7.8/10
82,687
152 user 78 critic

The Last Emperor (1987)

Trailer
2:08 | Trailer
The story of the final Emperor of China.

Writers:

Mark Peploe (screenplay), Bernardo Bertolucci (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
Popularity
1,682 ( 1,510)
Won 9 Oscars. Another 48 wins & 16 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

An old Jewish woman and her African-American chauffeur in the American South have a relationship that grows and improves over the years.

Director: Bruce Beresford
Stars: Morgan Freeman, Jessica Tandy, Dan Aykroyd
Drama | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

At the close of WWII, a young nurse tends to a badly-burned plane crash victim. His past is shown in flashbacks, revealing an involvement in a fateful love affair.

Director: Anthony Minghella
Stars: Ralph Fiennes, Juliette Binoche, Willem Dafoe
Adventure | Drama | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

Lieutenant John Dunbar, assigned to a remote western Civil War outpost, befriends wolves and Indians, making him an intolerable aberration in the military.

Director: Kevin Costner
Stars: Kevin Costner, Mary McDonnell, Graham Greene
Out of Africa (1985)
Biography | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

In 20th-century colonial Kenya, a Danish baroness/plantation owner has a passionate love affair with a free-spirited big-game hunter.

Director: Sydney Pollack
Stars: Meryl Streep, Robert Redford, Klaus Maria Brandauer
Biography | Drama | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Two British track athletes, one a determined Jew, and the other a devout Christian, compete in the 1924 Olympics.

Director: Hugh Hudson
Stars: Ben Cross, Ian Charleson, Nicholas Farrell
Certificate: 16+ Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

Selfish yuppie Charlie Babbitt's father left a fortune to his savant brother Raymond and a pittance to Charlie; they travel cross-country.

Director: Barry Levinson
Stars: Dustin Hoffman, Tom Cruise, Valeria Golino
Comedy | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A young Shakespeare, out of ideas and short of cash, meets his ideal woman and is inspired to write one of his most famous plays.

Director: John Madden
Stars: Gwyneth Paltrow, Joseph Fiennes, Geoffrey Rush
Certificate: 18+ Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A young Parisian woman meets a middle-aged American businessman who demands their clandestine relationship be based only on sex.

Director: Bernardo Bertolucci
Stars: Marlon Brando, Maria Schneider, Maria Michi
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Follows hard-to-please Aurora looking for love, and her daughter's family problems.

Director: James L. Brooks
Stars: Shirley MacLaine, Debra Winger, Jack Nicholson
Чикaго (2002)
Certificate: 12+ Comedy | Crime | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Two death-row murderesses develop a fierce rivalry while competing for publicity, celebrity, and a sleazy lawyer's attention.

Director: Rob Marshall
Stars: Renée Zellweger, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Richard Gere
Certificate: 12+ Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Ted Kramer's wife leaves him, allowing for a lost bond to be rediscovered between Ted and his son, Billy. But a heated custody battle ensues over the divorced couple's son, deepening the wounds left by the separation.

Director: Robert Benton
Stars: Dustin Hoffman, Meryl Streep, Jane Alexander
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

After the death of Lama Dorje, Tibetan Buddhist monks find three children - one American and two Nepalese - who may be the rebirth of their great teacher.

Director: Bernardo Bertolucci
Stars: Keanu Reeves, Bridget Fonda, Ruocheng Ying
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
John Lone ... Pu Yi - Adult
Joan Chen ... Wan Jung
Peter O'Toole ... Reginald 'R. J.' Johnston
Ruocheng Ying 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)
Edit

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:

See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

UK | Italy | China | France

Language:

English | Mandarin | Japanese

Release Date:

23 October 1987 (Italy) See more »

Also Known As:

El último emperador See more »

Filming Locations:

Beijing Studios, Beijing, China See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

£23,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$149,460, 20 November 1987, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$43,984,230
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (television)

Sound Mix:

