Esteemed film scholar Joel David commissioned a poll of best Pinoy films until 1989 when he was still teaching at UP Diliman. His class sent out invitations to leading filmmakers and critics and got back 28 responses. We have recomputed the tally using the point system we used for the 2013 poll. For ranked films, we assigned 10 points for number 1, 9 points for number 2, and so on. For unranked films, we assigned 5 points for each film. Listed below are the top 50 (with our brief thoughts) and the individual ballots.

 

50 GREATEST PINOY FILMS UNTIL 1989

1              Maynila sa mga Kuko ng Liwanag (Lino Brocka, 1975) 112 points

2              Ganito Kami Noon… Paano Kayo Ngayon? (Eddie Romero, 1976) 85 pts

3              Anak Dalita (Lamberto Avellana, 1956) 71 pts

4              Manila By Night (Ishmael Bernal, 1980) 67 pts

5              Kisapmata (Mike de Leon, 1981) 62 pts

6              Insiang (Lino Brocka, 1976) 58 pts

7              Biyaya ng Lupa (Manuel Silos, 1959) 57 pts

8              Himala (Ishmael Bernal, 1982) 50 pts

9              Nunal sa Tubig (Ishmael Bernal, 1976) 46 pts

10            Oro Plata Mata (Peque Gallaga, 1982) 43 pts

11            Jaguar (Lino Brocka, 1979) 40 pts

12            Moral (Marilou Diaz-Abaya, 1982) 38 pts

13            Tinimbang Ka Ngunit Kulang (Lino Brocka, 1974) 36 pts

14            Itim (Mike de Leon, 1976) 34 pts

15            Noli Me Tangere (Gerardo de Leon, 1961) 30 pts

16            Salome (Laurice Guillen, 1981) 29 pts

17            Hinugot sa Langit (Ishmael Bernal, 1985) 28 pts

18            El Filibusterismo (Gerardo de Leon, 1962) 26 pts

19-20      Badjao (Lamberto Avellana, 1957) 25 pts

19-20      Burlesk Queen (Celso Ad. Castillo, 1977) 25 pts

21-22      Daigdig ng mga Api (Gerardo de Leon, 1965) 24 pts

21-22      Sawa sa Lumang Simboryo (Gerardo de Leon, 1952) 24 pts

23            Hanggang sa Dulo ng Daigdig (Gerardo de Len, 1958) 23 pts

24            Minsa’y Isang Gamugamo (Lupita Concio-Kashiwahara, 1976) 21 pts

25-27      Batch ’81 (Mike de Leon, 1982) 20 pts

25-27      Sakada (Behn Cervantes, 1976) 20 pts

25-27      Sisa (Gerardo de Leon, 1951) 20 pts

28-29      Miguelito: Ang Batang Rebelde (Lino Brocka, 1985) 18 pts

28-29      The Moises Padilla Story (Gerardo de Leon, 1961) 18 pts

30            Sister Stella L. (Mike de Leon, 1984) 17 pts

31-32      Genghis Khan (Manuel Conde, 1950) 16 pts

31-32      Tatlong Taong Walang Diyos (Mario O’Hara, 2003) 16 pts

33-34      Bona (Lino Brocka, 1980) 14 pts

33-34      Sanda Wong (Gerardo de Leon, 1955) 14 pts

35-36      Brutal (Marilou Diaz-Abaya, 1980) 13 pts

35-36      Virgin Forest (Peque Gallaga, 1985) 13 pts

37            Kundiman ng Lahi (Lamberto Avellana, 1959) 12 pts

38-39      Kakabakaba Ka Ba? (Mike de Leon, 1980) 11 pts

38-39      Scorpio Nights (Peque Gallaga, 1985) 11 pts

40-42      Boatman (Tikoy Aguiluz, 1984) 10 pts

40-42      Ligaw na Bulaklak (Ishmael Bernal, 1976) 10 pts

40-42      Relasyon (Ishmael Bernal, 1982) 10 pts

43-44      Bayan Ko: Kapit sa Patalim (Lino Brocka, 1985) 9 pts

