The Philippines, an island country in Southeast Asia, is known for its lush forests, beaches, and over 7,000 islands, making it an incredible filming location.
From iconic films such as Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now, which was shot in a Philippine beach town, to the iconic Bourne and Marvel franchises, we’ll highlight the most iconic movies filmed in the Philippines!
Questions We’ll Answer About Movies Filmed In The Philippines:
- What Are The Most Iconic Movies Filmed In The Philippines?
The Most Iconic Movies Filmed in the Philippines
Directed by Francis Ford Coppola, Apocalypse Now is a war drama that is loosely based on Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness.
The film tells the story of how Captain Benjamin Ward (Martin Sheen) travels from Vietnam to Cambodia, on a mission to assassinate Colonel Kurtz (Marlon Brando), a renegade Army Special Forces officer.
It’s also one of the most revered films in history with two Oscar wins including a nomination for Best Picture.
While the film is largely set in Vietnam and Cambodia, the Philippines was a popular location for films set in Vietnam because of the restrictions brought about by the Vietnam war. At the time it was a much easier process to get a film made in the Philippines as compared to Vietnam or Cambodia, so the filmakers naturally chose the location that would be the least challenging to navigate.
Coppola originally planned on shooting in military locations in the United States but decided on doing it in the Philippines instead, because of the country’s access to American military equipment (there are numerous US military bases in the Philippines) as well as the country’s lush tropical landscape and jungles.
The film was mostly shot in the town of Baler, in the southern Philippine province of Aurora.
Runtime & MPAA Rating: 2h 27 min | R
IMDB Rating: 8.4/10
Directed by Oliver Stone, Platoon is another film about the Vietnam War that chose the Philipines to shoot.
Released in 1968, Platoon is the first of a trilogy by Stone and stars Willem Dafoe, Tom Berenger, Charlie Sheen, Keith David, and Kevin Dillon. The film follows the story of a US Army volunteer serving in Vietnam–based on Stone’s experiences in the war.
The film was shot on the Philippines for 54 days in 1986. It was filmed in Luzon, the country’s largest island, in the capital of Manila, and in the provinces of Laguna and Cavite.
The filming was almost canceled because 1986 was the year of the EDSA Revolution, a political upheaval that overthrew former Philippine president Ferdinand Marcos, but the crew was ultimately able to use the Philippines as a filming location.
MPAA Rating & Runtime: 120 Minutes | R
IMDB Rating: 8.1/10
Born on the Fourth of July
Following Platoon, Born On The Fourth Of Julyis the second installment of Oliver Stone’s trilogy about the Vietnam War, this time starring Tom Cruise, who plays a character based on Ron Kovic, who wrote the novel the film was based on and also served in the Vietnam war.
The film follows Ron Kovic joined the US Marine Corps in 1961 and was a marine sergeant in Vietnam who mistakenly kills Vietnamese villagers, and accidentally kills a private from his own platoon. The film tells his story of recovery, and eventual involvement in the Vietnam Veterans Against the War.
Oliver Stone returned to the Philippines once again to stand in for Vietnam in the film.
Parts of the Philippines were used for filming the battle sequences, and the country was even used for scenes that were set in Mexico.
MPAA Rating & Runtime: 2h 25min | R
IMDB Rating: 7.2/10
MAN ON THE MOON
Man on the Moon, is a biographical comedy-drama, about the late performance artist Andy Kaufman. The film stars Jim Carrey, who plays Kaufman, as well as Danny De Vito, Courtney Love, and Paul Giamatti and was directed by Milos Forman
The film is follows Kaufman’s life, from childhood to his career performing in comedy clubs and TV shows.
Kaufman is severely ill in the film and as his health deteriorates, he decides to go to the Philippines to get psychic surgery which later proved to be a hoax. For these scenes the crew shot sin Baguio City, an urban city in the Philipines known as the “Summer Capital of the Philippines.”
Runtime & MPAA Rating: 1h 58min | R
IMDB Rating: 7.4/10
THE BOURNE LEGACY
Directed by Tony Gilroy, The Bourne Legacy is the fourth installment of the iconic film series adapted from the Jason Bourne novels written by Robert Ludlum.
Unlike the other films which follows Jason Bourne himself, this film stars Jeremy Renner, who plays black ops agent Aaron Cross. The film follows the story of how the previous events from the three Bourne films affect t Aaron’s missions.
The film was filmed in a number of locations in Asia and the United States.
In the Philippines, the crew went to El Nido Palawan, a popular destination known for its beaches, tropical scenery and coral reefs. There were also multiple scenes filmed in Manila, such as the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, the Manila Yacht Club, and the train station in the city of Pasay.
Runtime & MPAA Rating: 2h 15 min | PG-13
IMDB Rating: 6.6/10
THE YEAR OF LIVING DANGEROUSLY
This Oscar winning romantic drama film, directed by Peter Weir stars Mel Gibson and Sigourney Weaver, tells the story of a group of foreign correspondents in Jakarta, Indonesia during the attempted coup by the 20 September Movement, an organization of the self-proclaimed Indonesian National Armed Forces members who staged a coup d’etat, which assassinated six Army generals.
The filmmakers originally set the shooting in Jakarta but their proposal was denied which brought them instead to the Phillipines.
The most notable filming locations include the Quiapo district, known as the Old Downtown of the capital of Manila; and the Banaue Rice terraces (in the mountains of Ifugao province), which is dubbed the “Eigth Wonder of the World.”
Runtime & MPAA Rating: 1h 55min | PG
IMDB Rating: 7.1/1