Dekada '70 (film)

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Dekada '70 (The ’70s) is a 2002 Filipino drama film directed by Chito S. Roño and it is based on the acclaimed novel by Filipino author, Lualhati Bautista. Set in the 1970s, the film stars Vilma Santos and Christopher De Leon as the husband-and-wife and parents to their five sons, all living in the clutches of the New Society.

The film is now restored in high-definition by the ABS-CBN Film Archives and Central Digital Lab.


A middle-class Manila neighborhood is home to the Bartolome family. Couple Amanda Bartolome (Vilma Santos) and Julián Bartolome Sr. (Christopher de Leon) are parents to sons Julian "Jules" Bartolome Jr. (Piolo Pascual), Isagani "Gani" Bartolome (Carlos Agassi), Emmanuel "Em" Bartolome (Marvin Agustin), Jason Bartolome (Danilo Barrios) and Benjamin "Bingo" Bartolome (John Wayne Sace).


In 1965, as a young Gani was fighting with his friend while they were playing a game in the street, their mothers came by to stop the fighting and made them stay away from each other. In the streets of Manila, protests take place when the Philippines enters the Vietnam War. Five years later, Philippine president Ferdinand Marcos wins his re-election bid as president. Julián stops Amanda from looking for a job despite Amanda trying to pursue it. At dinner time, Jules and Gani speak about the upcoming Junior-Senior Promenade. At the prom, Gani tries to grope his partner but she accidentally kicks him instead. The Bartolomes get stuck in traffic in the streets on the way home from the event due to a protest with effigy burning taking place near the Legislative Building.


A protest takes place in the University of the Philippines wherein Jules with his best friend Willy (Jhong Hilario) became activists and joined a resistance movement. At the same time, Emmanuel begins writing illegal exposure and other kinds of banned literature. During the protests, the attendees sing the Philippine National Anthem, "Lupang Hinirang", with raised clenched fists and outnumbered the authorities but their efforts to make the authorities leave become futile and they retreat. Julián becomes furious when he discovers their activities, and he angrily explains to Jules and Willy about the consequences of their actions, while also revealing the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus including the enforced disappearance of the student leader Charlie del Rosario.

Gani reveals his plans to apply for a job in the US Navy to Julian but is overheard by Jules, who admonishes his actions as lack of patriotism for the Philippines. Gani furiously explains to him that working for the US government entitles one to a high salary with numerous benefits. Julián accepts the plan, thus making Gani the family's newest breadwinner. Sometime later, another protest depicts President Ferdinand Marcos acting as a lackey to Uncle Sam, and crucifying a Filipino. Bingo pulls down a flying kite and Amanda discovers that the kite is made out of an activist newspaper. Julián also discovers that Jules is an activist and he sneaks up to his room to check his rebellious pamphlets. He convinces that when Marcos was not yet a president in the past, the government signed a treaty between the United States, and the Philippines has no other choice but to recognize that treaty.


Marcos declares martial law on nationwide television, as well as imposing nighttime curfews in order to round up anyone suspected of being a terrorist or communist to be imprisoned. The change of events resulted in interrogations, tortures, and deaths. Gani accidentally impregnates his girlfriend Evelyn (Dimples Romana) and her sleeping in Gani's room was discovered by Amanda. Two police cars escort the Bartolomes to Evelyn's house. At the house, Evelyn's father speaks to the Bartolome couple before blackmailing Gani into marrying her.

Days after the wedding, they have an argument for being the Bartolome's figure of shame. Jason shows his mother the report card wherein his grades lowered. But despite that, he convinces that during the first period, there was a high value of time. Jules came home late and confessed to his family that Willy had been tortured to death for staying past curfew. He later reveals his plan to travel to Bicol for an exposure/field trip to join the communist group NPA despite mother's opposition.


Evelyn gives birth to a baby girl wherein she and Gani stay together for a few days. Sometime later, Gani leaves for the United States via Subic Bay after his enlisting at the US Navy while Evelyn returned to her family. Emmanuel plans to Bataan for his research article writing and interview about the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant but Julián furiously opposes as the former is a possible target for roundup due to Martial Law and the presence of soldiers. However, Emmanuel continues his plan and leaves for Bataan the next day while the Bartolome family went to the beach two days later.

Jules brought a wounded friend home to have a bullet extracted from his leg, as bringing him to a hospital would arouse too much suspicion. A few days later, he began to hangout with Emmanuel but the following day, Jules left the house again realizing that he cannot stay there for long. Bingo celebrates his birthday with a party in the Bartolome household until night. After two months of not returning home, Jules was revealed to have been married to fellow NPA member Mara (Ana Capri) with a baby boy. On one night, the family burns Jules' anti-government pamphlets out of fear of being arrested by authorities outside their house compound, who turn out to be a harmless group of carolers.


In 1983, the Bartolome family attend the wake of Ninoy Aquino at the Santo Domingo Church in Quezon City after his assassination. Amanda begins to join a large group of activists at the Post Office Building to overthrow the Marcos regime once and for all. The Marcos regime is peacefully overthrown in 1986 when Corazon Aquino was sworn into office as president.


