6 Notable Screenplays by National Artist Ricky Lee you should watch

Jul 21, 2022 0 comments


Recently, the Filipino screenwriter, journalist, novelist, and playwright, Ricardo “Ricky” Lee was hailed as the first scriptwriter National Artists of the Philippines for Film and Broadcast Arts. Lee shared this honor along with two notable women in the Philippine Film Industry, actress Nora Aunor and late director Marilou Diaz-Abaya.

As a screenwriter, Lee has worked with a lot of prominent Filipino directors and constitutes more than a quarter of the Philippine Cinema’s Second Golden Age in the ‘80s, that even the prominent works of the ‘90s also belong to him. Many of his award-winning films have also been screened in international film festivals, including Cannes, Toronto, and Berlin, among others.
To honor our newly minted National Artist, here’s a rundown of Ricky Lee’s notable screenplays for highly praised films.

Moral (1982)

Directed by Marilou Diaz-Abaya, Moral is one the Filipino coming-of-age drama films written by Ricky Lee and known for being a part of the Philippine Cinema’s Second Golden Age. It is the second film in a loose trilogy of feminist films by Diaz-Abaya and Lee, which discusses serious issues about women. The film stars Lorna Tolentino, Gina Alajar, Sandy Andolong, and Anna Marin. Moral follows the lives of these four women several years after they graduated from college and their attempts to resolve their individual problems, that I must say, are still relevant in today’s generation.

Himala (1982)

Directed by Ishmael Bernal, Himala is also written by Ricky Lee. Starring the National Artist, Nora Aunor, Himala is centered on the issues of religious faith and faithlessness, morality, and truth. In a recent interview with Unang Hirit, Lee stated that this award-winning film Himala went through a lot of rejections before it was finally picked up. However, this rough journey has led Himala to be one of the highest grossing Filipino films in the 1980s and garnered multiple awards, including “Best Screenplay” and “Best Picture” in the 1982 Metro Manila Film Festival.
"Walang himala! Ang himala ay nasa puso ng tao, nasa puso nating lahat! Tayo ang gumagawa ng mga himala! Tayo ang gumagawa ng mga sumpa at ng mga diyos..." who cannot forget those iconic lines? #Classic

Labs Kita…Okey Ka Lang? (1998)

“Oh yes, kaibigan mo ko! Kaibigan mo lang ako. And that’s all I ever was to you Ned. Your bestfriend… And I’m so stupid to make the biggest mistake of falling in love with my bestfriend…” remember that line? Of course, you do!
Directed by Jerry Lopez Sineneng, this iconic Filipino romantic-comedy film is written by the one and only, Ricky Lee. Starring Jolina Magdangal and Marvin Agustin aka the perfect ‘90s loveteam, this film follows the story of Ned and Bujoy's friendship that blossoms into love when they start to date other people.

Anak (2000)

Who wouldn’t forget about the iconic iyakan scene with the star for all seasons, Vilma Santos in Anak? Anak is a critically acclaimed award-winning Filipino film, directed by Rory Quintos and also written by Ricky Lee. This film revolves around the story of Josie, a mother who’s desperate to piece back the broken fragments of her shattered family, after being an overseas Filipino worker in an abusive employer. What makes Anak remarkable? It’s the story, the natural portrayal of love, acceptance, and healing within a Filipino family, a timeless story that even our generation today can relate to.

Culion (2019)

Directed by Alvin Yapan, Culion is a historical drama film written by, again, our legendary National Artist, Ricky Lee. This film is set in the 1940s, and tells the story of three women seeking a cure of leprosy. The name derives from the eponymous island in Palawan once known as a major leper colony. Starring Iza Calzado, Jasmine Curtis-Smith, and Meryll Soriano, this film follows the story of these three women who are trying to fight the stigma of their illness while redefining their roles as women, mothers, friends, and human beings.

Gumapang Ka Sa Lusak (1990)

This ‘90s Filipino classic action crime movie directed by Lino Brocka is also written by Ricky Lee, starring Dina Bonnevie, Christopher De Leon, Eddie Garcia, and Charo Santos-Concio. The film has garnered several awards including the “Best Screenplay” (Pinakamahusay na Dulang Pampelikula) in the 1991 Gawad Urian Awards. Gumapang Ka sa Lusak portrays the glitz and evils of society, politics, corruption, and the disastrous world of the elites.
With nearly five decades in the film industry, Lee has created over 180 scripts, various best-selling Filipino books, and the acclaimed screenwriting manual, “Trip to Quiapo” that is used in introductory film courses all over the country. Through the Philippine cinema, television, and literature, Ricky Lee has truly touched our lives with his stories, and we can’t thank him enough for inspiring us.
Congratulations on your success, Sir Ricky Lee! 
━━ Written By  Karla Maginit
━━  Art By

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