City of God

January 3rd, 2002


City of God

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Still of Alexandre Rodrigues in City of GodCity of GodFernando Meirelles at event of City of GodCity of GodCity of GodStill of Alice Braga and Alexandre Rodrigues in City of God

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

Release Year: 2002

Rating: 8.8/10 (238,438 voted)

Critic's Score: 79/100

Director: Fernando Meirelles

Stars: Alexandre Rodrigues, Matheus Nachtergaele, Leandro Firmino

Brazil, 1960's, City of God. The Tender Trio robs motels and gas trucks. Younger kids watch and learn well...too well. 1970's: 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. 1980's: Things are out of control between the last two remaining gangs...will it ever end? Welcome to the City of God.

Writers: Paulo Lins, Bráulio Mantovani

Alexandre Rodrigues - Buscapé - Rocket
Leandro Firmino - Zé Pequeno - Li'l Zé (as Leandro Firmino da Hora)
Phellipe Haagensen - Bené - Benny
Douglas Silva - Dadinho - Li'l Dice
Jonathan Haagensen - Cabeleira - Shaggy
Matheus Nachtergaele - Sandro Cenoura - Carrot
Seu Jorge - Mané Galinha - Knockout Ned
Jefechander Suplino - Alicate - Clipper
Alice Braga - Angélica
Emerson Gomes - Barbantinho - Stringy
Edson Oliveira - Barbantinho Adulto - Older Stringy
Michel de Souza - Bené Criança - Young Benny (as Michel De Souza Gomes)
Roberta Rodrigues - Berenice - Bernice
Luis Otávio - Buscapé Criança - Young Rocket
Maurício Marques - Cabeção - Melonhead

Taglines: 15 miles from man will do anything to tell the world everything.


Official Website: Mars Distribution (French) | Official site |

Release Date: 3 Jan 2002

Filming Locations: Cidade de Deus, Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Box Office Details

Budget: $3,300,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend: £307,177 (UK) (5 January 2003) (76 Screens)

Gross: $18,062,482 (Worldwide) (6 November 2003) (except USA)

Technical Specs

Runtime:  | Canada: (Toronto International Film Festival)

Did You Know?

When Knockout Ned ('Mané Galinha' in the Brazilian original) kills someone for the first time, some people who live in the City of God approach him and congratulate him for the killing. The first woman to talk to him was played by the mother of the real Knockout Ned.

Anachronisms: Lil' Ze is taken into custody by the police, Rocket runs after the police truck. The Police truck passes by a late - model Chevrolet S10, black, circa 2001. The movie is set in the seventies.

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

User Review

Stunning - in every sense of the word

Rating: 10/10

Cidade de Deus seems to have a lot of praise on the IMDb boards, and with good reason too. It simply is, in my opinion, one of the best contemporary films ever made.

Based on true events and characters who live in the overlooked and poverty stricken slums in the shadows of Rio de Janiero, where life expectancy doesn't reach the 30's and drug dealers are kings.

The tale of the City of God, and its myriad of characters is told by Rocket, a young man who struggles to make something of his life, other than to wind up another victim of drugs or gang wars.

Not only are the characters in City of God absolutely fascinating, and also very endearing, but also convincingly acted by groups of young and unknown actors. The stoies are well-told, and at times, funny, and at others, brutally shocking.

The cinematic style of the film gives a nod to Tarantino, with some clever time-jumping, freeze-framing, and texts indicating another chapter of the film. In every sense, a bit of a Brazillian "Pulp Fiction" or "Goodfellas", but with its own unique flavour to it.

The City of God is a marvel, and a highly recommended film to watch, but not recommended for the over-sensitive or easily distressed.


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