IMDb > The Last Emperor (1987)
The Last Emperor
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The Last Emperor (1987) More at IMDbPro »

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The Last Emperor -- China's final Emperor is chronicled in this Oscar winning film
The Last Emperor -- The story of the final Emperor of China.


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7.8/10   58,979 votes »
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Up 3% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Mark Peploe (screenplay) and
Bernardo Bertolucci (screenplay) ...
View company contact information for The Last Emperor on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
15 April 1988 (USA) See more »
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.
The story of the final Emperor of China. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Won 9 Oscars. Another 45 wins & 13 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
A great artistic achievement See more (125 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

John Lone ... Pu Yi - Adult

Joan Chen ... Wan Jung

Peter O'Toole ... Reginald 'R. J.' Johnston
Ruocheng Ying ... The Governor (as Ying Ruocheng)

Victor Wong ... Chen Pao Shen
Dennis Dun ... Big Li

Ryûichi Sakamoto ... Amakasu
Maggie Han ... Eastern Jewel

Ric Young ... Interrogator

Vivian Wu ... Wen Hsiu (as Wu Jun Mei)

Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa ... Chang (as Cary Hiroyuki Tagawa)
Jade Go ... Ar Mo
Fumihiko Ikeda ... Yoshioka
Richard Vuu ... Pu Yi - 3 Years
Tsou Tijger ... Pu Yi - 8 Years (as Tijger Tsou)
Tao Wu ... Pu Yi - 15 Years (as Wu Tao)
Guang Fan ... Pu Chieh - Adult (as Fan Guang)
Henry Kyi ... Pu Chieh - 7 Years
Alvin Riley III ... Pu Chieh - 14 Years

Lisa Lu ... Tzu Hsui
Hideo Takamatsu ... General Ishikari
Hajime Tachibana ... Japanese Translator
Basil Pao ... Prince Chun
Henry O ... Lord Chamberlain (as Jiang Xi Ren)

Kaige Chen ... Captain of Imperial Guard (as Chen Kai Ge)
Liangbin Zhang ... Big Foot (as Zhang Liangbin)
Wenjie Huang ... Hunchback (as Huang Wenjie)
Dong Liang ... Lady Aisin-Gioro (as Liang Dong)
Zhendong Dong ... Old Doctor (as Dong Zhendong)
Jiechen Dong ... Doctor (as Dong Jiechen)

Constantine Gregory ... Oculist
Huaikuei Soong ... Lung Yu (as Soong Huaikuei)
Ruzhen Shao ... First High Consort (as Shao Ruzhen)
Li Yu ... Second High Consort
Guangli Li ... Third High Consort (as Li Guangli)
Chunqing Xu ... Grey Eyes
Tianmin Zhang ... Old Tutor (as Zhang Tianmin)
Hongnian Luo ... Sleeping Old Tutor (as Luo Hongnian)
Shihong Yu ... Hsiao Hsiu (as Yu Shihong)
Jun Wu ... Wen Hsiu - 12 Years (as Wu Jun)
Lucia Hwong ... Lady of the Book
Jingping Cui ... Lady of the Pen (as Cui Jingping)

Shi Liang ... Republican Officer (as Wu Hai)
Junguo Gu ... Tang (as Gu Junguo)
Xu Tongrui ... Captain of Feng's Army
Fusheng Li ... Minister of Trade (as Li Fusheng)
Shu Chen ... Chang Chinghui (as Chen Shu)
Shuyan Cheng ... Lady Hiro Saga (as Cheng Shuyan)

Daxing Zhang ... Tough Warder (as Zhang Daxing)
Ruigang Zu ... Second Warder (as Zu Ruigang)
Yuan Jin ... Party Boss (as Jin Yuan)
Akira Ikuta ... Japanese Doctor
Michael Vermaaten ... American
Matthew Spender ... Englishman
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Hongxiang Cai ... Scarface (uncredited)
Xinmin Cui ... Japanese Bodyguard (uncredited)
Zhenduo Li ... Dignitary (uncredited)
Shigang Luo ... Chang Chinghui's Secretary (uncredited)
Guang Ma ... Japanese Bodyguard (uncredited)

Glen Murphy ... Captain (uncredited)
Biao Wang ... Prisoner (uncredited)
Baozong Yang ... General Yuan Shikai (uncredited)
Hongchang Yang ... Scribe (uncredited)
Lingmu Zhang ... Emperor Hirohito (uncredited)

Directed by
Bernardo Bertolucci 
Writing credits
Mark Peploe (screenplay) and
Bernardo Bertolucci (screenplay)

Enzo Ungari (initial screenplay collaboration)

Henry Pu-yi  autobiography "From Emperor to Citizen, The Autobiography of Aisin-Gioro Pu Yi" (uncredited)

