Thursday, April 16, 2009

List of Hollywood Movies Shot in the Philippines

Last weekend, a lady friend and I were watching a Tom Cruise movie when we started arguing that the film was partially shot in the Philippines. The movie is "A Few Good Men" and what we love about it is the courtroom drama.

I knew Tom Cruise was in Ilocos Sur and Ilocos Norte. I've heard this when I was studying in college. I even remember an episode of Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho, showing Villa Angela in Vigan City where Tom Cruise stayed. They even showed the bed where he slept.

But I found out I was wrong about the movie. Though it's true Tom Cruise was in Vigan sometime in 1989, the movie he made there is "Born on the 4th of July".

Interestingly, I gathered from my research a list of Hollywood movies that were shot in our country. Here is the list.
1. Born on the 4th of July - This is a movie about a Vietnam war veteran. They wanted to shoot this in Vietnam but at that time, the relationship between this country and the US was not yet stabilized so the producer instead had it filmed in Ilocos Sur and Ilocos Norte.

Ilocos Norte was depicted as Vietnam while Vigan was depicted as Mexico.

2. Missing in Action - This is a 1984 Chuck Norris film about Vietnam war again. Laguna, Quezon and Cavite were used as locations.

3. The Year of Living Dangerously - Mel Gibson and Sigourney Weaver are the famous actors of this film. The story is about a love affair in Jakarta, Indonesia during the overthrow of President Sukarno.

As usual, Philippines was used again as Indonesia. While they were filming the movie, Mel Gibson and the other actor, Peter Weir, recieved many death threats from Filipino Muslims who believed the film was anti-Islam. The production was forced to move to Australia.

4. Platoon - This is another Vietnam war movie using Philippines as Vietnam in 1986. The lead actors are Charlie Sheen, Tom Berenger and Willem Dafoe. The shooting in the Philippines was almost canceled because at that time, the Ferdinand Marcos government wasn't stable. It was shot in Pagsanjan, Laguna, Quezon and Cavite.

5. Noriega: God's Favorite - This is a movie about a Panamanian ruler named Noriega. From that statement alone, one can conclude the Philippines is again used as Panama and South America this time. The lead actor is Bob Hoskins.

6. Thirteen Days - Making the Philippines as Cuba, Kevin Costner and Bruce Greenwood starred in this 2000 historical film. I think this movie was a flop because the budget was around 80M US dollars but the gross revenue was around 35 million US dollars only.

7. Apocalypse Now - This is a 1979 war movie by Francis Ford Coppola. It was shot in Baler, Quezon and Pagsanjan, Laguna. The filming and scouting of locations were done around 1974 up to 1977.

Cheap labor and the existing American military bases at that time are the primary reasons why the producer chose to film this in our country instead of Australia.

The actors are Martin Sheen, Marlon Brando, Harrison Ford, Robert Duvall, Albert Hall, Frederic Forrest, Sam Buttons and Laurence Fishburne.

8. Brokedown Palace - Who can't forget the controversy stirred by the actress of this film because of her comments about Manila? Claire Danes was declared persona non grata by Manila local government when she said in her interview with Vogue that "Manila is a ghastly weird city" in 1998 after the filming.

At the premiere of the film, she further remarked that the city (Manila) "smelled of cockroaches, with rats all over and that there is no sewage system and the people do not have anything-no arms, no legs, no eyes."

This movie shows a critical view of the Thai legal system so they were prevented to shot it in Thailand and had it instead in Manila. This is also a movie about friendship. I've watched this in the cinema and I did like it.

Aside from Danes, the other actors are Kate Beckinsale and Bill Pullman.

9. An Officer and a Gentleman - This time, the setting of the first part of the movie is the Philippines, in Subic Bay in particular. I haven't watch the movie yet but from the words of a friend, in fact, this movie is all about a Filipino-American boy who became a US Navy. It was played by Richard Gere.

According to Wikipedia, "the film begins with Zack Mayo (Richard Gere) receiving a graduation present from his father Byron (Robert Loggia), a brash, womanizing U.S. Navy Boatswain's Mate formerly stationed at Subic Bay in the Philippines. Mayo moved in with his father there in early adolescence when his mother committed suicide. Aloof and taciturn with repressed anger at his mother's suicide and his father's inability to properly parent him, Mayo surprises his father when he announces his aspiration to be a Navy pilot."

The other actors are Debra Winger, David Keith, Louis Gossett, Jr. and Robert Loggia.

10. Hamburger Hill - This is a 1987 Vietnam war film starred by Dylan McDermott, Steven Weber, Courtney B. Vance, Don Cheadle and Michael Boatman.

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