The Last Emperor Poster

Release Date: 1987

PG-13|2 hr 42 min

Plot Summary
This sweeping account of the life of Pu Yi (John Lone), 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.

Cast: John Lone, Joan Chen, Peter O'Toole, Ying Ruocheng, Victor Wong, Dennis Dun, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Maggie Han

Director: Bernardo Bertolucci

Genres: Drama, Historical drama, Biography

Production Co: Hemdale Studios, Recorded Picture Company (RPC)

Ratings & Reviews

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  • The movie's considerable emotional force springs from the splendor of its visual poetry. Mr. Bertolucci allows the sweep of 60 years of Chinese history to unfold around Pu Yi as background noise to his peculiar, poignant role in the emergence of modern China. [25 Nov 1987, p.1]

  • It probably is unforgivably bourgeois to admire a film because of its locations, but in the case of The Last Emperor the narrative cannot be separated from the awesome presence of the Forbidden City, and from Bertolucci's astonishing use of locations, authentic costumes and thousands of extras to create the everyday reality of this strange little boy. show more

  • This grand and powerful biography begins in 1908 when, at the age of three, Pu Yi was named emperor of China and follows him through a tumultuous life inextricably intertwined with the history of modern-day China, one that that ended with the once-coddled emperor working quietly as a gardener at Peking's Botanical Gardens. show more

See all critic reviews on metacritic.com

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