Nice films with stories held in São Paulo

by guisreis | created - 02 Nov 2016 | updated - 1 month ago | Public

Three other lists for Brazilian movies: Great movies about/in Rio de Janeiro Some nice Brazilian movies Best Brazilian documentaries

I have also made a list of Brazilian movies with up to three films representative of each state.

Add: "Dia estranho", from 2014, directed by Flávio Rossi, with the participation of Paulo Miklos (I give it a 7).

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1. Brainstorm (2000)

74 min | Drama

A trip to the mental institution hell. This odyssey is lived by Neto, a middle class teenager, who lives a normal life until his father sends him to a mental institution after finding drugs... See full summary »

Director: Laís Bodanzky | Stars: Rodrigo Santoro, Othon Bastos, Cássia Kis, Dani Nefussi

Votes: 4,369

2. Dirty Hearts (2011)

90 min | Drama, History, Thriller

In 1945 the war was not over in Brazil: A death squad assassinated all the Japanese immigrants who accepted defeat.

Director: Vicente Amorim | Stars: IHARA, Takako Tokiwa, Eiji Okuda, Shun Sugata

Votes: 524

3. O Homem que Virou Suco (1980)

97 min | Drama

São Paulo police mistakenly thinks a folk poet and singer is the same man who had stabbed his boss.

Director: João Batista de Andrade | Stars: Aldo Bueno, Rafael de Carvalho, Ruthinéa de Moraes, Denoy de Oliveira

Votes: 251

4. They Don't Wear Black Tie (1981)

120 min | Drama

Union leader's son doesn't want to engage in a strike, because his wife is pregnant, thus disregarding his father's tradition of political activism.

Director: Leon Hirszman | Stars: Gianfrancesco Guarnieri, Fernanda Montenegro, Carlos Alberto Riccelli, Bete Mendes

Votes: 968

5. The Second Mother (2015)

R | 112 min | Comedy, Drama

82 Metascore

When the estranged daughter of a hard-working live-in housekeeper suddenly appears, the unspoken class barriers that exist within the home are thrown into disarray.

Director: Anna Muylaert | Stars: Regina Casé, Helena Albergaria, Michel Joelsas, Camila Márdila

Votes: 11,383 | Gross: $0.38M

6. Bingo: The King of the Mornings (2017)

113 min | Biography, Comedy, Drama

Based on a true story, "Bingo" is a film about the man behind the mask. Augusto is an actor hungry for a place in the spotlight, following the footsteps of his mother, a stage artist in the... See full summary »

Director: Daniel Rezende | Stars: Vladimir Brichta, Leandra Leal, Tainá Müller, Augusto Madeira

Votes: 3,482

7. Califórnia (2015)

85 min | Drama, Romance

São Paulo, 1984. Estela gets through the troubled phase of adolescence. Sex, love, friendship; everything looks too complicated. Her personal refuge is her uncle Carlos and the trip to ... See full summary »

Director: Marina Person | Stars: Clara Gallo, Caio Horowicz, Caio Blat, Giovanni Gallo

Votes: 553

8. A Noite do Vampiro (2006)

6 min | Animation, Short

A vampire tries to sleep, but a terrible predator approaches.

Director: Alê Camargo

Votes: 10

An expressionist São Paulo! Review watch it here:

9. The Way He Looks (2014)

Not Rated | 96 min | Drama, Romance

71 Metascore

Leonardo is a blind teenager searching for independence. His everyday life, the relationship with his best friend, Giovana, and the way he sees the world change completely with the arrival of Gabriel.

Director: Daniel Ribeiro | Stars: Ghilherme Lobo, Fabio Audi, Tess Amorim, Lúcia Romano

Votes: 20,885 | Gross: $0.10M

10. Castle Ra-Tim-Bum (1999)

108 min | Adventure, Comedy, Family

A young wizard must create new spells in his magic book before the planets align. His uncle and aunt, powerful mages themselves, help him achieve that. Based on the award-winning Brazilian TV series.

Director: Cao Hamburger | Stars: Diego Kozievitch, Rosi Campos, Sérgio Mamberti, Marieta Severo

Votes: 574

11. The Year My Parents Went on Vacation (2006)

PG | 110 min | Drama

67 Metascore

A boy is left alone in a Jewish neighborhood in the year of 1970, where both world cup and dictatorship happen in Brazil.

Director: Cao Hamburger | Stars: Michel Joelsas, Germano Haiut, Daniela Piepszyk, Paulo Autran

Votes: 5,741 | Gross: $0.76M

12. Romeo & Juliet ...Get Married (2005)

Not Rated | 90 min | Comedy, Romance

A Romeo-and-Juliet kind of love affair. The difference here is what sets the two lovers apart: their soccer teams. Being a fan of Corinthians, Romeu has to fake he really likes Palmeiras, in order to gain Julieta's heart.

