Main Content

Last Emperor [WS] [Criterion Collection] [DVD] [1987]


Item Added.View List

Add to List

    No lists found. Create one today.
    Add Item
    Cardmember Offers


    Ratings & Reviews

    Overall Customer Rating:
    84% of customers would recommend this product to a friend (5 out of 6)

    Special Features

    • Restored High-Definition digital transfer, supervised and approved by cinematographer Vittorio Storaro
    • Audio Commentary featuring Director Bernardo Bertolucci, Producer Jeremy Thomas, Screenwriter Mark Peploe, and Composer-actor Ryuichi Sakamoto
    • Theatrical Trailer
    • Plus: A booklet featuring an essay by critic David Thomson


    The Last Emperor
    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 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

    Cast & Crew

    • John Lone
      John Lone - Pu Yi as an Adult
    • Joan Chen
      Joan Chen - Wan Jung, "Elizabeth"
    • Peter O'Toole
      Peter O'Toole - Reginald Johnston, "R.J."
    • Image coming soon
      Ying Ruocheng - The Governor
    • Victor Wong
      Victor Wong - Chen Pao Shen

    Customer rating

    Rating 3.8 out of 5 stars with 6 reviews

    would recommend to a friend
    • Rating: 1 out of 5 stars

      Just Keep Waiting


      Anyone with an interest in this remarkable film has known that since making it to home video, ANY transfer embodiment of it has been woefully inadequate. The latest Blu Ray release is, unfortunately, no exception. The audio transfer remains hollow and soulless. The video transfer looks derived from a 4th generation LaserDisc. Unfortunately, this masterpiece has yet to be perfected for home viewing. Just keep waiting. Perhaps after those responsible for this latest home video blasphemy see the poor returns, they'll finally decide to forego raw profitability and do justice to what still remains one of the most beautiful films ever made. Blu Ray is here! ... and we're all still waiting for it in The Last Emperor.

      No, I would not recommend this to a friend

    • Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

      Well Done Movie, Expensive Criterion Dvd


      I thought 'The Last Emperor' was a well done film. It's not the type of movie I'd watch repeatedly, but for those who haven't seen it, I'd recommend doing so. As for this Criterion dvd set, it's loaded with everything a die-hard fan could want, but it's also quite expensive, so I'd only recommend purchasing this to those who consider this one of their all time favorites.

      I would recommend this to a friend

    • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

      Excellent teaching tool


      This film is great when teaching modern Chinese history. The film covers many aspects of early 20th century Chinese history from the perspective of the last emperor. The 4 dvd box set allows the user the convenience of choosing different themes.

      I would recommend this to a friend

    • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

      Excellent Criterion edition worth the money.

      • Verified PurchaserVerified Purchase
      • My Best Buy® Elite MemberElite Member

      Criterion always does an excellent overall job with their complete package. This is an excellent film and I am so glad to have it on Blu-ray.

      I would recommend this to a friend

    • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

      Great scenes inside the forbidden city.

      • Verified PurchaserVerified Purchase
      • My Best Buy® MemberMember

      Watched to prep for our trip to Beijing. Did not disappoint. Great scenes inside forbidden city along with a little history.

      I would recommend this to a friend

    • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

      Good Movie


      This movie was really interesting and fun to watch.

      I would recommend this to a friend

    Product images, including color, may differ from actual product appearance.