Emmanuel “Manny” Dapidran Pacquiao, Filipino boxer and politician, dedicated his first return to the ring since his knockout loss last December to the victims and survivors of Typhoon Haiyan. His fight against Brandon Rios in Macao, his first on Chinese soil, will be beamed back to big screens all over the Philippines, including the hardest-hit regions and islands.

In honor of the brave spirit of the people of the Philippines and those who had fought for them, one could watch Corregidor (1943), a two-part story about the valiant yet doomed effort of the combined American-Filipino forces to hold out against the Japanese immediatly post-Pearl Harbor on a small island guarding the entrance to Manila Harbor. The film stars Otto Kruger and Elissa Landi as idealistic doctors who marry and try to save lives amidst the battle, and William Jenks among the soldiers.

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Payoff In The Pacific (1960) chronicles these dramatic events in documentary form, and (among other WWII footage) also includes a mention of the Bataan Death March and General Douglas MacArthur’s triumphant return in 1944, honoring the heartfelt promise to his men and the Filipino people that he had made two years before. As has happened with more than their share of disasters both natural and political in the past century, the Filipino people have proven themselves tough, hopeful and resilient, and worthy of the deepest admiration. WATCH NOW

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In honor of the old warrior Pacquiao himself, I might suggest a gladiator classic. In fact, Two Gladiators (1964), an Italian production starring Richard Harrison as Lucius Crassus, a Roman soldier with a ‘secret blow’ who falls out with his ‘brother’ Emperor Commodos (played by Mimmo Palmara). A highly entertaining picture, this is an obvious influence on Ridley Scott’s Gladiator (2000), where Russell Crowe and Joaquin Phoenix essentially reprise the key roles (with a few changes of course).

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