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José Rizal (1998)

TV-PG | | Biography, Drama, History | 25 July 1999 (USA)
Jose Rizal's life and works are recounted through a series of non-linear flashbacks which reflect on various aspects of his life - as writer, propagandist, lover, friend, brother, doctor, and the man that inspired a revolution.


Marilou Diaz-Abaya


Ricardo Lee (screenplay), Jun Lana (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
44 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Cesar Montano ... José Rizal
Joel Torre ... Ibarra / Simoun
Jaime Fabregas ... Luis Taviel de Andrade
Gloria Diaz ... Teodora Alonso
Gardo Versoza ... Andres Bonifacio
Monique Wilson Monique Wilson ... Maria Clara
Chin Chin Gutierrez ... Josephine Bracken
Mickey Ferriols ... Leonor Rivera
Pen Medina ... Paciano Mercado
Peque Gallaga ... Archbishop Bernardo Nozaleda, OP
Bon Vibar Bon Vibar ... Blanco
Subas Herrero ... Alcocer
Tony Mabesa ... Polavieja
Alexis Santaren Alexis Santaren ... Olive
Chiqui Xerxes-Burgos Chiqui Xerxes-Burgos ... Father Villaclara (as Chiqui Xeres Burgos)


Jose Rizal's life and works are recounted through a series of non-linear flashbacks which reflect on various aspects of his life - as writer, propagandist, lover, friend, brother, doctor, and the man that inspired a revolution.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


What matters death if one dies for what one loves, for native land and cherished ones?


TV-PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »




Release Date:

25 July 1999 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Jose Rizal See more »


Box Office


PHP 80,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

GMA Films See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The role of Jose Rizal was initially offered to Aga Muhlach. See more »


José Rizal: Ikinulong nila, pinatay nila, hinukay sa libingan, itinapon; ganyan ang ginawa ng iyong mga kababayan sa karangalan at kasaysayan ng aking mga kalahi!
Luis Taviel de Andrade: Hindi naman siguro ganoon kasama ang lahat Senor Rizal...
José Rizal: Ilang taon ka na ba rito sa Pilipinas Taviel?
Luis Taviel de Andrade: Bakit?
José Rizal: Pareho ba tayo ng nakikita? O meron kang ayaw makita?
See more »


Marcha de Cadiz
(Courtesy of the Instituto Cervantes)
Arranged by Chino Toledo
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User Reviews

If not the best depiction of the famed hero, "Jose Rizal" is a great example of a grand Philippine epic.
30 December 2015 | by thependragonscribeSee all my reviews

Happy Rizal Day to everyone! And as a special tribute to the national hero of my home country and hometown, here is an updated overview of the 1998 epic biopic, which I once considered the "best film of Philippine cinema".

It is overwhelming to realize the influence that this film brought to the country. In obvious reasons, it comes from the understanding of the famed hero and his exploits. "Jose Rizal" then succeeded on interpreting Rizal's life story. As it should be, this film is a helpful module for students and others who have yet to know about Rizal.

But glancing over that, others may seem to overshadow its slight faults. Though technically, "Jose Rizal" did excellently in its attempts to depict a Spanish-occupied Philippines, with its authentic sets, still cinematography, blend of sounds and images, and Marilou Diaz-Abaya's excellent direction. Its execution is nearly pitch perfect. Though it has to be set back by the story.

Nothing offensive to the story. In fact, in a roaring 178 minutes, you feel the Rizal's story coming to life. The backdrop is Rizal's imprisonment in Fort Santiago, and the rest of his story was shown in flashback. Best parts were definitely intertwining Rizal's monologues with excerpts from his novels "Noli Me Tangere" and "El Filibusterismo". Though the effort was excellent, the attempt was too tight to depict Rizal as a "chosen one" on a hero's journey. And the end result is the movie going by the numbers to properly tell Rizal's story and the rising of the Philippine revolution. At the end, screenwriters Ricky Lee, Jun Lana and Peter Ong Lim had done a fine job, bringing Rizal's life, piece by piece. A minor complaint, I could have expect more grand from Rizal and more emphasis on its surrounding crucial history. There was indeed more material than what was depicted. But helpfully, the film respects its audience's receiving thoughts. The saving grace, thankfully, is Cesar Montano, who had done a magnificent work portraying the titular hero in a stilted yet affectionate manner. He really deserves honor in what I can call his signature movie role. The cast ensemble of familiar faces of local showbiz provide gravitas needed for every sequence. But the standout is definitely Jaime Fabregas as Rizal's defendant, Luis Taviel de Andrade. The ensemble acts this out like a three-act play but it was worth sitting through.

Just applauding the excellence that "Jose Rizal" achieved makes it reasonable that other Philippine biopics used its templates for theirs. (See "Baler" and "El Presidente".) Beneath all that, I am going to claim that "Jose Rizal" may not be the best film that the Philippines has to offer. But it was a stepping stone in excellence for the local film industry. Thanks Ms. Diaz-Abaya.

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