City of God

January 3, 2002 0 By Fans
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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

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


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

15 miles from paradise…one 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


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

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

Technical Specs


(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.


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.