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The Last Emperor [DVD]

John Lone , Joan Chen , Bernardo Bertolucci    Suitable for 15 years and over   DVD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)
Price: £10.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Product details

  • Actors: John Lone, Joan Chen, Peter O'Toole, Ruocheng Ying, Victor Wong
  • Directors: Bernardo Bertolucci
  • Writers: Bernardo Bertolucci, Enzo Ungari, Henry Pu-yi, Mark Peploe
  • Producers: Franco Giovale, Jeremy Thomas, John Daly
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English, Japanese
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Second Sight
  • DVD Release Date: 25 Oct 1999
  • Run Time: 160 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00004CZD6
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 40,384 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Product Description

Bernardo Bertolucci's Oscar-winning epic about the last imperial ruler of China. In 1908 the three-year-old Pu Yi is made Lord of Ten Thousand Years, but is soon forced to abdicate. He is, however, kept on as a symbolic figure and educated by an English tutor (Peter O'Toole) until he is thrown out by the new government. Now in his late twenties, Pu Yi takes his two wives to Tientsin and lives the life of a playboy.


Bernardo Bertolucci does the nearly impossible with this sweeping, grand epic that tells a very personal tale. The story is a dramatic history of Pu Yi, the last of the emperors of China. It follows his life from its elite beginnings in the Forbidden City, where he was crowned at age three and worshipped by half a billion people. He was later forced to abdicate and, unable to fend for himself in the outside world, became a dissolute and exploited shell of a man. He died in obscurity, living as a peasant in the People's Republic. We never really warm up to John Lone in the title role, but The Last Emperor focuses more on visuals than characterisation anyway. Filmed in the Forbidden City, it is spectacularly beautiful, filling the screen with saturated colours and exquisite detail. It won nine Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director. --Rochelle O'Gorman

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Early 20th century China history in a nutshell 24 Jun 2004
The movie is basically a straight-forward biopic of the last emperor of China as the name implies. What sets this Oscar winning film apart is the adept direction by Bernardo Bertolucci and his equally talented crew (especially the DP Vittorio Stararo). The colours that fill the screen is amazing. This movie has to been seen in the 70mm format in an IMAX auditorium.
Production values aside, the only flaw in this film, is the deadpan performance of John Lone. He still represents the Western archetype of Asians in the Charlie Chan and Fu Manchu style of bad acting with equally bad accented English. The movie could have been better if it had been using the authentic Mandarin language (Pu Tong Hua).
Overall, this edition is a marked improvement from its Region 1 cousin, being the presence of an audio commentary and a documentary. The Region 1 DVD that I owned was a general disappointment.
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent DVD transfer 11 Jan 2011
By Julian Hughes TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I bought the Optimum Home Entertainment Double Disc Special Edition, released in 2004. The theatrical version (DVD 1 of 2) in this set is first class. It displays with 2.35:1 aspect ratio. Other releases, including Blu-Ray, offered a cropped 2:1 ratio. The movie screened in theatres at 2.35:1 though Bertolucci later said he had intended it to be seen at 2.2:1 or 2.0:1. Personally I prefer to see it as it was shown in the cinemas, so I like this latest release (I have a 2.0:1 version as well). The earlier PAL DVD release had really horrible picture quality. This one has been remastered and the transfer to DVD is excellent. The picture quality is *flawless*. The audio is stereo AC-3.

Some drawbacks: The audio on the director's commentary is out of sync, though it doesn't really matter as the voices of the Bertolucci, Jeremy Thomas and Ryuichi Sakomoto dominate.

The "Director's Cut" on DVD 2 is no such thing. It is an extended version which was cobbled together for TV. There were reasons why that extra hour of footage didn't make it into the cinema version..... Now Bertolucci approving it being issued on DVD has led to marketing monkeys making the bogus claim that it's a director's cut. The picture quality of this extended version is lamentable, being soft, dark and extremely grainy. It would look bad under any circumstances but releasing it alongside this pristine theatrical version is inviting criticism.

This is definitely a UK PAL release, not a Europe PAL release; there are no foreign language subtitles. In fact there aren't even English subtitles for the hard of hearing.

