The Last Emperor (1987)

PG-13   |    |  Biography, Drama, History

The Last Emperor (1987) Poster

The story of the final Emperor of China.

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  • Bernardo Bertolucci in The Last Emperor (1987)
  • Bernardo Bertolucci in The Last Emperor (1987)
  • Richard Vuu in The Last Emperor (1987)
  • Bernardo Bertolucci in The Last Emperor (1987)
  • Joan Chen and Tao Wu in The Last Emperor (1987)
  • The Last Emperor (1987)

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Cast & Crew

Top Billed Cast


Bernardo Bertolucci


Mark Peploe (screenplay), Bernardo Bertolucci (screenplay), Enzo Ungari (initial screenplay collaboration)

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Did You Know?


When Johnston is having lunch with the emperor, one of the eunuchs informs Johnston that he has been granted by the emperor the right to be carried in his own chair. According to Johnston's "Twilight in the Forbidden City," this right is actually quite distinctive. After the revolution that essentially removed the emperor from power, the north gate (or Shin-Wu Min) of the Forbidden City became the main gate through which courtiers and others expecting to have direct access to the royal household would pass. (Formerly they would pass through the south gate.) The western entrance (of the three entrances comprising the north gate) was where they entered. Most people who were to have any business in the royal areas of the city were expected to be on foot as they were entering sacred territory. However, some were granted the right to enter on horseback, and still others were bestowed the higher honor of being carried in a chair. According to Johnston, imperial tutors were always granted the higher right. He goes on to say: "Those who possessed either of these coveted rights were free to ride or to be carried in their chairs as far as the inner gates that led directly to the precincts of the throne-hall."


Pu Yi - 8 Years: Cricket! Where's the Cricket?


When the princess gives birth, you can hear the baby crying, yet when the camera moves across, the baby has a calm expression.

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.


Kaiser Walzer (Emperor Waltz) op. 437
Written by
Johann Strauss (as Johann Strauss)
Performed by Berliner Philharmoniker (as The Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra)
Conducted by Herbert von Karajan
with kind permission of Polydor International GmbH


Plot Summary

Synopsis (WARNING: Spoilers)


Biography | Drama | History

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