Famous Hollywood Films Shot in the Philippines

From time to time, we see Philippines movies shot entirely in other countries. What is surprising is learning that a Hollywood film producers had chosen Philippines as their main or one of their shooting locations. Remember Jeremy Renner and Rachel Weisz of the ‘The Bourne Legacy’? Little did we know that there already several Hollywood films which have chosen to shoot here.


the bourne legacy 2012


Before yours truly give you the rundown of these Hollywood movies, let’s start the discussion why foreign producers love to shoot here.

1) Language barrier is virtually non-existent. The majority of the Filipinos speaks the English language.

2) Ideal locations are a plenty; the former US base included. The Philippines is an archipelago with 7,100 islands.

3) Non-union towns and municipalities. The country has the lowest labor costs thus, filmmakers can save up to 80% of the costs while filming for 16 hours or more daily.

4) Supportive local filming communities. The filming industry is more than willing to lend a helping hand as well as local actors and actresses.

5) Superb acting abilities. The local actors are multi-awarded in different parts of the globe.


Now, for the films…

Apocalypse Now (1979)

apocalypse now 1979

Main actors: Marlon Brando, Robert Duvall and Martin Sheen

Filmed by Francis Ford Coppola, the movie is set in Vietnam. However, the actual film location was Baler Bay. The movie even featured the Ifugao’s ritualistic slaughter of a water buffalo as a part of their annual celebrations which Coppola filmed in situ.


Born on the 4th of July (1989)

born on the 4th of july 1989

Main actor: Tom Cruise

Director and Producer Oliver Stone decided to shoot the film in the Philippines due to the unstable relation of the US to Vietnam. The film was mostly shot in Ilocos Sur and Ilocos Norte wherein the latter was depicted as Vietnam. Vigan, on the other hand, was represented as Mexico.


The Year of Living Dangerously (1982)

the year of living dangerously 1982

Main actors: Mel Gibson and Sigourney Weaver

Directed by Peter Weir, the love story was set in Indonesia at the time when President Sukarno was overthrown. Most scenes were shot in the Philippines since the production’s permission to shoot the film in the country was denied.


Platoon (1986)

platoon 1986

Main actors: Tom Berenger, Willem Dafoe and Charlie Sheen

‘Platoon’ is an American war film directed by Oliver Stone. The Philippines is depicted as Vietnam, and shooting locations include Quezon, Laguna and Cavite. The production outfit was able to secure the use of the local military equipment as per the approval of the then-President Ferdinand Marcos. The shoot, which started with a two-week training, lasted for 54 days.


Brokedown Palace (1999)

brokedown palace 1999

Main actors: Claire Danes, Kate Beckinsale and Bill Pullman

With Jonathan Kaplan at the helm, the American drama film is about two friends who were imprisoned in Thailand due to drug smuggling charges. Since the film is about the weaknesses and limitations of the Thai legal system, the producer chose Manila to shoot majority of the scenes although panoramic views were shot in Bangkok.


An Officer and a Gentleman (1982)

an officer and a gentleman 1982

Main actors: Richard Gere, Debra Winger, Louis Gossett, Jr.

Directed by Taylor Hackford, most of the first part of this American drama film has Subic Bay as its main location. The title of the film is an old expression common in the navy and military. The story revolved around a US Navy aviation officer candidate who got into conflict with his drill instructor hence ‘conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman’.



It was reported in March 2014 that the creators of ‘Gundam’ Yoshiyuki Tomino partners with Legacy Effects for the live action movie. Rumors spread that they are ‘seen scouting locations in the Philippines.’ Both kept mum regarding the news or whether they are actually working on the movie.

Another report escalated in April 2014 that the live action movie ‘Lupin III’ will be shot in the Philippines as well although this is a confirmed report. However, the film had secretly been rolling since October 2013 and ended December 2013. So, saying it will be shot in the Philippines is a mistake categorically since it had already been shot.


Sources: MyNewDesk.com | KarlZada.Hubpages.com | Fanart.tv