43-44      Ifugao (Gerardo de Leon, 1954) 9 pts

45-47      48 Oras (Gerardo de Leon, 1950) 8 pts

45-47      Broken Marriage (Ishmael Bernal, 1983) 8 pts

45-47      Ikaw Ay Akin (Ishmael Bernal, 1978) 8 pts

48-49      Geron Busabos: Ang Batang Quiapo (Cesar Gallardo, 1964) 7 pts

48-49      Malvarosa (Gregorio Fernandez, 1958) 7 pts

50-51      High School Circa ’65 (Maryo J. Delos Reyes, 1979) 6 pts

50-51      Higit sa Lahat (Gregorio Fernandez, 1955) 6 pts

 

QUICK THOUGHTS

Twenty-two films in the 1989 list have been replaced in the 2013 poll, with Brocka’s Jaguar (1989) showing the most notable drop (from number 10 in 1989) to getting only one vote out of 81 in the 2013 poll. Other films notably absent in the 2013 poll are Noli Me Tangere (1961, previously at number 15), Salome (1981, previously at number 16), and Fernandez’s Daigdig ng mga Api (1965) and Gerardo de Leon’s Sawa sa Lumang Simboryo (1952), both formerly number 21.

The comparison of the two lists underscores the importance of film preservation. Daigdig ng mga Api, for instance, has no known extant print, and will unfortunately never be mentioned in future film polls. Eleven of the 22 films that bowed out of the top 50 were made before 1965, and one could argue that a good number of the 2013 voters may not have seen some of these films from the First Golden Age.

If there were previously highly regarded films that failed to make the cut in the new poll, there are six films that have been existing when the 1989 poll was conducted but failed to garner even one vote that have aged well and found new admirers in the recent poll. These are:

Mababangong Bangungot (1977) at number 12,

Pagputi ng Uwak, Pag-itim ng Tagak (1978) at 31,

Bagets (1984) at 36,

Oliver (1983) at 38,

Ang Tatay Kong Nanay (1978) at 40, and

Salawahan (1979) at 45.

We’ll leave you, dear readers, to tell us the possible reasons why these films are being appreciated by film experts now than when they came out.

 

INDIVIDUAL BALLOTS

Mario Bautista

  1. Maynila sa mga Kuko ng Liwanag
  2. Nunal sa Tubig
  3. Ikaw ay Akin
  4. Minsa’y Isang Gamugamo
  5. Insiang
  6. Manila By Night
  7. Bayan Ko (Kapit sa Patalim)
  8. Sister Stella L.
  9. Bukas… May Pangarap
  10. Brutal and Moral

Mel Chionglo

  1. Jaguar
  2. Batch ‘81
  3. Bona
  4. Kisapmata
  5. Himala
  6. Salome
  7. Maynila: Sa mga Kuko ng Liwanag
  8. Oro Plata Mata
  9. Burlesk Queen
  10. Sister Stella L.

Ishmael Bernal

  1. Sisa
  2. Anak Dalita
  3. Kundiman ng Lahi
  4. Sawa sa Lumang Simboryo
  5. Tinimbang Ka Ngunit Kulang
  6. Boatman
  7. Burlesk Queen
  8. Moral
  9. Kisapmata
  10. Genghis Khan

Isagani Cruz

  1. Itim
  2. Jaguar
  3. Ganito Kami Noon
  4. Himala
  5. Manila By Night
  6. Genghis Khan
  7. Maynila: Sa mga Kuko
  8. The Moises Padilla Story
  9. Badjao
  10. Portrait of the Artist as Filipino

Nick Cruz

  1. Biyaya ng Lupa
  2. Sakada
  3. Sister Stella L.
  4. Insiang
  5. Miguelito: Ang Batang Rebelde
  6. Hinugot sa Langit
  7. Batch ‘81
  8. Himala
  9. Broken Marriage
  10. Ganito Kami Noon