Produced by
John Daly .... executive producer
Franco Giovale .... associate producer
Joyce Herlihy .... associate producer: UK
Jeremy Thomas .... producer
Original Music by
David Byrne 
Ryûichi Sakamoto 
Cong Su 
Cinematography by
Vittorio Storaro (photography)
Film Editing by
Gabriella Cristiani 
Casting by
Joanna Merlin 
Production Design by
Ferdinando Scarfiotti 
Art Direction by
Maria-Teresa Barbasso  (as Maria Teresa Barbasso)
Gianni Giovagnoni 
Gianni Silvestri 
Set Decoration by
Chunpu Wang  (as Wang Chunpu)
Costume Design by
James Acheson 
Makeup Department
Ennio Cascioli .... assistant hair stylist
Iole Cecchini .... hair designer
Elisabetta De Leonardis .... assistant hair stylist
Giancarlo De Leonardis .... hair designer
Franco Giannini .... makeup assistant
Feng Guixiang .... makeup artist
Antonio Maltempo .... makeup assistant
Fabrizio Sforza .... makeup artist
Gino Zamprioli .... makeup assistant
Wanxiang Zhang .... makeup artist
Giancarlo De Leonardis .... hair stylist (uncredited)
Production Management
Stefano Bolzoni .... production manager
Mario Cotone .... production supervisor
Richard Lloyd .... post-production supervisor (tv version)
Lamberto Palmieri .... production manager
Alberto Passone .... production manager
Pietro Sassaroli .... production manager
Michael Saxton .... post-production supervisor
Attilio Viti .... production manager
Liansheng Wang .... associate production manager (as Wang Liansheng)
Kebing Yang .... associate production manager (as Yang Kebing)
Yumin Zhang .... associate production manager (as Zhang Yuming)
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Franco Angeli .... third assistant director
Serena Canevari .... second assistant director
Fabien Gerard .... third assistant director (as Fabian Gerard)
Lou Hangmin .... assistant director
Li Hongsheng .... assistant director
Giulio Levi .... third assistant director
Ying Ning .... third assistant director (as Ning Ying)
Basil Pao .... third assistant director
Nicoletta Peyran .... third assistant director
Gabriele Polverosi .... first assistant director
Biao Wang .... assistant director (as Wang Biao)
Art Department
Sante Barelli .... special set paintings
Bruno Cesari .... set dresser
Osvaldo Desideri .... set dresser
Galliano Donati .... sculptor
Roberto Magagnini .... props
Carlo Maggi .... head plasterer
Dario Micheli .... set dresser
Zhu Jin Ming .... property (as Zhu Ming)
Barnaba Pagliarini .... drapery
Cynthia Sleiter .... draughtswoman
Boriana Soong .... art department assistant
Fernando Valento .... construction manager
Jixian Wang .... art designer (as Wang Jixian)
Zhang Xianchun .... property
Xu Xianqing .... property
Andy Friend .... illustrator (uncredited)
Sound Department
Don Banks .... boom operator
Alan Bell .... dialogue editor
Geoff R. Brown .... dialogue assistant (as Geoff Brown)
Terry Busby .... sound editor: footsteps
Mike Hopkins .... dialogue editor
David Motta .... sound engineer
William Parnell .... sound assistant (as Bill Parnell)
Bill Rowe .... sound mixer
Ivan Sharrock .... sound mixer
Les Wiggins .... sound editor
Colin Wood .... boom operator
Special Effects by
Gino De Rossi .... special effects
Fabrizio Martinelli .... special effects
Jinguo Yang .... special effects (as Yang Jingguo)
Mario Cassar .... special effects technician (uncredited)
Claudio Quaglietti .... special effects technician (uncredited)
Visual Effects by
Shulamit Levin .... digital restoration (2007 restored version)
Craig Chandler .... optical effects (uncredited)
Alan Church .... optical effects (uncredited)
Chad Cortvriendt .... stereoscopic production manager (uncredited)
Jaime Palmer .... compositor (uncredited)
Tony Willis .... effects cameraman (uncredited)
Camera and Electrical Department
Giuseppe Alberti .... focus puller
Luigi Bernardini .... focus puller
Filippo Cafolla .... head gaffer
Sean Herlihy .... camera assistant
Alfredo Marchetti .... head grip (as Alredo Marchetti)
Mauro Marchetti .... camera operator: "b" camera
Angelo Novi .... still photographer
Nicola Pecorini .... steadicam operator
Enrico Umetelli .... camera operator: "a" camera
Riccardo Umetelli .... loader
Zhenhua Wang .... lighting (as Wang Zhenghua)
Fabio Zamarion .... loader
Ni Zhongze .... lighting
Keith Hamshere .... special photographer (uncredited)
Stefano Marino .... electrician (uncredited)
Rob McEwan .... still photographer (uncredited)
Mauro Pezzotti .... grip (uncredited)
Casting Department
Brendan Donnison .... adr casting (as Brendon Donnison)
Alice Jankowiak .... casting assistant
Ulrike Koch .... casting: China
Patricia Pao .... casting: Hong Kong
Nina Axelrod .... casting assistant (uncredited)
Daxing Zhang .... casting assistant (uncredited)
