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The Last Emperor (1987)

PG-13  |   |  Biography, Drama, History  |  15 April 1988 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 66,003 users   Metascore: 76/100
Reviews: 131 user | 74 critic | 15 from Metacritic.com

The story of the final Emperor of China.


(screenplay), (screenplay), 2 more credits »
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Won 9 Oscars. Another 43 wins & 15 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Ruocheng Ying ...
The Governor (as Ying Ruocheng)
Dennis Dun ...
Amakasu (as Ryûichi Sakamoto)
Maggie Han ...
Wen Hsiu (as Wu Jun Mei)
Chang (as Cary Hiroyuki Tagawa)
Jade Go ...
Fumihiko Ikeda ...
Richard Vuu ...
Tsou Tijger ...
Pu Yi - 8 Years (as Tijger Tsou)


A dramatic history of Pu Yi, the last of the Emperors of China, from his lofty birth and brief reign in the Forbidden City, the object of worship by half a billion people; through his abdication, his decline and dissolute lifestyle; his exploitation by the invading Japanese, and finally to his obscure existence as just another peasant worker in the People's Republic. Written by Martin H. Booda <booda@datasync.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


He was the Lord of Ten Thousand Years, the absolute monarch of China. He was born to rule a world of ancient tradition. Nothing prepared him for our world of change.


PG-13 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:




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Release Date:

15 April 1988 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El último emperador  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$23,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$21,105 (USA) (27 November 1998)


$43,984,230 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (television)

Sound Mix:

(35 mm prints)| (70 mm prints)



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The Buddhist lamas who appear in the film could not be touched by women, so extra male wardrobe helpers were hired to dress them. See more »


When Pu Yi walks out on the terrace during his inauguration the counting of the "kowtow" starts. At the inauguration or coronation of the emperor 3 times 3 bows should be made but you can clearly hear the count until 11. See more »


Emperor Pu Yi: This isn't a school; it's a prison. A real prison.
See more »


Featured in Writing with Light: Vittorio Storaro (1992) See more »


Kaiser Walzer (Emperor Waltz) op. 437
Written by Johann Strauss (as Johann Strauss)
Performed by Berliner Philharmoniker (as The Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra)
Conducted by Herbert von Karajan
with kind permission of Polydor International GmbH
See more »

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User Reviews

A Beautiful Epic
13 August 2010 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The Last Emperor is a truly larger than life film telling us about a life of a human, but not just any human, the Emperor himself. He's also not your normal emperor, he's the Last Emperor of China, his name is Pu Yi. He lives his life however he wants to and he sort has a larger than life persona. In just his late 20s, he stood at the throne ruling over one of the largest nations on Earth, with the most people on Earth. He controls and commands the lives of nearly Five-Hundred Million people. Throughout his abdication, his decline and dissolute lifestyle; his exploitation by the invading Japanese, and finally to his obscure existence as just another peasant worker in the People's Republic.

While the film isn't perfect, it is certainly beautiful and a visual treat for anyone. Bernardo Bertolucci's cinematic biography of Emperor Pu Yi is an emotional, beautiful and astonishing film... And it's a massive production which won 9 Oscars, It deserved every single one of them. The film will always be remembered for its size and its beauty. This Asian Masterpiece tells us a story of not only an Emperor, but of a country, which was and still is the largest nation in the world. The Last Emperor is certainly one the Largest, most beautiful films ever created in Cinema.

A Monumental Achievement. ~10/10~

106 of 112 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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