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Last Emperor, The (1987)

The Last Emperor is a spectacular epic about China’s last emperor, Pu Yi,  who lived a cloistered life until the age of three when he was taken from his mother’s arms, carried through the night to the Forbidden City and crowned ruler of half the world’s population.

Pu Yi grew up the loneliest boy on earth, surrounded by eunuchs and ladies in waiting, but no friends except his Scottish tutor, Reginald ‘R. J.’ Johnston – a Mr Chips type played beautifully by Peter O’Toole.

He was a sad prisoner in his own palace, knowing nothing of the political revolution raging outside the walls until the age of eighteen when a corrupt warlord captured Peking and forced the ex-emperor into exile.

Pu Yi lived through decades of Communist turmoil and died in 1967 a humble and forgotten gardener.

From bewildered teenager to international playboy to a puppet ruler under the Japanese to suicidal war criminal, the multi-talented John Lone gives a sensational performance as the tragic Pu Yi, turning each chapter in his life into a movie unto itself.

From the windswept plains to the gilt-edged splendour of the Forbidden City, you see China the way no tourist ever will.

This is a staggering accomplishment in world cinema that won three Oscars including Best Film. The screenplay, direction, photography and music all combined to make The Last Emperor a powerful big-screen experience.

Undoubtedly one of the greatest historical dramas ever committed to celluloid.

Pu Yi (Adult)
John Lone
Wan Jung
Joan Chen
Reginald ‘R. J.’ Johnston
Peter O’Toole
The Governor
Ruocheng Ying
Chen Pao Shen
Victor Wong
Big Li
Dennis Dun
Ryuichi Sakamoto
Eastern Jewel
Maggie Han
Ric Young
Wen Hsiu
Vivian Wu
Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa
Ar Mo
Jade Go
Fumihiko Ikeda
Pu Yi (aged 3)
Richard Vuu
Pu Yi (aged 8)
Tsou Tijger

Bernardo Bertolucci