Without a doubt, Vilma Santos is one of the bankable and best actresses in the Philippines. Dubbed as the Star for all Seasons, she is longest reigning box office queen of Philippine cinema. But of course, her movie career will not be that successful without her leading men, especially the Drama King, Christopher de Leon.
The Vilma-Boyet tandem movies started back in the mid-1970s, and as of 2004, they have made 23 movies together! As an avid fan of local movies since the early 80s, I watched almost all of them in theaters. And although I think all of them are great, below is my list of the top 10 best Vilma Santos-Christopher de Leon movies of all time, along with some movie video clips.
#10 Paano ba ang Mangarap? (1983)
Produced by Viva Films, directed by Eddie Garcia and movie adaption of a komiks novel by Nerissa Cabral, Paano ba ang Mangarap? (How is it to Dream?), Vilma and Christopher were joined by Amy Austria, the late great Jay Ilagan, and Armida Siguion Reyna. Here, Vilma played as a martyr mother, whose son was taken away from her.
I must admit, I think the story is not that complex and the entire movie was very melodramatic. Vilma did not win an acting award, but her line, “Ibalik mo sa akin si Jun Jun! Ibalik mo sa akin ang anak ko! Ibalik mo…” (Until she fell down the stairs) was so iconic, and her acting in that particular will be remembered for a very long time.
#9 Magkaribal (1979)
Produced by Regal Films and directed by Elwood Perez, Magkaribal (Rivals) is the first movie together of Vilma Santos, Christopher de Leon, and Alma Moreno, who was then a young sex goddess. The film, which did very well in the box-office, is about a woman whose closest friend for a very long time became her worst rival with her man.
The movie has daring scenes of Boyet de Leon and Alma Moreno. But then, the confrontation between Vilma and Alma convinced me that it is not a just a sexy film. In fact, this movie was rather Vilma’s career move from her sweet image to being a versatile actress. Likewise, the movie also proved that Boyet can be a great dramatic actor.
#8 Tag-ulan sa Tag-araw (1975)
Tag-ulan sa Tag-araw (Rain in Summer) is the very first movie together with Vilma and Christopher. This Celso Ad. Castillo film is about two young first cousins who fell in love with each other. Although the film did not receive any award nomination, their acting was really great, and the scenes were not made to promote immorality in a family.
I was a growing teenager when I watched this film via Betamax (Yes, that Jurassic videotape) in the early 80s. I remember crying and got confused while Nanette’s (Vilma) parents forced to separate her from her Kuya Rod (Christopher). The scene was long and continuous, and I felt the pain of two young people loving the wrong person.
#7 Ikaw ay Akin (1978)
Produced by Tagalog Ilang-ilang Productions and directed by one of the greatest local movie directors, Ishmael Bernal. Ikaw ay Akin (You are Mine) features the first movie together with Vilma, Christopher, and Superstar, Nora Aunor, who became De Leon’s first wife in real life. Incidentally, Sandy Andolong (De Leon’s second wife) was also in the film.
The film tackles the hardships of relationships and being the “other woman.” But unlike other “love triangle” films with two women fighting and exchange of harsh words against each other, Nora and Vilma being both the greatest actresses in the Philippines, only used facial expression, leaving their fans and critics wonder who the better actress was.
#6 Sinasamba Kita (1982)
Produced by Viva Films and directed by Eddie Garcia, Sinasamba Kita (I Worship You) features the love quadrangle of Vilma Santos, Christopher Deleon, Philip Salvador, and Lorna Tolentino. This movie was adapted from Gilda Olvidado’s novel in local komiks, and became a box-office hit. Eddie Garcia also won the FAMAS Best Director Award that year.
Here, I saw an anti-hero Vilma (as Divina) who was a proud, rich business executive. On the other hand, Lorna (as Nora, and yes, Nora) was very good in her role as Vilma’s younger half-sister. Lorna won the heart of Christopher (as Jerry), who happens to be dream man of Vilma. The dramatic scenes were so intense, and the script was superb.