- Awesome Music: The score composed by David Byrne, Ryuichi Sakamoto and Cong Su. Especially the main theme.
- Fridge Horror: 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...
- Les Yay: Empress Wan Rong and one of the Japanese ladies in Manchuria, Dongzhen/Eastern Jewel aka Yoshiko Kawashima.
- Tear Jerker: The scene with 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, he finds one of the prison wards (and the only one who treated him well) being given an Humiliation Conga for not following the Cultural Revolution's rules. Seeing Pu-Yi attempt to 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.
- The Woobie: Pu-Yi. Full stop.
- Jerkass Woobie: His Character Development revolves around him taking responsibility for being made a puppet emperor for an imperialist regime and accepting his responsibility in enabling their war crimes.