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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   67,448 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:
The Last Epic See more (132 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

Ryuichi Sakamoto ... Amakasu (as Ryûichi Sakamoto)
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 
Ryuichi Sakamoto  (as 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
Barnaba Pagliarini .... drapery
Cynthia Sleiter .... draughtswoman
Boriana Soong .... art department assistant
Fernando Valento .... construction manager
Jixian Wang .... art designer (as Wang Jixian)
Xu Xianqing .... property
Xianchun Zhang .... property
Jin Ming Zhu .... property (as Zhu Ming)
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)
Alan Murphy .... jewellery maker (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)
Mark Berrow .... musician: violin (uncredited)
Chang Ning Chai .... musician: erhu (uncredited)
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) | Finland:K-14 (original rating) | Finland:K-11 (re-rating) | France:U | Germany:12 | Germany:12 (director's cut) | Iceland:12 | Italy:T | Japan:PG12 (2015) | 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?

Cameo: [Yuan Jin]the real-life Chinese prison governor who was responsible for the real Henry Pu-yi's rehabilitation, appears in the scene where Pu Yi receives his pardon. Yuan Jin calls Pu Yi's name ("Aisin-Gioro Pu Yi!") over the microphone. As Pu Yi steps forward, the pardon is read aloud by Ruocheng Ying, who plays Yuan Jin's role in the film. John Lone shakes hands with Yuan Jin before receiving the pardon.See more »
Factual errors: 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 »
Chen Pao Shen:[as Puyi is heading off to become the Emperor of Manchukuo] If you go you betray your country!
Emperor Pu Yi:[pause, at a distance] Which country?
See more »
Movie Connections:
China BoySee more »


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24 out of 29 people found the following review useful.
The Last Epic, 28 May 2001
Author: shardik from Mid-World and a thousand miles from Gilead

The Last Emperor, like Once Upon a Time in America, is an epic saga that delves, among various aspects, into the realm of Time and the ensuing effects it has on a human being and his culture as it passes through his lifetime. The Last Emperor of the Qing dynasty, Pu-Yi, was coronated in 1909 at the age of three and due to his youth ended up being a puppet to his adminstration. Bertolucci successfully shows us a young man who while understandably spoilt by many luxuries of monarchy, is in actuality a tender hearted, independent thinker (not doer) who is passionate about his homeland (Manchuria) and has a ravenous desire for experiencing life in the outside world. His caged lifestyle in the Forbidden City (Beijing) is definitely a major contributor to this mindset. From his infancy the director takes us through a chain of historical events that ultimately lead to Pu-Yi being an ordinary man (we know this from the beginning, however flashbacks explain his situation at the start). However, it is not the desired lifestyle that he sought as an Emperor in his youth.

The Last Emperor is breathtaking in its cinematography and Bertolucci's direction is impeccable. A lot of criticism was directed at his film '1900' (1976) due to its sheer length. The Last Emperor clocks in at 215 minutes (director's cut) and barring 10 minutes of a marriage related scene, it never lets up. Bertolucci seamlessly interweaves the flashbacks with Pu-Yi's situation in post-WWII China by providing us with a real life tragedy that epitomizes human weaknesses, vices, love and loyalty. Here is a film that is a true story but goes beyond mere narration or simple depiction - it is a three and a half hour, non-stop attention grasping journey through the spectrum of humanity that defines our lifetime through the eyes of an unfortunate soul who was a victim of circumstances like many are. Any questions that the viewer will have concerning an event in the plot will be immediately answered through the rich tapestry that Bertolucci shows when depicting Pu-Yi's imperial life.

On a technical note, the acting in this film is brilliant. John Lone deserved atleast an Oscar nomination for best actor due to his seamless portrayal of Pu-Yi. He makes his portrayal of a 21 - 60 year old Pu-Yi seem like an effortless act. Through his performance the audience feels an even greater compassion for the last emperor as we come across a man who despite all the hardships he endured was very compassionate and soft centered. The sheer down to earth nature of his character as a 55-60 year old who walks with a tired smile, forever accompanied by his loving brother, is a testament to Lone's ability to portray any age and move the audience.

Once again, it takes a Hailey's comet like event for the Academy to nominate someone from the eastern world (or non-British, non-American when it comes to best actor). The rest of the cast is also brilliant barring Ryuichi Sakamoto (who portrays the one-armed Masahiko Amakasu) who, for the most part, presents us with a classic display of Japanese overacting. Although I wouldn't call it overacting in a Kurasawa-esque/Japanese film environment, it becomes quite hilarious in a production such as this.

This apart, the film is brilliant. It is the last great epic (yes, Gladiator is very good, but is far from an epic in my mind) and somehow I hope it is rediscovered and re-appreciated as it once was back in the late eighties.

While the Oscars have always contrived to ignore the true best picture for most of the last two decades, here is an example of a best picture winner which beat the competition by miles.

Was the above review useful to you?
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Top 10 Movies of all time( without ranking) umshah2000
Worst Best Picture winner since... Jason2024
really really bad movie enid-c
The 2nd half of the movie sucked Balbanes
Deserved Much More Respect sambuca62
Eastern Jewel, aka Yoshiko Kawashima bcamphome
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