviewed in this documentary, there is an opportunity for growth and expansion of awareness contained in this slim DVD."