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Martin Adams .... costume prop maker
Franco Antonelli .... wardrobe coordinator
Vincenzo Cancellara .... wardrobe assistant
Thomas Casterline .... assistant costume designer
Damiana Celletti .... wardrobe assistant
Silvana Cocuccione .... wardrobe assistant (as Silvana Cocuccioni)
Shirley Cooper .... costume prop maker
Millina Deodato .... assistant military costume designer
Anna Foresi .... wardrobe assistant
Magot Forster .... costume applique work
Frank Gardiner .... assistant costume designer
Annie Hadley .... cutter
Gilly Hebden .... assistant costume designer
Michael Jones .... milliner
Colette Koo .... assistant costume designer (as Collette Koo)
Teresa Micocci .... cutter
Day Murch .... costume applique work
Paola Pedricca .... wardrobe assistant (as Paola Petricca)
Ugo Pericoli .... military costumer
Gregorio Simili .... dyer
Huanxiang Sun .... costumer (as Sun Huanxiang)
David Whiteing .... wardrobe assistant
Gong Zhangjing .... costumer
Giancarlo Colis .... costumer (uncredited)
Editorial Department
Martin Crane .... first assistant editor
Fiorella Giovanelli .... second assistant editor
Mike Griffiths .... telecine colorist (television version)
Catherine Hodgson .... second assistant editor
Carlo La Bella .... color supervisor
Aldo Manni .... negative cutter
Nadia Mazzoni .... second assistant editor
Elvio Sordoni .... first assistant editor
Music Department
Haydn Bendall .... music engineer: London (as Hayden Bendall)
Aki Ikuta .... music producer: London
Aki Ikuta .... musical associate: Tokyo
Michael Jarratt .... music engineer: London (as Mike Jarratt)
Clive Martin .... music engineer: David Byrne's sessions
Michio Nakagoshi .... music engineer: Tokyo
Yuji Nomi .... additional music arranger: Tokyo
Masatsugu Shinozaki .... musician
Ian Silvester .... music engineer: Audio FX, London
Shigeru Takise .... music engineer: Tokyo
Kôji Ueno .... additional music arranger: Tokyo
Ray Williams .... music supervisor
Gavin Wright .... conductor: London
Hans Zimmer .... music producer: London (as Hans F. Zimmer)
Hans Zimmer .... musical associate: London (as Hans F. Zimmer)
Gemma Dempsey .... assistant music supervisor (uncredited)
Greg Fulginiti .... music engineer (uncredited)
Paul Kegg .... musician: cello (uncredited)
Other crew
Verena Baldeo .... production assistant
Cicely Berry .... dialogue coach
Maurice Binder .... title designer: main title
Lizzie Bryant .... secretary to producer
Rubin Cai .... organizer: Beijing Film Studio (as Cai Rubin)
Andrew Calvert .... computer operator
Riccardo Caneva .... accountant
Concetta Caporale .... production secretary
Anita Capozzi .... interpreter
Fausto Capozzi .... accountant
Marco Carosi .... video
Hazel Crombie .... production accountant
Sheala Daniell .... assistant production accountant
Michael Day .... interpreter
Sevilla Delofski .... assistant to producer
Gianna Di Michele .... accountant (as Gianna De Micheli)
Suzanne Durrenberger .... continuity
Susanna Ferrari .... interpreter
Sergio Forcina .... armourer
Giovanna Fulvi .... interpreter
Juliet Garland .... computer operator
Vanessa Goddard .... publicity coordinator
Marina Grappelli .... accountant
Maurizio Graziosi .... accountant
Constantine Gregory .... dialogue coach
Massimo Iacobis .... production assistant (as Massimo Jacobis)
Aisin Gioro Pu Jie .... advisor
Sara Keene .... director of publicity
Mary Lance .... documentary film researcher
Memo Mancino .... armourer
Carlo Pasini .... production secretary
Cloe Peploe .... historical research
Manuela Pineskj .... production coordinator (as Manuela Pineskj Berger)
Guoburou Run Qi .... advisor
Ann Roddy .... interpreter
Daniel Shallon .... assistant continuity
Shirley Sun .... production consultant
Betty Swinburne .... accounts secretary
Ron Swinburne .... financial controller
Cinzia Taffani .... production secretary
Luciano Tartaglia .... accountant
Ann Tasker .... unit publicist
Riccardo Umetelli .... screenings operator
Li Wenda .... advisor
Aisin Gioro Wen Xin .... advisor
Chunqing Xu .... representative: China Film Co-Production Corporation (as Xu Chunquing)
Federica Zappalà .... accountant (as Federica Zappala)
Aisin Gioro Yu Zhan .... advisor
Liangbin Zhang .... representative: China Film Co-Production Corporation (as Zhang Lianbin)
Monica Zucchetti .... interpreter
Pauline Hume .... graphic artist: titles (uncredited)
Lee Katz .... production consultant (uncredited)
Gemma Dempsey .... many thanks
Brian Gülland .... many thanks
Jean Pasqualini .... special thanks: author of 'Prisoner of Mao'
Keiko Shinozaki .... many thanks
Hiroaki Sugawara .... many thanks
Crew believed to be complete