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

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

During filming of the immense coronation scene in the Forbidden City, Queen Elizabeth II was in Beijing on a state visit. The production was given priority over her by the Chinese authorities and she was therefore unable to visit the Forbidden City. See more »

Goofs

When Johnston and Pu Yi say "farewell" to each other and as the musicians appear and follow Johnston, reflections are visible in such a way that indicate that the scene was actually shot through the glass of a pre-existing structure. The reflections are not consistent with anything else in the shot. See more »

Quotes

Pu Yi, at 15: Where are your ancestors buried?
Reginald Fleming 'R.J.' Johnston: In Scotland, your majesty.
Pu Yi, at 15: But then, where's your skirt? In your country, men wear short skirts, do they not?
Reginald Fleming 'R.J.' Johnston: No, your majesty, Scotmen do not wear skirts. They wear kilts.
See more »

Alternate Versions

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 »

Connections

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

Soundtracks

Am I Blue
(1929)
Music by Harry Akst
Lyrics Grant Clarke
Sung by John Lone as Pu Yi
Published by Feldman Music
c/o EMI Music Publishing Ltd.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Long and well worth every moment
12 May 2003 | by brower8See all my reviews

The last Emperor of China, Pu Yi, we now understand, was never anything more than a puppet. He wielded absolute power within his real realm -- a gilded cage of a palace -- but could never shape events except for tragedy to himself or to others.

We see his life as one unlikely person, the one person that one would have most expect to have been insulated, in a gigantic tragedy -- that of China between the chaotic beginning of what might have been a long reign and the destructive Cultural Revolution of Mao, with coups, warlord rule, World War II, and the Marxist Revolution culminating in the rise of Mao. One recognizes that the pathologies of imperial China never truly died, but merely took new forms in the cult of the Leader. That the scenery is beautiful and hedonism among elites is rife hardly conceals the fact that China was a political Hell.

Pu Yi, once the Emperor of the great (but decrepit) Chinese Empire, becomes Emperor of the Forbidden Palace in 1912 before he is expelled in one of many violent revolutions (this one in 1925) in China. We see him doing a few things right, like reforming the Palace bureaucracy from a den of thieves into something honorable. He gets a superb adviser in Reginald Johnston, who gave him the confidence to be a political figure -- even a good one -- in the happiest time of his life. Johnston leaves as Pu Yi is expelled from the Palace, and eventually falls under the spell of the Japanese, who rip Manchuria from China and find someone willing to rule it in an enlightened manner -- himself. The Prime Minister of his choosing is killed, and Pu Yi becomes a puppet ruler of a contemptible entity. It's just like the old days, only the intriguers are worse -- far worse. The decrepitude of the system sets in at the first moment. As Emperor he can only accede to what his Japanese overlords demand.

At the end of the war he is arrested by the Soviets because he dallies too long on unfinished business -- and after the 1949 Revolution he is sent back to China as a war criminal and traitor. Rather than being executed (as one might expect) he is sent to prison as a convict.

As a prisoner he is incarcerated with some of his former underlings -- war criminals of the Manchukuo puppet state -- who have learned to ape the ideology of their captors, and he runs afoul of those 'fellow' inmates. Ex-fascists make the most fervent communists. All in all, he simplifies and becomes a very ordinary man in a society that punished anyone who challenged anything that the regime didn't want people to challenge.

Pure puppet? Not quite. A dupe who never left when the going was good -- if the going was ever good -- and that is exactly what the Imperial role made him. In childhood the ruler of the greatest empire (in population size, that is) on Earth -- in a premature old age, a cipher. Then again, what else did most Chinese ever become in China during the first two thirds of the 20th century become -- ciphers, old before their time, wrecks of no fault of their own, just to survive.


56 of 82 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 152 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Trending Movies With Prime Video

Enjoy a night in with these popular movies available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed

 
Lloyd in Space (39) | UFC Fight Night 142 Early Prelims 720p HDTV x264-Star[TGx] | Oglądaj