* AwesomeMusic: The score composed by [[Music/TalkingHeads David Byrne]], [[Music/YellowMagicOrchestra Ryuichi Sakamoto]] and Cong Su. Especially the main theme.
* FridgeHorror: In the Director's Cut, we see a scene where a young peasant girl is forced to abandon her own infant in order to become Pu Yi's wet nurse. Who then is feeding ''her'' child? The viewers don't see any money pass into her family's hands so we don't know if they're being taken care of or not. Sure hope her infant doesn't starve to death...
** In real life Pu-yi eventually met the wet nurse's infant as an adult, realizing the great personal sacrifice the woman he cared so much for did for him. So at the very least, that baby was historically ok.
* JerkassWoobie: Pu-Yi starts as a woobie, becomes a huge jerk (to say it ver, VERY politely), then little by little he returns to woobie state. His CharacterDevelopment revolves around him taking responsibility for being made a puppet emperor for an imperialist regime and accepting his role in enabling their war crimes.
* TearJerker: All right, the whole movie is ''a big, giant tear''. To wit:
** The scene with [[spoiler:Pu-yi's ghost.]]
** The audience just spent 2 hours watching Pu-Yi's tumultous life and the tour guide summarizes his life in 3 sentences.
** There's the scene where, after Pu-Yi's release, [[spoiler:he finds one of the prison wards (and the only one [[PetTheDog who treated him well]]) being given a completely undeserved HumiliationConga for not following the Cultural Revolution's rules.]] Seeing Pu-Yi attempt to [[spoiler:tell the Red Guard in charge that the ward's a good man]], only to be called a crazy old man and pushed away, is ''harrowing''...
** When little Pu-Yi is separated from his nanny, and when he learns what happened to his mother.