Petronilo Bn. Daroy

  1. Genghis Khan
  2. Nunal sa Tubig
  3. Manila By Night
  4. Ganito Kami Noon
  5. Anak Dalita
  6. Oro Plata Mata
  7. Orapronobis
  8. Insiang
  9. Hubad na Bayani
  10. Sawa sa Lumang Simboryo

Joel David

  1. Manila By Night
  2. Moral
  3. Ganito Kami Noon
  4. Malvarosa
  5. Maynila: Sa mga Kuko
  6. Sa Atin ang Daigdig
  7. Miguelito: Ang Batang Rebelde
  8. Kakabakaba Ka Ba?
  9. Virgin Forest
  10. Himala
  11. Orapronobis

Vic Delotavo

  1. Daigdig ng mga Api
  2. Hanggang sa Dulo ng Daigidig
  3. El Flibusterismo
  4. Noli Me Tangere
  5. Ifugao
  6. Sanda Wong
  7. Dyesebel
  8. Medalyong Perlas
  9. Bicol Express
  10. Sawa sa Lumang Simboryo
  11. Ganito Kami Noon
  12. Oro Plata Mata
  13. Insiang
  14. Pahiram ng Isang Umaga

Marilou Diaz-Abaya

  1. Manila By Night
  2. The Moises Padilla Story
  3. Tinimbang Ka Ngunit Kulang
  4. Kisapmata
  5. Moral
  6. Ganito Kami Noon
  7. Badjao

Justino Dormiendo

  1. Maynila: Sa mga Kuko ng Liwanag
  2. Nunal sa Tubig
  3. Salome
  4. Kisapmata
  5. Oro Plata Mata
  6. El Filibusterismo
  7. Daigdig ng mga Api
  8. Biyaya ng Lupa
  9. Insiang
  10. Badjao

Butch Francisco

  1. Oro Plata Mata
  2. Kisapmata
  3. Manila By Night
  4. Hinugot sa Langit
  5. Maynila: Sa mga Kuko
  6. Ganito Kami Noon
  7. Anak Dalita
  8. Batch ‘81
  9. Biyaya ng Lupa
  10. Relasyon

Christian Ma. Guerrero

  1. Burlesk Queen
  2. Maynila: Sa mga Kuko
  3. Ganito Kami Noon
  4. Biyaya ng Lupa
  5. Anak Dalita
  6. Oro Plata Mata
  7. Himala
  8. Insiang
  9. Itim
  10. Aguila
  11. Virgin Forest
  12. Misteryo sa Tuwa

Laurice Guillen

  1. Sisa
  2. The Moises Padilla Story
  3. Insiang
  4. Oro Plata Mata
  5. Salome
  6. Biyaya ng Lupa
  7. Kisapmata
  8. Ifugao
  9. Anak Dalita
  10. Burlesk Queen

Mario Hernando

  1. Anak Dalita
  2. Biyaya ng Lupa
  3. Maynila: Sa mga Kuko
  4. Manila By Night
  5. Ganito Kami Noon
  6. Sister Stella L.
  7. Batch ‘81
  8. Kisapmata
  9. Nunal sa Tubig
  10. Bayan Ko (Kapit sa Patalim)

Jose F. Lacaba

  1. Daigdig ng mga Api
  2. Anak Dalita
  3. Sawa sa Lumang Simboryo
  4. Nunal sa Tubig
  5. Himala
  6. Insiang
  7. Ganito Kami Noon
  8. Salome
  9. Brutal
  10. Bona

Marra PL. Lanot

Bona
Brutal
Himala
Hinugot sa Langit
Inay
Jaguar
Kung Mangarap Ka’t Magising
Sakada
Tatlong Taong Walang Diyos
Tinimbang Ka Ngunit Kulang

