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
19,000 extras were needed over the course of the film. See more »
The emperor was not in the Forbidden City to witness the expulsion of the eunuchs. This action was carefully planned with few people knowing, since the emperor could trust very few of his intimates. The order to remove the eunuchs was received in the City while the emperor was visiting at a friend's home. Also, not all of the eunuchs were dismissed, as the empress dowager (the wife of the late emperor) begged Pu Yi to allow a few of her personal servants to remain. See more »
[setting a recurring theme of imprisonment throughout the film]
Open the door! Open the door! Open the door!... Open the door!
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The Criterion Collection DVD and Blu-ray releases are re-framed in director of photography Vittorio Storaro's preferred Univisium 2.00:1 format. This was the intended ratio for the film, despite it being commonly projected in 2.39:1 during its theatrical release. See more »
An Example of Quantity and Quality Combining to Make an Unforgettable Film
"The Last Emperor" is a near perfect film. It was nominated for nine Oscars in 1987 and it won nine (including the Best Picture Oscar). The movie is about the life of Pu Yi (John Lone), China's last emperor. In spite of becoming emperor at the age of three, Yi's reign was more of a burden than anything else. Yi would ultimately end up living an unsavory life of imprisonment which is heartrending to the viewer. "The Last Emperor" is visually stunning. The minute details are amazing. However, the story stands up high as well. Historically accurate for the most part, "The Last Emperor" is easily one of the top 10 films of the 1980s and overall an exceptional achievement in every cinematic department known to man. 5 stars out of 5.
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