  • Vilma Santos as Amanda Bartolome - mother of the Bartolomes with five young sons. After discovering copies of rebellious pamphlets lying around the house, she accepts Jules' inclination to become an anti-Government winger.
  • Christopher de Leon as Julián Bartolome, Sr. - the head of the Bartolome family who wants all his children to become successful in life. Being suspicious of Jules' inclination to become an anti-Government winger, he also became convinced when they find copies of rebellious pamphlets lying around the house and supports Jules to rally against corruption in the government.
  • Piolo Pascual as Julian "Jules" Bartolome, Jr. - the first son of the Bartolomes. After Amanda and Julian discover his inclination to the resistance movement, they confronted their son about them, and he had to admit his decision. At first, conflict ensues in the family. Eventually, the parents learned to accept their son's decision, and eventually became proud of him. Since then, their home became a constant place of recreation for Jules who often brought a friend along with him. Jules was subsequently sent to prison after the said friend betrayed the family by revealing himself to be an undercover government operative. Jericho Rosales was the first choice to play Jules but had to drop out of the role in order to focus on Pangako Sa 'Yo.
  • Carlos Agassi as Isagani "Gani" Bartolome - the second child of the Bartolomes. After planning to work for the United States Navy despite Jules' objections due to the latter's lack of patriotism, Gani becomes the family's second breadwinner and their hope to raise their social status. He, however, quickly became the Bartolomes' goat (figure of shame) after the accidental pregnancy of his girlfriend Evelyn, whom he is forced to marry. He later fathers the family's first grandchild, Annaliza while working with the U.S. Navy.
  • Marvin Agustin as Emmanuel "Em" Bartolome - the third child of the Bartolomes who writes banned literature whilst maintaining a mischievous, carefree outward personality. He also heard the news of Jason's death in 1977.
  • Danilo Barrios as Jason Bartolome - the fourth child of the Bartolomes who was dating with his girlfriend Bernadette. He was killed and stabbed multiple times by corrupt policemen in 1977, his death was finally heard by his elder brother Emmanuel.
  • John Wayne Sace as Benjamin "Bingo" Bartolome - the youngest of the children. He remains calm during the 70s.
  • Kris Aquino – student leader
  • Ana Capri as Mara - the wife of Jules Bartolome
  • Dimples Romana as Evelyn - the girlfriend and later wife of Isagani Bartolome
  • Jhong Hilario as Willy - Jules' best friend and activist. He was killed by torturers in 1972.
  • Carlo Muñoz as René
  • Tirso Cruz III as Evelyn's Father - an unnamed character who is shown to be strict and only appears in two scenes; the Evelyn's household scene and the wedding scene. After Evelyn is returned to her family's household by the Bartolome couple with Isagani late one night, he pressures Isagani into a shotgun wedding after hearing of his daughter's stay with the latter.
  • Orestes Ojeda as Dr. Rodrigo
  • Asley Fontanoza – Carlos Bartolome, Jr./Caloy/Cocoy
  • Marianne de la Riva as Evelyn's Mother -an unnamed character who is shown sobbing after Evelyn's return to the household and is a witness to the shotgun wedding by the unnamed father of Evelyn.
  • Manjo del Mundo as policeman
  • Cacai Bautista as rallyist


Year Award-Giving Body Category Recipient Result
2002 Metro Manila Film Festival[1] Second Best Picture Dekada '70
Best Supporting Actor Piolo Pascual
Best Child Performer John Wayne Sace
  • Best Picture
  • Best Screenplay
  • Best Actress – Vilma Santos
  • Best Supporting Actor – Piolo Pascual
  • Best Actress – Vilma Santos
  • Best Supporting Actor – Piolo Pascual
  • Best Screenplay – Lualhati Bautista
FAP/Luna Awards
  • Best Actress – Vilma Santos
  • Best Supporting Actor – Piolo Pascual
  • Best Production Design
  • Best Film
  • Best Director – Chito Roño
  • Best Actress – Vilma Santos
  • Best Actor – Christopher de Leon
  • Best Supporting Actor – Piolo Pascual
Young Critics Circle
  • Best Film
  • Best Director – Chito Roño
  • Best Screenplay – Lualhati Bautista
  • Best Performers – Vilma Santos and Piolo Pascual
  • Best Sound
25th Catholic Mass Media Awards
  • Best Film
Cinema One's RAVE Awards
  • Best Film
  • Best Performance – Vilma Santos
Gawad Pasado
  • Best Film
  • Best Director – Chito Roño
  • Best Screenplay – Lualhati Bautista
  • Best Actress – Vilma Santos
  • Best Actor – Christopher de Leon
  • Best Supporting Actor – Piolo Pascual
CineManila International Film Festival
  • Best Actress – Vilma Santos
  • Netpack Film Awardee – Dekada '70

Critical Reception

The film has a Viewer Rating of 88 percent on Rotten Tomatoes from more than a hundred viewers.[2]


  1. "Metro Manila Film Festival:2002". IMDB. Retrieved 2014-04-09.
  2. Dekada '70 (2002). Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 15 April 2021.