The story of the final Emperor of China.

Writers:

Mark Peploe (screenplay), Bernardo Bertolucci (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Popularity
3,156 ( 416)
Won 9 Oscars. Another 51 wins & 22 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
John Lone ... Pu Yi (Adult)
Joan Chen ... Wan Jung
Peter O'Toole ... Reginald Johnston (R.J.)
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 Jade Go ... Ar Mo
Fumihiko Ikeda Fumihiko Ikeda ... Yoshioka
Richard Vuu ... Pu Yi (3 years)
Tsou Tijger Tsou Tijger ... Pu Yi (8 years) (as Tijger Tsou)
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

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. See more »


Certificate:

PG-13 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

An Italian chef was brought in to cook for the international cast. He brought with him 22,000 bottles of Italian mineral water, 450 pounds of Italian coffee, 250 gallons of olive oil and 4,500 pounds of pasta. See more »

Goofs

When the puppet Emperor of Manchukuo is speaking and gives a list of the countries that have recognized the Japanese imposed government the Vatican is included as one of them. This is not the case. A religious organization in charge of missions recognized it, but the Holy See never officially recognized Manchukuo because of the Japanese invasion. See more »

Quotes

Emperor Pu Yi: The Forbidden City is a theater without an audience.
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Alternate Versions

The theatrical version runs 163 minutes. A 218 minute version was released in the US in 1998 under the mistaken title of the "Director's Cut". It was known by this erroneous title until the 2008 Criterion DVD and Blu-ray Disc came out. Bertolucci and DP Vittorio Storaro made it clear while working on the DVD and BD that the shorter theatrical version is without doubt the director's cut. The 218 minute version was an early cut meant only to be aired as a four-part television mini-series by the Italian television network that funded the film. See more »

Connections

Featured in Boffo! Tinseltown's Bombs and Blockbusters (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

Auld Lang Syne
(uncredited)
Traditional Scottish ballad
In the score when Johnston says farewell to Pu Yi
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User Reviews

 
An Oriental paradise that is wonderfully mastered to the screen.
21 March 1999 | by emmSee all my reviews

I guess I'm the only one who watched this from a worn out-of-print VHS copy. No matter what the quality, THE LAST EMPEROR is arguably among the best of the foreign pictures. The sights and sounds of The Forbidden City are sharp and beautifully screened right on with the provocative events that unfold the coming-of-age life of Pu Yi. It has plentiful moments including his romantic affairs with concubines and how he learns the way of the world as a child. His chronicle of a young emperor boy paints a colorful picture for the first half, only leading to more conflicting matters later, which is the most exciting part. Don't expect to see heads getting chopped off, like I thought would happen (unless you have the longer DVD version), but the intensity of the talk surrounding it sounds horrifying and true. Nevertheless, the dialogue is clearly mystical. Every minute is a feel-good breeze through crafty cinematic art, but it ends too fast, and the narration from Pu Yi in his prison term could use a lot more detailing. Maybe I'll stick around longer and wait to see the Director's Cut which has more. Definitely a winning treat not to be missed for foreign movie lovers and collectors of premium filmfare.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

UK | Italy | France

Language:

English | Mandarin | Japanese

Release Date:

15 April 1988 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Last Emperor See more »

Filming Locations:

China See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

GBP23,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$149,460, 22 November 1987

Gross USA:

$43,984,230

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$43,993,508
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (television) | (director's cut)

Sound Mix:

Dolby (35 mm prints)| 70 mm 6-Track (70 mm prints)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
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