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The Last Emperor Details

FULL SYNOPSIS

The Last Emperor is the true story of Aisin-Gioro Pu Yi, the last ruler of the Chinese Ching Dynasty. Told in flashback, the film covers the years 1908 to 1967. We first see the three-year-old Pu Yi being installed in the Forbidden City by ruthless, dying dowager Empress Tzu-Hsui (Lisa Lu). Though he'd prefer to lark about like other boys, the infant emperor is cossetted and cajoled into accepting the responsibilities and privileges of his office. In 1912, the young emperor (Tijer Tsou) forced to abdicate when China is declared a republic, is a prisoner in his own palace, "protected" from the outside world. Fascinated by the worldliness of his Scottish tutor (Peter O'Toole), Pu Yi plots an escape from his cocoon by means of marriage. He selects Manchu descendant Wan Jung (Joan Chen), who likewise is anxious to experience the 20th century rather than be locked into the past by tradition. Played as an adult by John Lone, Pu Yi puts into effect several social reforms, and also clears the palace of the corrupt eunuchs who've been shielding him from life. In 1924, an invading warlord expels the denizens of the Forbidden City, allowing Pu Yi to "westernize" himself by embracing popular music and the latest dances as a guest of the Japanese Concession in Tientsin. Six years later, his power all but gone, Pu Yi escapes to Manchuria, where he unwittingly becomes a political pawn for the now-militant Japanese government. Humiliating his faithful wife, Pu Yi falls into bad romantic company, carrying on affairs with a variety of parasitic females. During World War II, the Japanese force Pu Yi to sign a series of documents which endorse their despotic military activities. At war's end, the emperor is taken prisoner by the Russians; while incarcerated, he is forced to fend for himself without servants at his beck and call for the first time. He is finally released in 1959 and displayed publicly as proof of the efficacy of Communist re-education. We last see him in 1967, the year of his death; now employed by the State as a gardener, Pu Yi makes one last visit to the Forbidden City...as a tourist. Bernardo Bertolucci's first film after a six-year self-imposed exile, The Last Emperor was released in two separate versions: the 160-minute theatrical release, and a 4-hour TV miniseries. Lensed on location, the film won nine Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

  • Release date:February 26, 1988

Awards

Awarded by
Nominee
Category
Year
Status
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Ivan Sharrock Best Sound 1987 Winner
Hollywood Foreign Press Association Mark Peploe Best Screenplay 1987 Winner
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Mark Peploe Best Adapted Screenplay 1987 Winner
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Osvaldo Desideri Best Art Direction 1987 Nominee
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Su Cong Best Music Score 1986 Winner
Hollywood Foreign Press Association Su Cong Best Original Score 1987 Winner
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Su Cong Best Score 1987 Winner
Hollywood Foreign Press Association Bernardo Bertolucci Best Director 1987 Winner
Hollywood Foreign Press Association Bernardo Bertolucci Best Screenplay 1987 Winner
French Academy of Cinema Bernardo Bertolucci Best Foreign Film 1987 Winner
Directors Guild of America Bernardo Bertolucci Best Director 1987 Winner
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Bernardo Bertolucci Best Director 1987 Winner
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Bernardo Bertolucci Best Adapted Screenplay 1987 Winner
British Academy of Film and Television Arts Bernardo Bertolucci Best Picture 1988 Winner
European Film Academy Bernardo Bertolucci Special Jury Award 1988 Winner
British Academy of Film and Television Arts Bernardo Bertolucci Best Director 1988 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Bill Rowe Best Sound 1987 Winner
Los Angeles Film Critics Association David Byrne Best Music Score 1986 Winner
Hollywood Foreign Press Association David Byrne Best Original Score 1987 Winner
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences David Byrne Best Score 1987 Winner
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Jeremy Thomas Best Picture 1987 Winner
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Ryuichi Sakamoto Best Music Score 1986 Winner
Hollywood Foreign Press Association Ryuichi Sakamoto Best Original Score 1987 Winner
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Ryuichi Sakamoto Best Score 1987 Winner
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Vittorio Storaro Best Cinematography 1986 Winner
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Vittorio Storaro Best Cinematography 1987 Winner
New York Film Critics Circle Vittorio Storaro Best Cinematography 1987 Winner
American Society of Cinematographers Vittorio Storaro Best Cinematography 1987 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences James Acheson Best Costume Design 1987 Winner
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Bruno Cesari Best Art Direction 1987 Winner
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Ferdinando Scarfiotti Best Art Direction 1987 Winner
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Gabriella Cristiani Best Editing 1987 Winner

Cast

John Lone
as Pu Yi as an Adult
Joan Chen
as Wan Jung, "Elizabeth"
Peter O'Toole
as Reginald Johnston, "R.J."
Ying Ruocheng
as The Governor
Victor Wong
as Chen Pao Shen
Dennis Dun
as Big Li
Ryuichi Sakamoto
as Masahiko Amakasu
Maggie Han
as Eastern Jewel
Ric Young
as Interrogator
Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa
as Chang
Jade Go
as Ar Mo
Fumihiko Ikeda
as Yoshioka
Henry Kyi
as Pu Chieh, Age 7
Basil Pao
as Prince Chun
Martin Reynolds
as Englishman
Vivian Wu
as Wen Hsiu
Wu Tao
as Pu Yi (15 years)
Lisa Lu
as Tzu Hsui, The Empress Dowager
Hideo Takamatsu
as Gen. Ishikari
Hajime Tachibana
as Japanese Translator
Constantine Gregory
as Oculist
Xu Chunqing
as Grey Eyes
Wu Jun
as Wen Hsiu (12 years)
Lucia Hwong
as Lady of the Book
Wu Hai
as Republican Officer
Chen Shu
as Chang Chinghui
Akira Ikuta
as Japanese Doctor
Michael Vermaaten
as American
Matthew Spender
as Englishman
Chen Kaige
as Capital of Imperial Guard
Lisa Lu
as Tzu Hsui, The Empress Dowager
Wu Tao
as Pu Yi (15 years)
Martin Reynolds
as Englishman
Matthew Spender
as Englishman
Michael Vermaaten
as American
Akira Ikuta
as Japanese Doctor
Wu Jun
as Wen Hsiu (12 years)
Basil Pao
as Prince Chun
Xu Chunqing
as Grey Eyes
Chen Shu
as Chang Chinghui
Hajime Tachibana
as Japanese Translator
Constantine Gregory
as Oculist
Lucia Hwong
as Lady of the Book
Wu Hai
as Republican Officer
Hideo Takamatsu
as Gen. Ishikari
Vivian Wu
as Wen Hsiu

Crew

Bernardo Bertolucci
Director
Jeremy Thomas
Producer
Enzo Ungari
Screenwriter
Bernardo Bertolucci
Screenwriter
Mark Peploe
Screenwriter
Vittorio Storaro
Cinematographer
Ryuichi Sakamoto
Composer (Music Score)
David Byrne
Composer (Music Score)
Su Cong
Composer (Music Score)
Gabriella Cristiani
Editor
Ferdinando Scarfiotti
Production Designer
Gianni Giovagnoni
Art Director
Maria Teresa Barbasso
Art Director
Gianni Silvestri
Art Director
Franco Giovale
Associate Producer
Joyce Herlihy
Associate Producer
James Acheson
Costume Designer
Ivan Sharrock
Sound/Sound Designer
Gino de Rossi
Special Effects
Giannetto De Rossi
Special Effects
Nicola Pecorini
Camera Operator
Ulrike Koch
Casting
Joanna Merlin
Casting
Howard Brandy
Publicist
Fabrizio Sforza
Makeup
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