Director: Bruno Barreto | Stars: Luis Gustavo, Luana Piovani, Marco Ricca, Martha Mellinger

Votes: 940

13. Kiss of the Spider Woman (1985)

R | 120 min | Drama

80 Metascore

A gay man and a political prisoner are together in a prison. The gay man narrates the stories of two fake movies and his own life.

Director: Hector Babenco | Stars: William Hurt, Raul Julia, Sônia Braga, José Lewgoy

Votes: 13,297 | Gross: $17.04M

14. Friendly Fire (1998)

76 min | Drama

Brazil in the early 70s. Miguel, Eloi, Osvaldo and Paolo take part in armed attacks against the military dictatorship. They pay a heavy price with torture and arrest. Today the four friends... See full summary »

Director: Beto Brant | Stars: Leonardo Villar, Helio Lahal, Zécarlos Machado, Cacá Amaral

Votes: 353

Part of the film happens in São Paulo and part of it in Minas Gerais.

15. Durval Records (2002)

Not Rated | 96 min | Comedy, Drama, Music

Durval and his mother Carmita live at the back of "Durval Discos", a record store they own in São Paulo, specializing in vinyl records. They lead a boring and unattractive life, until the ... See full summary »

Director: Anna Muylaert | Stars: Ary França, Etty Fraser, Isabela Guasco, Marisa Orth

Votes: 951

16. Penas (2012)

15 min | Short, Adventure, Comedy

Seeking for an explanation, a man stumbles across a story of fear, betrayal and explicit ornithology.

Director: Paulinho Caruso | Stars: Fabio Marcoff, Augustin Marsalla, Paulo Porto, Hugo Villavicenzio

Votes: 12

It is spoken in Spanish; however, it has been made in São Paulo. You can watch this short film in this link:

17. Fake Blond (2007)

105 min | Comedy, Drama

Silmara, an industrial worker and a woman of exuberant beauty, supports her arsonist father and gets involved with two different pop stars, from whom she learns traumatic life lessons.

Director: Carlos Reichenbach | Stars: Rosanne Mulholland, Cauã Reymond, Maurício Mattar, Djin Sganzerla

Votes: 314

18. A Dama do Cine Shanghai (1987)

115 min | Crime, Mystery

Real estate broker and former boxer enters an old cinema in the decadent downtown São Paulo and meets an intriguing and mysterious woman, very much alike the leading lady of the film. He ... See full summary »

Director: Guilherme de Almeida Prado | Stars: Maitê Proença, Antônio Fagundes, José Lewgoy, Jorge Dória

Votes: 216

Cinematography is particularly great, impressive! Many different angles and camera movements are successfully tried in brilliant frames. All actors also do a great job. Pace is not always the same, sometimes the film is not as entertaining as in other moments, but this is a very nice Brazilian noir thriller anyway. Congratulations for director and writer Guilherme de Almeida Prado. The screenplay is smart and imaginative, and so is the end of the film. In the final credits it is said that this is a B movie, but it's far from reality, as this is an artistically very careful production. Maitê Proença's beauty adds another nice ingredient to the air of mystery. There are some references to Orson Welles's "The Lady from Shanghai", from which it almost borrows the title.

19. São Paulo, Sociedade Anônima (1965)

107 min | Drama

A man lives in conflict as he deals with his friends and love interests against the backdrop of São Paulo.

Director: Luiz Sérgio Person | Stars: Ana Esmeralda, Eva Wilma, Otelo Zeloni, Walmor Chagas

Votes: 568

20. The Trespasser (2001)

97 min | Drama, Thriller

Two businessmen hire a hitman to kill their third partner and are then blackmailed by the hitman as he takes over their company.

Director: Beto Brant | Stars: Marco Ricca, Alexandre Borges, Paulo Miklos, Mariana Ximenes

Votes: 1,565

21. Linear (2013)

6 min | Animation, Short, Fantasy

The line is a dot that went for a walk.

Director: Amir Admoni | Star: Marcos de Andrade

Votes: 17

Watch it here:

22. Alice's House (2007)

Unrated | 92 min | Drama

67 Metascore

Alice, married for the last 20 years to a taxi driver, works in a beauty parlour, has three children, the eldest of whom is doing his military service, and a mother who works as a maid in ... See full summary »

Director: Chico Teixeira | Stars: Carla Ribas, Berta Zemel, Vinicius Zinn, Ricardo Vilaça

Votes: 587 | Gross: $0.06M

Family difficult relations, sexual (socially accepted or not) relations, male and female roles in patriarchal society, truth and lies, class differences... Very interesting movie. Amazing performances, particularly by Carla Ribas in the leading role.

