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The Last Emperor

"1500 slaves. 353,260,000 royal subjects. Warlords. Concubines. And 2 wives. He was the loneliest boy in the world."

1987-10-04 Drama 2hr 43m

A dramatic history of Pu Yi, the last of the Emperors of China, from his lofty birth and brief reign in the Forbidden City, the object of worship by half a billion people; through his abdication, his decline and dissolute lifestyle; his exploitation by the invading Japanese, and finally to his obscure existence as just another peasant worker in the People's Republic.

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A dramatic history of Pu Yi, the last of the Emperors of China, from his lofty birth and brief reign in the Forbidden City, the object of worship by half a billion people; through his abdication, his decline and dissolute lifestyle; his exploitation by the invading Japanese, and finally to his obscure existence as just another peasant worker in the People's Republic.

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Cast

John Lone

John Lone

Pu Yi (Adult)
Joan Chen

Joan Chen

Wan Jung
Peter O'Toole

Peter O'Toole

Reginald Johnston (R.J.)
Ruocheng Ying

Ruocheng Ying

The Governor
Victor Wong

Victor Wong

Chen Pao Shen
Maggie Han

Maggie Han

Eastern Jewel
Ric Young

Ric Young

Interrogator
Vivian Wu

Vivian Wu

Wen Hsiu
Jade Go

Jade Go

Ar Mo
Richard Vuu

Richard Vuu

Pu Yi (3 years)
Tsou Tijger

Tsou Tijger

Pu Yi (8 years)
Tao Wu

Tao Wu

Pu Yi (15 years)
Guang Fan

Guang Fan

Pu Chieh (Adult)
Henry Kyi

Henry Kyi

Pu Chieh (7 years)
Alvin Riley III

Alvin Riley III

Pu Chieh (14 years)
Lisa Lu

Lisa Lu

Tzu Hsui
Hideo Takamatsu

Hideo Takamatsu

General Ishikari
Hajime Tachibana

Hajime Tachibana

Japanese Translator
Basil Pao

Basil Pao

Prince Chun
Henry O

Henry O

Lord Chamberlain
Chen Kaige

Chen Kaige

Captain of Imperial Guard
Wenjie Huang

Wenjie Huang

Hunchback
Dong Liang

Dong Liang

Lady Aisin-Gioro
Zhendong Dong

Zhendong Dong

Old Doctor
Ruzhen Shao

Ruzhen Shao

First High Consort
Yu Li

Yu Li

Second High Consort
Guangli Li

Guangli Li

Third High Consort
Chunqing Xu

Chunqing Xu

Grey Eyes
Zhang Tianmin

Zhang Tianmin

Old Tutor
Hongnian Luo

Hongnian Luo

Sleeping Old Tutor
Shihong Yu

Shihong Yu

Hsiao Hsiu
Jun Wu

Jun Wu

Wen Hsiu (12 years)
Lucia Hwong

Lucia Hwong

Lady of the Book
Jingping Cui

Jingping Cui

Lady of the Pen
Shi Liang

Shi Liang

Republican Officer
Xu Tongrui

Xu Tongrui

Captain of Feng's Army
Fusheng Li

Fusheng Li

Minister of Trade
Chen Shu

Chen Shu

Chang Chinghui
Shuyan Cheng

Shuyan Cheng

Lady Hiro Saga
Daxing Zhang

Daxing Zhang

Tough Warder
Ruigang Zu

Ruigang Zu

Second Warder
Yuan Jin

Yuan Jin

Party Boss
Akira Ikuta

Akira Ikuta

Japanese Doctor
Cai Hongxiang

Cai Hongxiang

Scarface (uncredited)
Glen Murphy

Glen Murphy

Captain (uncredited)
Biao Wang

Biao Wang

Prisoner (uncredited)

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Movie Reviews

Reviews for The Last Emperor
reviewer avatar

A Review by Geronimo1967 8

Written by Geronimo1967 on 2023-07-17

This is a glorious film to watch on a big screen. It depicts the end of empire and the birth of new ones - and it does it in a spectacularly... read more

This is a glorious film to watch on a big screen. It depicts the end of empire and the birth of new ones - and it does it in a spectacularly colourful and stylish fashion. The death of the Empress Dowager sees the toddler Pu Yi ascend the Dragon Throne of China, and live amidst concubines and eunuchs in the Forbidden City. He grows up believing his is a divine right to rule, and it is only upon the arrival of his tutor RJ (Peter O'Toole) and his procurement of spectacles that his eyes begin to be opened to the reality that his kingdom is entirely enclosed within a wall of golden yellow tiles. When this idyll is disrupted by warring events outside, the Emperor (now John Lone) sone finds himself a playboy, married to an opium addict (Joan Chen) and a useful puppet of the manipulative Japanese who have invaded much of his erstwhile realm. WWII arrives, power struggles ensue and the story of his eventual - and rather brutal - reintegration into the newly established Chinese communist society is depicted sensitively and without recourse to too much melodrama or sentiment. The score adds a wonderful richness to what is undoubtedly the star of this - the cinematography. Set inside the splendour of the actual Imperial Palace complex in Peking, we get a wonderful sense of the grandeur, isolation and luxury of life inside this sumptuously decorated collection of marble and brightly painted villas whilst outside, poverty and mysticism reigned more surely than did the occupant of the throne. The costume design is also remarkable - a perfect eye for the detail of the period from the start to the middle of the 20th Century. To be honest, the acting - aside from an engaging performance from the inquisitive and mischievous three year old (Richard Vuu) is all pretty routine. O'Toole features sparingly and doesn't quite fit the bill as the learned and worldly scholar. Lone and Chen are competent but they really only shine a light on the rather stilted dialogue. This isn't really a film about words - it's a film about visuals. It's about history, politics, corruption, betrayal - and even a little bit of love - all encased in a shell of creative elegance. It's wasted on the television - but is certainly one of the best examples of "epic" cinema yet made and Bertolucci has clearly invested a great deal of himself in this beautiful piece of drama. A must see, I'd say.

Read Full Review (The thoughts and opinions expressed here are solely those of the reviewer.)
A Review by CinemaSerf

This is a glorious film to watch on a big screen. It depicts the end of empire and the birth of new ones - and it does it in a spectacularly colourful and stylish fashion. The death of the Empress Dowager sees the toddler Pu Yi ascend the D...

reviewer avatar

A Review by Geronimo1967 8

Written by Geronimo1967 on 2023-07-17

This is a glorious film to watch on a big screen. It depicts the end of empire and the birth of new ones - and it does it in a spectacularly colourful and stylish fashion. The death of the Empress Dow...

read more