8.6/10
586,820
831 user 216 critic

City of God (2002)

Cidade de Deus (original title)
Trailer
0:59 | Trailer

Watch Now

From $1.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

ON DISC
Two boys growing up in a violent neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro take different paths: one becomes a photographer, the other a drug dealer.

Directors:

, (co-director)

Writers:

(novel), (screenplay)
Reviews
Popularity
490 ( 24)
Top Rated Movies #21 | Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 66 wins & 38 nominations. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  

A former neo-nazi skinhead tries to prevent his younger brother from going down the same wrong path that he did.

Director: Tony Kaye
Stars: Edward Norton, Edward Furlong, Beverly D'Angelo
Comedy | Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  

When an open-minded Jewish librarian and his son become victims of the Holocaust, he uses a perfect mixture of will, humor and imagination to protect his son from the dangers around their camp.

Director: Roberto Benigni
Stars: Roberto Benigni, Nicoletta Braschi, Giorgio Cantarini
Se7en (1995)
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  

Two detectives, a rookie and a veteran, hunt a serial killer who uses the seven deadly sins as his motives.

Director: David Fincher
Stars: Morgan Freeman, Brad Pitt, Kevin Spacey
The Pianist (2002)
Biography | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  

A Polish Jewish musician struggles to survive the destruction of the Warsaw ghetto of World War II.

Director: Roman Polanski
Stars: Adrien Brody, Thomas Kretschmann, Frank Finlay
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  

A sole survivor tells of the twisty events leading up to a horrific gun battle on a boat, which began when five criminals met at a seemingly random police lineup.

Director: Bryan Singer
Stars: Kevin Spacey, Gabriel Byrne, Chazz Palminteri
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.7/10 X  

A criminal pleads insanity after getting into trouble again and once in the mental institution rebels against the oppressive nurse and rallies up the scared patients.

Director: Milos Forman
Stars: Jack Nicholson, Louise Fletcher, Michael Berryman
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  

Mathilda, a 12-year-old girl, is reluctantly taken in by Léon, a professional assassin, after her family is murdered. Léon and Mathilda form an unusual relationship, as she becomes his protégée and learns the assassin's trade.

Director: Luc Besson
Stars: Jean Reno, Gary Oldman, Natalie Portman
Fight Club (1999)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.8/10 X  

An insomniac office worker, looking for a way to change his life, crosses paths with a devil-may-care soap maker, forming an underground fight club that evolves into something much, much more.

Director: David Fincher
Stars: Brad Pitt, Edward Norton, Meat Loaf
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  

A young F.B.I. cadet must receive the help of an incarcerated and manipulative cannibal killer to help catch another serial killer, a madman who skins his victims.

Director: Jonathan Demme
Stars: Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, Lawrence A. Bonney
Crime | Drama | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  

The lives of guards on Death Row are affected by one of their charges: a black man accused of child murder and rape, yet who has a mysterious gift.

Director: Frank Darabont
Stars: Tom Hanks, Michael Clarke Duncan, David Morse
Goodfellas (1990)
Biography | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.7/10 X  

The story of Henry Hill and his life in the mob, covering his relationship with his wife Karen Hill and his Mob partners Jimmy Conway and Tommy DeVito in the Italian-American crime syndicate.

Director: Martin Scorsese
Stars: Robert De Niro, Ray Liotta, Joe Pesci
Pulp Fiction (1994)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.9/10 X  

The lives of two mob hit men, a boxer, a gangster's wife, and a pair of diner bandits intertwine in four tales of violence and redemption.

Director: Quentin Tarantino
Stars: John Travolta, Uma Thurman, Samuel L. Jackson
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Zé Pequeno - Li'l Zé (as Leandro Firmino da Hora)
Phellipe Haagensen ...
...
...
Matheus Nachtergaele ...
...
Mané Galinha - Knockout Ned
Jefechander Suplino ...
Alicate - Clipper
...
Emerson Gomes ...
Barbantinho - Stringy
Edson Oliveira ...
Michel de Souza ...
Bené Criança - Young Benny (as Michel De Souza Gomes)
Roberta Rodrigues ...
Luis Otávio ...
Maurício Marques ...
Cabeção - Melonhead
Edit

Storyline

Brazil, 1960s, City of God. The Tender Trio robs motels and gas trucks. Younger kids watch and learn well...too well. 1970s: Li'l Zé has prospered very well and owns the city. He causes violence and fear as he wipes out rival gangs without mercy. His best friend Bené is the only one to keep him on the good side of sanity. Rocket has watched these two gain power for years, and he wants no part of it. Yet he keeps getting swept up in the madness. All he wants to do is take pictures. 1980s: Things are out of control between the last two remaining gangs...will it ever end? Welcome to the City of God. Written by Jeff Mellinger <jeffmellinger@astound.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Based on a true story. See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong brutal violence, sexuality, drug content and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

