José Rizal (film)

This article is about the 1998 film. For the Filipino national hero, see José Rizal.
José Rizal
Directed by Marilou Diaz-Abaya
Produced by Gilberto Duavit
Felipe Gozon
Menardo Jimenez
Written by Ricky Lee
Jun Lana
Peter Ong Lim
Starring Cesar Montano
Joel Torre
Jaime Fabregas
Gloria Diaz
Gardo Versoza
Pen Medina
Mickey Ferriols
Music by Nonong Buencamino
Cinematography Rody Lacap
Edited by Jess Navarro
Manet Dayrit
Distributed by GMA Films
Release dates
June 12, 1998 (as part of the Philippine Centennial celebrations)
December 25, 1998 (theatrical release)
Running time
175 minutes
Country Philippines
  • English
  • Filipino
  • Spanish
  • German
Budget 80 million (estimated)
Box office ₱96 million

José Rizal is a 1998 Filipino biographical film of the Filipino national hero José Rizal directed by Marilou Diaz-Abaya and starring Cesar Montano as José Rizal.

At the time of its release, it was the most expensive film in the history of Filipino cinema with a budget of over 80 million. The film was an official entry to the 1998 Metro Manila Film Festival. Upon release, the film met universal critical acclaim.


José Rizal was imprisoned in Fort Santiago under the abusive Spanish colonization. Meanwhile, in Balintawak, Andrés Bonifacio and his fellow secret organization of Katipunan commenced the uprising against the tyranny created by the Spaniards by tearing their cedula as a sign of Spanish slavery.

Soon, a first lieutenant of the Artillery, Luis Taviel de Andrade, visited Rizal. Taviel de Andrade did not waste time to study carefully Rizal's case. In just a short period of time, Rizal and Taviel captured each other's sympathy and eventually became friends as they had usual meetings in Rizal's cell in Fort Santiago. Taviel was even able to celebrate Christmas with Rizal in the cell where they drank pan get and sang together.

After Christmas, Rizal was sent to the Royal Audiencia, the colonial court of appeal, to hear the trial against him. Soon after, the magistrates decided to condemn him under firing squad on the 30th of the morning in Luneta.

At the night before the execution, Rizal hallucinates, seeing his alter egoprotagonist, Simoun, from his novel El Filibusterismo tempting him to change the climax of the novel.

On the morning of his execution, his kin receives a small alcohol stove (not a gas lamp as commonly portrayed) from his cell containing the last poem "Mi Ultimo Adios". Stopping at the place of execution facing the rising sun, Rizal requested the authorities for him to face the firing squad, but the request was denied. Calm and without haste, he requested to have his head spared instead and the captain agrees. At the moment the shooting squad points at his back, he readily uttered his final words: Consummatum est ("It is done").

In the events following Rizal's execution, members of the Katipunan begin their armed uprising, completely catching the Spanish forces off guard and seized their mounts, munitions and their rifles. They had also captured a church and executed a friar in an act of vengeance. Bonifacio and his top generals met in their headquarters to plan a new offensive seeking to capture ten towns in a duration of one week from the Spaniards. Rizal's picture can be seen at the background of his headquarters.


Rizal's family:

The Spaniards:

The Jesuits:

  • Chiqui Xerxes-Burgos as Father José Villaclara, S.J.
  • Shelby Payne as Father Estanislao March, S.J.
  • Minco Fabregas as Father Francisco de Paula Sanchez, S.J.

The Filipinos:

Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo characters:

In Europe:

  • Jesus Diaz as Spanish medical professor
  • Karl Meyer as Belgian printer

Awards and nominations

The film has been screened and ran in competition in different film festivals worldwide and included in the Official Selection for Panorama in the Berlin International Film Festival (1998). It also won 2nd runner-up in the Audience Award of the Toronto Filmfest and the Chicago International Film Festival.


The series was released onto DVD-format and VCD-format by GMA Records.

See also


    External links

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