Top Movies Set During the Filipino American War

Movies that depict stories during war times were mostly based on history. World War I, World War II, the Vietnam War, and the Filipino-American War were just some of history’s well-known wars that movies were based on. War movies are quite tedious to produce since they need to be accurate with the details they are using. That’s also the reason why most schools tend to use them as educational materials – the historical accuracy they provide is almost the same as textbooks.

Philippine-American War

From 1899 to 1902, a war broke out between the Filipino revolutionaries and the American people. When a shooting erupted just a few miles outside Manila, they discovered that there were Filipino casualties in the hands of American soldiers. Aguinaldo then issued the proclamation of war against the United States on February 4, 1899. The United States didn’t show any second thoughts against the Philippines. U.S reinforcements were immediately sent out to the Philippines. On the other hand, while General Antonio Luna was leading the Philippine army – distrust started to build up between him and Aguinaldo. Jealousy and misinformation lead to the assassination of Luna on March 31, 1899. As the Philippines lost their highest-ranking General, Malolos was later then captured by the U.S military. In March 1900, the Second Philippine Commission was established by U.S President William McKinley. It was said to form a civil government for the Philippines; thus, the reiteration of the goal was made clear to William Howard Taft.

As the Philippines kept losing foothold, they were forced to retreat unstrategically, which later ended with the capture of Emilio Aguinaldo on March 23, 1901. With Aguinaldo’s capture, he pledged to cooperate with the United States – however, the guerilla campaigns continued in the nearby provinces of Manila. U.S troops made troops kept on retaliating until Filipino General Miguel Malvar finally surrendered. The clash between the U.S and the Philippines officially ended on July 4, 1902. But remaining guerillas fought to death until 1906.

Movies Set During the Philippine-American War

Wars will always have their fair share of world history. With movies based on these wars accounts for the few entries that transpired during those dark days. So if you’re looking for something to watch that is related to the infamous Philippine-American war, you can refer to the list we’ve made.

  1. Amigo: This movie is set in a small village in Luzon during the Philippine-American war. This film revolves around the captain of the small village, Rafael Dacanay. When his brother, Simon, arrived in the village, he made the Spanish Guardia civil surrender. He then tasked Rafael to imprison the captain of the Guardia civil and the Friar, Padre Hidalgo. Unfortunately, the American troops that were chasing Emilio Aguinaldo arrived. Upon their arrival was the release of the imprisoned Captain and Spanish friar. Rafael is now in a dilemma between the Americans and Filipino patriots. If he doesn’t resolve this properly, deadly consequences await him.
  2. Heneral Luna: This is about the historical accounts of General Antonio Luna during the Philippine-American war. This also served as a tribute to the heroic acts of the late General Luna. He was always known for his short temper and being a remarkable strategist. The film tackled sensitive topics regarding politics that still made a mark to this day. Though garnering criticisms from left and right, it also gained a lot of fans for the unorthodox storytelling. This is a must-see for anyone who wants to see perspectives of the war.
  3. Tirad Pass: The Story of Gen. Gregorio Del Pilar: The Battle of Tirad Pass was one of the known battles during the Philippine-American war. The fight was led by two great commanders; Brigadier General Del Pilar and Major Peyton. Del Pilar fought against Peyton’s troops to cover Aguinaldo’s retreat, thus resulting in his death alongside 51 Filipino soldiers. The accounts told in the movie is deadly accurate. If you are trying to piece up the Philippine-American war, you should put this on your list.

Some Honorable Mention:

  • El Presidente: The life story of the first Philippine President, Emilio Aguinaldo, and his fight against the Spaniards.
  • Angelito: The story two days after the assassination of Heneral Luna

Written History

These movies will always remind us about the tragic backstory that the Philippine ancestors have experienced. Learning a thing or two about the movies and the history written within them will allow us to see perspectives that are still relevant today. As they say, history repeats itself. Though without as much bloodshed as before, we can hardly say how everything will play out.