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

José Rizal
Jose Rizal film poster.gif
Directed byMarilou Diaz-Abaya
Produced byGilberto Duavit
Felipe Gozon
Menardo Jimenez
Written byRicky Lee
Jun Lana
Peter Ong Lim
StarringCesar Montano
Joel Torre
Jaime Fabregas
Gloria Diaz
Gardo Versoza
Pen Medina
Mickey Ferriols
Music byNonong Buencamino
CinematographyRody Lacap
Edited byJess Navarro
Manet Dayrit
Distributed byGMA Films
Release date
June 12, 1998 (as part of the Philippine Centennial celebrations)
December 25, 1998 (theatrical release)
Running time
175 minutes
  • English
  • Tagalog
  • Spanish
  • German
Budget80 million (estimated)
Box office₱125 million

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, the Katipunan, commenced the uprising against the tyranny created by the Spaniards by tearing their cedulas as a sign of freedom from the Spanish slavery.

Soon, a first lieutenant of the Artillery, Luis Taviel de Andrade, visits 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 Real 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, Crisostomo "Simoun" Ibarra, from his second book, 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, seizing their mounts, munitions and their rifles. After that, the organization captures a church and the members executes the friars in an act of vengeance. Later that night, Bonifacio and his top generals meet in their headquarters to plan a new offensive seeking to capture ten towns in a duration of one week from the Spaniards. As Bonifacio continues speaking, the film ends as the camera pans to Rizal's picture at the wall of his headquarters.


Rizal's loves:

Rizal's family:

The Spaniards:

The Dominicans:

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:

The Filipino propagandists:

  • Dennis Marasigan as Marcelo H. del Pilar
  • Mon Confiado as Mariano Ponce
  • Gregg de Guzman
  • Eddie Aquino
  • Manolo Barrientos
  • Rolando Inocencio
  • Gilbert Onida
  • Jim Pebanco
  • Troy Martino
  • Kokoy Palma
  • Richard Merck
  • Jess Evardone

Noli Me Tángere and El Filibusterismo characters:

Other characters:

  • Jesus Díaz as ophthalmology professor in Spain
  • Karl Meyer as Kalbong printer
  • LJ Moreno as Josephine Bracken's companion



The series was released onto DVD-format and VCD-format by GMA Records Home Video and distributed by Viva Video.


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.[citation needed]

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