* 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? We 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...
* TearJerker: The scene with [[spoiler:Pu-yi's ghost.]]
** We just spent 2 hours watching Pu-Yi's tumultous life and the tour guide summarizes his life in 3 sentences.
** And 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 an HumiliationConga for not following the Cultural Revolution's rules.]] Seeing Pu-Yi attempt to [[spoiler:tell the Red Guard that the ward's a good man]], only to be called a crazy old man and pushed away...
** When little Pu-Yi is separated from his nanny, and when he learns what happened to his mother.
** All right, the whole movie is ''a big, giant tear''. Damn you, Bertolucci. Damn you, John Lone.
* TheWoobie: Pu-Yi. Full stop.
** JerkassWoobie: His CharacterDevelopment revolves around him taking responsibility for being made a puppet emperor for an imperialist regime and accepting his responsibility in enabling their war crimes.