14 user 35 critic

Manila in the Claws of Light (1975)

Maynila sa mga kuko ng liwanag (original title)
Júlio Madiaga, a 'provinciano', arrives in Manila to search for Ligaya, his loved one.


Lino Brocka


Edgardo Reyes (novel), Clodualdo Del Mundo Jr. (screenplay)
9 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Hilda Koronel ... Ligaya Paraiso
Bembol Roco ... Julio Madiaga (as Rafael Roco Jr.)
Lou Salvador Jr. Lou Salvador Jr. ... Atong
Joonee Gamboa ... Omeng
Pio De Castro III Pio De Castro III ... Imo
Danilo Posadas Danilo Posadas ... Benny
Joe Jardi Joe Jardi ... Frank (as Joseph Jardinazo)
Spanky Manikan ... Gido
Edipolo Erosido Edipolo Erosido ... Eddie
Pancho Pelagio Pancho Pelagio ... Mr. Balajadia
Purita Yap Purita Yap ... Nanay
Josephine Gutierrez Josephine Gutierrez ... Kapatid ni Ligaya
Gina Zegui Gina Zegui ... Kapatid ni Ligaya
Ronnie Magalong Ronnie Magalong ... Kapatid ni Ligaya
Anna Marie Nicolas Anna Marie Nicolas ... Batang Ligaya


Julio Madiaga, a simple fisherman from the province, travels to Manila to find Ligaya, the woman he loves, after she went away with a mysterious woman promising a better future in the City. When he arrives, he becomes immersed in the city lifestyle and gets involved with its inhabitants experiencing extreme poverty, hard luck, and the overbearing need to grind for daily sustention. While Julio relentlessly searches for Ligaya, the city changes him little by little, becoming like an animal doomed to live only for survival in a wild jungle with no way out. Written by Terrence16

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Mystery


TV-14 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


This film is in the Official Top 250 Narrative Feature Films on Letterboxd. See more »


Pol: A girl who's used to dried fish will be thrilled with smoked fish. But give a girl smoked fish when she's used to ham and it's all-out war. Poor girls are easy to please.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The end credits are shown in black text over plain white background. See more »


Features King of Kings (1961) See more »

User Reviews

A Good Movie About The Class Struggle
23 September 2019 | by bobliptonSee all my reviews

Bembol Roco has come to Manilla to search for his girlfriend, Hilda Koronel. She was recruited to work in a factory in the big city, but there has been no word, so Roco has followed to look for her. He finds it a topsy-turvy place, where the poor are generous and the rich claim to have no money. As he gradually comes to get on his feet, he makes friends, some false ones who merely wish to use him, and a few who wish to help him.... and whoinform him she has almost certainly been recruited for the sex trade.

Lino Brocka's movie portrays Manilla as a ugly place. He also tells his story very efficiently, with Roco's young, blank face a perfect canvas for the Kuleshov Effect. I did not find anything particularly novel in this movie, causing me to wonder why it's on S.J. Schneider's list of '1001 movies you must see before you die.' I'll speculate it's because of its political message and he wanted to have one movie from the country on the list. It's good, but not spectacular.

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Filipino | Tagalog | English

Release Date:

16 July 1975 (Philippines) See more »

Also Known As:

The Nail of Brightness See more »

Filming Locations:

Binondo, Manila, Philippines See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Cinema Artists See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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