Nick Lizaso

  1. Noli Me Tangere
  2. Tatlong Taong Walang Diyos
  3. Himala
  4. Itim
  5. Ganito Kami Noon
  6. Badjao
  7. Anak Dalita
  8. Oro Plata Mata
  9. Kisapmata
  10. Nunal sa Tubig

Bienvenido Lumbera

  1. Maynila: Sa mga Kuko
  2. Nunal sa Tubig
  3. Ganito Kami Noon
  4. Kisapmata
  5. Noli Me Tangere
  6. Isumpa Mo, Giliw
  7. Kundiman ng Lahi
  8. Biyaya ng Lupa
  9. Kadenang Putik
  10. Bayan Ko (Kapit sa Patalim)

Antonio Mortel

  1. Minsa’y Isang Gamugamo
  2. Badjao
  3. Anak Dalita
  4. Noli Me Tangere
  5. Kisapmata
  6. Itim
  7. Himala
  8. Oro Plata Mata
  9. Ito ang Pilipino
  10. Isang Araw Walang Diyos

Tezza O. Parel

  1. Himala
  2. Moral
  3. Jaguar
  4. Maynila: Sa mga Kuko
  5. Itim
  6. High School Circa ‘6five
  7. Kakabakaba Ka Ba?
  8. Kisapmata
  9. Broken Marriage

Raul Regalado

Boatman
Burlesk Queen
Kakabakaba Ka Ba?
Ganito Kami Noon
Manila By Night
Maynila: Sa mga Kuko
Moral
Private Show
Scorpio Nights
Virgin Forest

Eddie Romero

  1. Tinimbang Ka Ngunit Kulang
  2. Kisapmata
  3. Manila By Night
  4. Moral
  5. Scorpio Nights
  6. Maynila: Sa mga Kuko
  7. Hinugot sa Langit
  8. Salome
  9. Tatlong Taong Walang Diyos
  10. Paradise Inn

Armida Siguion-Reyna

  1. Insiang
  2. Maynila: Sa mga Kuko
  3. Miguelito: Ang Batang Rebelde
  4. Hinugot sa Langit
  5. Virgin Forest
  6. Brutal
  7. Relasyon
  8. Bayan Ko (Kapit sa Patalim)
  9. High School Circa ‘6five
  10. Working Girls

Agustin Sotto

  1. Ligaw na Bulaklak
  2. Sanda Wong
  3. 48 Oras
  4. Geron Busabos: Ang Batang Quiapo
  5. Hanggang sa Dulo ng Daigdig
  6. Juan Tamad Goes to Congress
  7. Luksang Tagumpay
  8. P1,000 Kagandahan
  9. Apat na Taga
  10. Jack and Jill
  11. ROTC
  12. Sino’ng Maysala?
  13. Cofradia
  14. Dyesebel
  15. Badjao
  16. Giliw Ko
  17. Ibong Adarna

Nicanor G. Tiongson

  1. El Flibusterismo
  2. Ganito Kami Noon
  3. Maynila: Sa mga Kuko
  4. Insiang
  5. Jaguar
  6. Broken Marriage
  7. Anak Dalita
  8. Himala
  9. Moral
  10. Oro Plata Mata
  11. Sisa

Nestor U. Torre

El Filibusterismo
Ganito Kami Noon
Itim
Manila By Night
Maynila: Sa mga Kuko

Raquel N. Villavicencio

  1. Tinimbang Ka Ngunit Kulang
  2. Maynila: Sa mga Kuko
  3. Biyaya ng Lupa
  4. Badjao
  5. Sakada
  6. Ganito Kami Noon
  7. Minsa’y Isang Gamugamo
  8. Jaguar
  9. Itim
  10. Insiang

Romeo Vitug

  1. Biyaya ng Lupa
  2. Anak Dalita
  3. Hanggang sa Dulo ng Daigdig
  4. Sawa sa Lumang Simboryo
  5. Insiang
  6. Relasyon
  7. Salome
  8. Burlesk Queen
  9. Paradise Inn
  10. Karnal