13 February 2004 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

City of God  »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$3,300,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$541,996 (Brazil), 30 August 2002, Limited Release

Opening Weekend USA:

$114,442, 19 January 2003, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$7,563,397, 20 June 2004

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$18,062,482, 6 November 2003
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

|

Sound Mix:

|

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The views in black and white taken from satellite, about the new territories controlled by Zé Pequeno, show the real City of God. See more »

Goofs

When the Tender Trio are running away into the woods after they crashed into a neighbor's house, Shaggy says that Goose messed up his ankle but it's actually Clipper. Goose's ankle is fine. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Zé Pequeno: Whoa, the chicken ran away. Get that chicken, dude!
See more »

Crazy Credits

The closing credits shows pictures of the main actors, their name, their character's name and pictures of the real life characters (for the ones based on existing people). See more »

Connections

References Rio 40 Graus (1955) See more »

Soundtracks

Metamorfose Ambulante
Written by Raul Seixas
Performed by Raul Seixas
Warner Chappell Edições Musicais Ltda
Used by permission from Universal Music Ltda
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Tall and Tan and Young and Packing
26 April 2004 | by See all my reviews

'What are you doing, you're just a kid?' "I steal, I kill, I carry a gun, how can I be just a kid? I am a man."

Many who visit Brazil the first time, tend to view Brazilians as lacking serious ambition. They seem to party the night away, and appear to seldom work. The old joke about Brazilians is that they have breakfast at 2:00 in the afternoon.

But such a narrow view does not take into account the fact that while we in America work to live, sweating away for pennies which the government steals at every turn, they in Brazil Live to Live. It is a different kind of living, a life that sambas with the vibrance of the swaying palm and the bounding drum. A life that understands that we are only on this earth for a cup of cafezinho, and we should have fun while we can before the end comes, but quick.

But as the City of God also shows us, Brazilian life is often nasty, brutish and short. A certain degree of anarchy overshadows all the denizens of the film. But Director Fernando Meirelles takes a situation lacking definite boundaries and clear authority, and creates a framework, a structure, that of Gang Rule. The gang-members are not seasoned, old-time criminals like Fredo Corleone or even Tony Montana. Instead, they are a bunch of sweet-faced kids. No one is older than 25, partly because of choice, but mainly because no one lives past this age.

On the surface, in this context, City of God is a coming of age story of two young people, a sort of Brazilian "Angels With Dirty Faces.' One character escapes from the City of God, while the other succumbs to it.

But when one scratches beneath, one finds the film a comment on the morally bankrupt City of God in Rio De Janeiro, and a mirror on Brazil itself. Far away from the party hopping, Travel and Leisure postcard perfect white beaches, is another world, one of marauding bands of displaced children.

The most surprising thing about City of God is its references to American films. Most Brazilian films, as the films of all countries do, owe allegiance to their own particular cultural situation. Brazil owes a cultural debt to Europe (Portugal, Germany, Italy) and Africa. However, the United States has a far more distant cultural relationship to Brazil. That is where City of God triumphs to me an American film goer. It uses the chapter format made famous in Pulp Fiction and more recently, Kill Bill. It uses the familial structure present in Goodfellas. It uses the 'white-suit cool' present in Miami Vice and the Bacardi and cola ads from the preview before this very movie.

The fact that City of God can be subtitled Grand Theft Auto: Sao Paolo, is not a surprise nor a mistake. The film is built like a video game in its use of random acts of violence. But the fluid perfect camera work and editing give way to a film with enormous contradictions. Contradictions as large and as vast as the noble country itself.

Stylistically, the camera work does not conform to its premise as a gangster film. A gangster film never looked this good. It is as if the camera is released in the wide open beaches, and kicked around like one of Ronaldinho's headers. It starts on the sand and moves steadily across. It picks up on the story but then heads into the sun. It then leaves us, the film-viewer, with the most indelible image in years as we see Sonia Braga (A world icon and sex symbol of Brazil)'s niece, sitting on the sun-drenched coast putting her arm around another young boy. The innocence conveyed in this scene is something to behold. It literally takes your breath away.

You see the slamming of different, competing themes. You see the subtlety and tranquility of the beach, smashed into scenes of battered youths dying on city streets. You see a wealth of hypnotic ambiguous images pulled together, much like the very Culture of Brazil itself.


213 of 357 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?
Review this title | See all 831 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Watch the Latest Episode of "The IMDb Show"

Paul Scheer lets us in on a secret in The Disaster Artist and answers your questions. Plus, we explore the origins of midnight movies and take a look at IMDb's Top 10 Stars of 2017.

Watch the show