10 Best Filipino Movies of All Time

Filipino Films or Pinoy Films has never managed to draw as much attention as other industries around Asia, at least not yet. While the Korean and Japanese film industries have continuously flourished, we can’t say the same about the Philippines. I personally feel that the Pinoy Film Industry was at the peak of its powers during 70’s and 80’s.

It has often times been called ‘corny’ or ‘predictable’ or simply lacking ‘originality’.  But that does not mean though that there are no good films that are coming out from the country right now. A few number of films have played the grandest film festivals such as Cannes and have been very well received.

Especially recently, with films like Herneral Luna, Ma’ Rosa, Motherland etc the industry seems to be picking momentum back up again. In this article we are listing down the best Filipino movies ever made (till 2017).


10. Alpha Kappa Omega Batch ’81 (1982)

A 1982 Philippine dramatic film Directed by Mike de Leon that follows 7 neophytes striving to enter a Greek Letter Fraternity. The sadomasochistic initiation rituals are dangerous and violent. We see the film from the eyes of a neophyte character named Sid Lucero. The film was screened at the Director’s Fortnight at the Cannes Film Festival in 1982.

The film is a strong metaphor for the ugly face of fascism. De Leon uses the initiation rituals as symbols of metaphor of Philippines under Ferdinand Marcos.  The members are stripped off their individual rights, while going through public humiliation and torture. It is gripping and thrilling but mostly, it is an important film.


9. Oro, Plata, Mata (1982)

Oro, Plata, Mata is a 1982 film directed by Peque Gallaga, from a screenplay written by Jose Javier Reyes. The film is set in the province of Negros during the second world. It follows two families struggle and learn to survive during the Japanese occupation in the Philippines.

Gallaga’s film is a landmark in the history of Philippine cinema.  The film is structured in three parts that depict this pattern played out in the lives of the main characters. It showcases the comfortable life in the cities and then gradually moves on to the changes brought by the war.


8. Kisapmata (1981)

Kisapmata is a 1981 psychological horror film directed by Mike De Leon. It was inspired by the 1961 article “The House on Zapote Street”, which was later republished in Joaquin’s non-fiction book, Reportage on Crime (1968). The film was groundbreaking and received unanimous critical acclaim. The film is about her daughter who tries to escape her incestuous household.

The Incest in the film was one of the earliest in the Philippines cinema.  Kasapmata is dark and brutal, but at the same time powerful and skilful.  It cemented De Leon’s name as one of the greatest Filipino directors.


7. The Blossoming of Maximo Oliveros (2005)

The Blossoming of Maximo Oliveros is a 2005  Filipino coming of age film. It follows a young gay teen(Maxi) from the slums who is in love with a young cop. Maxi is torn between his love for the young cop and his loyalty in his family. The film was the official entry of the Philippines to the 79th Academy Awards.

The superb direction from Auraeus Solito brings to life the blunt and honest writing of Michiko Yamamoto. The cinematography is well done and captures the setting impeccably. The newcomer Nathan Lopez delights as the flamboyantly gay Maxi and will keep you smiling.


6. Himala (1982)

Another film from the early 80’s. Himala is a 1982 drama film directed by Ishmael Bernal. In 1983, became the first Filipino film to be included in the “Competition Section” of the Berlin International Film Festival. Since then, Himala has been exhibited in a number of film festivals around the world. The film follows Elsa (a young village girl) who exhibits miraculous healing power and causes a hysteria in a poor isolated village.

Nora Aunor as the lead of the film is brilliant in her performance and will raise the hair on your arm. The film is well written and directed and is regarded as one of the best Filipino films ever made.

Read More: Chinese Movies

Add comment