Production CompaniesDistributorsSpecial EffectsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
163 min | 219 min (television version)
Color (Technicolor)
Aspect Ratio:
2.00 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Dolby (35 mm prints) | 70 mm 6-Track (70 mm prints)
Argentina:16 | Australia:M | Brazil:Livre | Canada:PA (Manitoba) | Canada:A (Nova Scotia) (original rating) | Canada:AA (Ontario) | Canada:G (Quebec) | Canada:14 (Nova Scotia) (re-rating) (1999) | Chile:14 | Finland:K-14 (original rating) | Finland:K-11 (re-rating) | France:U | Germany:12 | Germany:12 (director's cut) | Iceland:12 | Italy:T | Netherlands:12 (director's cut) | Peru:14 | Portugal:M/12 (Qualidade) | Singapore:NC-16 | South Korea:12 | Sweden:11 | UK:15 | UK:15 (director's cut) | USA:PG-13 | USA:TV-14 (TV rating)

Did You Know?

This was the first western film made in and about the country to be produced with full Chinese government cooperation since 1949.See more »
Incorrectly regarded as goofs: The tour guide at the end of the film says that Pu Yi was 3 years old at his coronation. Henry Pu-yi was born Feb. 7, 1906 and invested Nov. 14, 1908, aged 2 years 10 months. However, the guide was likely using the Chinese age system, in which a person is automatically aged "1" when born.See more »
Pu Yi, at 15:Is it true, Mr. Johnston, that many people out there have had their heads cut off?
Reginald Fleming 'R.J.' Johnston:It is true, your majesty. Many heads have been chopped off. It does stop them thinking.
See more »
Movie Connections:
Auld Lang SyneSee more »


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26 out of 29 people found the following review useful.
A great artistic achievement, 16 April 2006
Author: Stanley Strangelove from Portland, Oregon US

Bernardo Bertolucci's "The Last Emperor" is a monumental, perfect film, and stands as one of the great artistic achievements in any artistic medium.

Told in a complicated flashback/ flash-forward style, it's the story of Pu Yi (born 1906) who was the last absolute monarch of China. During his lifetime he falls from the Lord of Ten Thousand Years, the emperor/God of billions of Chinese, to an anonymous peasant worker in communist China.

Pu Yi was the child emperor from 1908 until the Chinese revolution in 1911 when he had to abdicate. He was allowed to remain in the Forbidden City but was stripped of his power by the communists. He was expelled from the city in 1924 by a warlord. In 1932, Puyi was installed by the Japanese as the ruler of Manchukuo, a puppet state of Imperial Japan. At the end of World War II, Pu yi was captured by the Soviet Red Army and turned over to the Chinese communists. Considered a traitor, he spent ten years in a reeducation camp until he was declared reformed. He voiced his support for the Communists and worked at the Beijing Botanical Gardens.

This film vividly portrays the change from the imperial and religious traditions of ancient China to the godless totalitarianism of modern communist China, so the film is, on one level, the story of China's revolutionary transition from imperialism to communism.

Visually the film is stunning especially the scenes in the Forbidden City. It was the first film to receive permission to film in the Forbidden City.

The film can be enjoyed on the first viewing but really demands more than one viewing and some knowledge of history. In this respect it resembles Akira Kurasawa's masterpiece "The Seven Samurai.

The cast includes John Lone as emperor Pu Yi, Joan Chen, and Peter O'Toole.

The film won 9 Oscars including best director and best film. A must see on DVD widescreen or in the theater.

Was the above review useful to you?
See more (125 total) »

Message Boards

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Recent Posts (updated daily)User
Deserved Much More Respect sambuca62
The 2nd half of the movie sucked Balbanes
No Sympathy for Pu Yi cocacolaistherealthing
John Lone, Joan Chen + Vivian Wu Captivating sambuca62
Top 10 Movies of all time( without ranking) umshah2000
Cricket - Symbolism vincenzo_ferriero
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