In his almost five decades in the local movie industry, Fernando Poe, Jr. had starred in approximately 300 films, in which some were written, directed, and produced by him at the same time. Thus, he was bestowed the title King of Philippine Movies, from which his moniker "Da King" was derived.
Although his rise to being the country’s perennial box office king was gradual, FPJ eventually had those blockbuster box-office hits that truly touched audiences to the core, even making an indelible mark in Philippine cinema.
Here are some of FPJ’s top-grossing films that truly made a lasting impact to Filipinos from all walks of life.
Isusumbong Kita Sa Tatay Ko (1999)
Helmed by renowned director Boots Plata, this was the first and only FPJ movie produced and distributed by Star Cinema. Being the first-ever Filipino-produced film to have exceeded the P100-million mark in box-office gross on the end-run, it earned the multi-hypenated artist and his leading lady, then-teen actress Judy Ann Santos, the titles Box Office King and Queen from the Guillermo Mendoza Memorial Scholarship Foundation Awards.
It followed the beautiful and happy relationship of a widower named Berting (FPJ) and his tomboyish teenage daughter Joey (Judy Ann) that dwindled with the sudden appearance of his childhood friend Beth (Aileen Damiles), who the latter thought was a threat to their bond.
Directed and written by revered filmmaker Eddie Romero, this narrated the life of the Aguila family, headed by the elderly and former military officer Daniel Aguila (FPJ), which traverses from 1896 Philippine Revolution up to the 70s.
Based on the article published on Philippine Panorama in 1980, the film "took 12 stars, 60 production staff and crewmen, seven thousand extras, 120 different locations, and 100 days to film 204 pages of script".
It also starred Amalia Fuentes, Christopher de Leon, Elizabeth Oropesa, Eddie Garcia, Jay Ilagan, Chanda Romero, Charo Santos, Daria Ramirez, Celia Rodriguez, Orestes Ojeda, Susa Valdez, Sandy Andolong, and Johnny Delgado.
Roman Rapido (1983)
A tale of bravery and heroism during the Japanese invasion and the post Japanese era, this film showcased Da King's flair in action and doing stunts. This was helmed by Argel Joseph.
Isang Bala Ka Lang (1983)
One of the flicks directed, produced, and led by FPJ, this chronicled the life of the virtuous cop Berting who got convicted and jailed for 12 years for avenging his wife's death. He swore to avoid trouble and live a peaceful life with his daughter Angela (Julie Vega), but the prevalence of crimes pushed him to break his own promise.
Marianne Dela Riva and Paquito Diaz were also among the cast.
Ang Probinsyano (1997)
Da King used the pseudonym "Ronwaldo Reyes" when he produced, directed, and wrote this film wherein he starred as the twin lead roles Ador and Cardo de Leon.
This narrated the journey of the provincial police chief Cardo in assuming the identity of his fallen twin brother to seize the drug syndicate and corrupt policemen responsible for Ador's death.
It also starred Dindi Gallardo, Amanda Paige, Amado Cortez, Janus del Prado, Zandro Zamora, Romy Diaz, and Berting Labra.
It has since been adapted into the nation’s top-rating TV program, FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano, starring Coco Martin.
Ang Panday (1980)
An action-fantasy flick based on the fictional comics character of the same name created by Carlo J. Caparas, this followed the adventure of a lowly blacksmith named Flavio (FPJ) who was able to emancipate his townsfolks under the tyranny of Lizardo (Max Alvarado) with the help of a magical dagger he meticulously molded out of a meteorite landed near their home.
It had three sequels -- Ang Pagbabalik ng Panday, Ang Panday: Ikatlong Yugto, and Ang Panday: Ikaapat na Aklat -- all shown during the Metro Manila Film Festival.
Batas Ng Lansangan (2002)
Directed and top-billed by Da King, this told the story of Army Major Ruben Medrano (FPJ) who, after being suspended because of the unfortunate incident during their operation as an anti-kidnapping task force, decided to renew his ties with his daughter Marissa (Kaye Abad) while staying in Manila. His supposed vacation got disturbed when he discovered the presence of drug lords in their area and meddled with their operations. This ensued to an intense war between him and the ruthless gangsters.
Kahit Konting Pagtingin (1990)
This is arguably one of the most remarkable films starred by Da King because of headlining it with the Megastar Sharon Cuneta.
It narrated the lovely romance between Delfin (FPJ), a bodyguard and driver for the beautiful actress Georgia (Sharon). Although he was warned not to get involved with but only protect her, he wasn't able to control his feelings towards her and secretly fell in love with her.
Ricky Davao, Rey "PJ" Abellana, Paquito Diaz, Bing Loyzaga, and Dencio Padilla were among the supporting roles, and it was directed by Pablo Santiago.
Epimaco Velasco: NBI (1994)
Based on the life story of former NBI Director-turned-politician of the same name who rose to prominence by killing the number one Most Wanted Man in Cavite Leonardo Manecio a.k.a. Nardong Putik. The titular character was portrayed by FPJ, while the main antagonist was by Roy Alvarez.
It was helmed by Edgardo Vinarao and featured Charlene Gonzales, Tirso Cruz III, Jess Lapid Jr., Bob Soler, Zandro Zamora, Romy Diaz, and Dick Israel.
Muslim Magnum .357 (1986)
This masterpiece surely brought him closer to the hearts of our Muslim friends as he took on his FAMAS Award-winning role of a Muslim undercover police officer named Lt. Jamal Razul whose assistance was sought by a Manila police chief in capturing the leader of a big and vicious syndicate.
Vivian Foz, Eddie Garcia, Romy Diaz, Paquito Diaz, Max Alvarado, Ruel Vernal, and Jaime Fabregas were part of the ensemble.
Bato Sa Buhangin (1976)
Another collaboration with Director Pablo Santiago, this film made us laugh with the funny shenanigans of Bamba (Vilma Santos), a rich girl who sought the help of a fortune-teller to know who would be the love of her life, and the humble taxi driver Rafael (FPJ) she bumped into one fateful day, and thrilled us with their unlikely romance.
It was produced by Da King and cast Dencio Padilla, Philip Salvador, and Rowell Santiago in the supporting roles.
The last work of the National Artist for Film before he ventured to politics and his painful death in 2004, this sports-oriented movie was helmed by respected director Tony Y. Reyes.
He was joined by Filipino pool legend Efren "Bata" Reyes to tell the story of two complete strangers Nanding Escalante (FPJ) and Manuel Dimayuga (Efren) who was bound by their fervor for playing billiards and their goal of earning money out of it.
They were joined by January Isaac, Candy Pangilinan, Tiya Pusit, Oyo Boy Sotto, Toni Gonzaga, Johnny Delgado, Dick Israel, Romy Diaz, Rico J. Puno, and Ai Ai Delas Alas.
FPJ's memory and legacy would forever be engraved in our hearts through his works.