Despite the lame second DVD and the lack of subtitles I've rated it 5 stars because the picture quality of the theatrical version in this set is as excellent as such a film deserves, which is what matters most in my opinion, and the double DVD edition didn't cost any more than a budget single disc.
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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A masterwork waiting for the right HD treatment 22 Jan 2011
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
Nothing to be said about the movie, it is just a masterpiece. But this tranfer is awful. Scene by scene comparison shows that it is not signficantly better than the upgraded dvd. Details are blurry, and the DNR is so excessive that it is distracting. Plus, following the US release, it has cropped the sides to show an artificial 2.00:1 ratio instead of the original 2.35:1 ratio. A disaster. I will not bother to return the blu ray, because it was very cheap, and the mailing would be as expensive. But, if you are reading this, do not bother to buy, stick to your DVD and wait for an HD transfer worth of this movie, as I will. IMPORTANT NOTE: this review was about the UK edition of the movie, not for the Criterion Collection edition, I don't know how Amazon got it mixed up. I am confident that the image of the Criterion edition is much better, crisp and DNR-free, as in all their releases, despite the format problem.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful Movie Depicting the end of a dynasty 14 Dec 2007
By Jay
This to me was a very powerful movie, I loved the story, and the final outcome was how it should be. Somehow we believe that Kings, Queens, Emperors etc are entitled to their power, that somehow they deserve it. This is how this emperor saw himself, he believed he was better, and above the average person, his sense of entitlement and view of reality was so perverted, that he did everything possible to retain and regain his position in life. However from the day he entered the palace he was a pawn, powerless to act, yet he never sees this. Maybe we don't all understand his re-education, but this is what makes the ending so great. There is a fantastic moral to this story. A beautiful story, sad, moving, and somehow, strangely uplifting. Highly recommended
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
I get the impression this DVD is an early example. The transfer is quite shockingly poor - especially when you compare it to more recent 2.35:1 films like Gladiator. There is a lot of edge enhancement that makes the picture seem unnatural. The compression artifacts often not seen on modern DVD transfers are often in evidence too. Yet, despite all of this the qualities of the film is well worth your money. Winner of 9 oscars tells you of its worth - but the full widescreen experience is often breathtaking and the story although often very slow (deliberate) is facinating. The DVD has two trailers (both interesting) and there are some very attractive menus (complete with the excellent soundtrack by Sakamoto and clips from the film). On a passing note, you may want to get the Region 1 version instead as it is the Directors cut and has an extra hour of footage. One of the best films ever made - but not one of the best DVDs ever.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
v good
Published 3 days ago by ingrid parkes
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Buy..
Best film ever my third copy.....
Published 2 months ago by D. Mackie
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Published 3 months ago by IAN DORAN
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
quick delivery - nice film
Published 3 months ago by uncle pete
4.0 out of 5 stars The Last Emperor
Influenced to purchase this film from you as I've recently returned from a fortnight's holiday In parts of China. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Jim Cram
5.0 out of 5 stars Good news for Amazon
Exceptional film and cannot understand why I have left it so long before watching it. I have set myself the task of owning and watching all 86 Oscar best pictures to date. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Frank Benson
5.0 out of 5 stars Pure magic
I had seen this film when It was first released but bought it to jog my memory just before a trip to China which included Beijing and the Forbidden City. It is pure magic.
Published 7 months ago by beabash
4.0 out of 5 stars "The Last Emperor" on BLU RAY - Compatibility Issues For UK Buyers On...
As you've probably gathered most of the reviews are for the 'DVD' version of “The Last Emperor". And it’s available on BLU RAY in several territories. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Mark Barry
2.0 out of 5 stars Kaufmann Seat heating Pad
To begin with it worked well but a week ago The bottom pas stopped working. The back one is OK. Can I have a replacement please.

Thank you. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Gavin Stevenson
4.0 out of 5 stars The last emporer
Innovative but slow almost turgid the story was confused and at toimes boring The important political background was understated Using Europeans to look like Chinese was a disaster... Read more
Published 12 months ago by brian cronan
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