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The Last Emperor (1987)

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The story of the final Emperor of China.


(screenplay), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
3,825 ( 61)
Won 9 Oscars. Another 47 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 ...
Tsou Tijger ...
Pu Yi - 8 Years (as Tijger Tsou)


This sweeping account of the life of Pu-Yi, the last emperor of China, follows the leader's tumultuous reign. After being captured by the Red Army as a war criminal in 1950, Pu-Yi recalls his childhood from prison. He remembers his lavish youth in the Forbidden City, where he was afforded every luxury but unfortunately sheltered from the outside world and complex political situation surrounding him. As revolution sweeps through China, the world Pu-Yi knew is dramatically upended. Written by Jwelch5742

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?


Security was so tight around the shoot, that when, one day, Peter O'Toole forgot his pass, he was denied entrance to the set. See more »


The Emperor sings "Am I Blue" in 1927, but the song wasn't written until 1929. See more »


The Governor: [setting a recurring theme of imprisonment throughout the film] Open the door! Open the door! Open the door!... Open the door!
See more »


Referenced in Serial Mom (1994) 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

26 December 2003 | by (The Hague, Netherlands) – See all my reviews

'The Last Emperor' tells the story of Pu Yi, as an adult played by John Lone, the last emperor of China. He was three years old when he first sat down on the Dragon Throne. He didn't know anything. The movie tells his story from that moment in flashbacks. We also get to see Pu Yi when the Chinese Communists have the power and he is imprisoned. Because people have taken care of him the rest of his life, from three years old to the moments inside the prison, it still feels he knows nothing.

To tell you about the life of Pu Yi would be a mistake. You have to see this movie to learn more about it. The strange thing is that Pu Yi can not do and decide much for himself. He is a hero of a movie where he is controlled by rules and other people. That is one of the reasons not many real things happen. We see the emperor grow up, we see him take an empress and a concubine, and then he has to leave the Forbidden City because the enemy is at the gate.

The impressive thing here are the locations and the costumes. Everything looks fabulous and it is not a surprise to find out that the movie was shot on location. With all the extras in those beautiful costumes there are a lot of very impressive scenes. May be the movie is a bit too long for some, it didn't really bother me. Director Bernardo Bertolucci has made a terrific movie.

55 of 69 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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