23. The Devil's Scarab (2016)

90 min | Adventure, Mystery

A series of crimes against redheads scares the people from a little town. After the death of his brother, the 13 year old Alberto decides to investigate what is happening and is helped by the experienced, but forgotten, Inspector Pimentel.

Director: Carlo Milani | Stars: Thiago Rosseti, Bruna Cavalieri, Marcos Caruso, Jonas Bloch

Votes: 316

24. 10 Segundos para Vencer (2018)

122 min | Drama, Sport

The history of the famous Brazilian bantam and featherweight world champion Eder Jofre, who tries to deal with his personal life and the obligations of a world class athlete, with the mentoring of his trainer and father Kid Jofre.

Director: José Alvarenga Jr. | Stars: Daniel de Oliveira, Osmar Prado, Ravel Andrade, Luti Angelelli

Votes: 132

25. Vera (II) (1986)

88 min | Drama

Young girl spends her adolescence in an institution for minors, developing some masculine traits in her personality. In this hostile environment, she can only find some sympathy in a ... See full summary »

Director: Sergio Toledo | Stars: Ana Beatriz Nogueira, Raul Cortez, Aida Leiner, Carlos Kroeber

Votes: 185

26. Rosa Morena (2010)

90 min | Drama

The story of one man's journey from Denmark to Brazil to get a child.

Director: Carlos Augusto de Oliveira | Stars: Anders W. Berthelsen, Bárbara Garcia, David Dencik, Vivianne Pasmanter

Votes: 231

27. Underage (2013)

77 min | Drama, Family

Helena is a recently graduated attorney who shares her routine between her job as a Public Defender of children and adolescents in the Courthouse of the city of Santos, Brazil, and the care... See full summary »

Director: Caru Alves de Souza | Stars: Rita Batata, Giovanni Gallo, Caco Ciocler, Rui Ricardo Diaz

Votes: 116

Very well done film. Unfortunately, I lost many parts. When I watch it full, perhaps I change its position in this list.

28. Carandiru (2003)

R | 145 min | Drama, Crime

71 Metascore

Brazilian MD Drauzio Varella starts AIDS prevention in Brazil's largest prison, Carandiru, in São Paulo, where the population is nearly double its 4,000 maximum. Doc learns from experience ... See full summary »

Director: Hector Babenco | Stars: Enrique Diaz, Wagner Moura, Caio Blat, Luiz Carlos Vasconcelos

Votes: 16,853 | Gross: $0.21M

29. Reflexões de um Liquidificador (2010)

80 min | Comedy, Thriller

Elvira's blender tells her story with her husband, Onofre, who's gone missing, and makes reflections about life.

Director: André Klotzel | Stars: Marcos Cesana, Francisco Gaspar, Germano Haiut, Zécarlos Machado

Votes: 355

30. Smoke Gets in Your Eyes (2009)

89 min | Drama, Romance, Thriller

In São Paulo, the lonely forty and something year-old guitar teacher Baby lives a tedious life in a low middle-class apartment and is addicted in her only companion, the cigarettes. She has... See full summary »

Director: Anna Muylaert | Stars: Glória Pires, Paulo Miklos, Alessandra Colassanti, Dani Nefussi

Votes: 460

31. Angeli 'The Killer' (2017– )

145 min | Comedy

ANGELI THE KILLER is an animated series loosely inspired in the works and personality of the Brazilian cartoonist, Angeli, creator of the seminal magazine "Chiclete com Banana" and ... See full summary »

Stars: Angeli, Grace Gianoukas, Alessandra Negrini, Milhem Cortaz

Votes: 5

32. Amor Estranho Amor (1982)

R | 97 min | Drama

São Paulo, 1937. Hugo is a12-year-old teenage boy who came from Santa Catarina, being brought by his grandmother to return him to his mother, Anna who is a lover of Osmar, the the most ... See full summary »

Director: Walter Hugo Khouri | Stars: Vera Fischer, Tarcísio Meira, Xuxa, Íris Bruzzi

Votes: 848

33. The Milky Way (2007)

86 min | Drama

Heitor (a teacher) and Julia (an actress) dating for a while. A violent discussion over the phone does he goes on a mad way up his girlfriend's House

Director: Lina Chamie | Stars: Marco Ricca, Alice Braga, Fernando Alves Pinto, Juliane Elting

Votes: 242

Very interesting depiction of São Paulo, with nice usage of music and traveling.

34. Natimorto (2009)

92 min | Drama

A talent agent summons a young singer to Sao Paulo in order to present her to a renowned maestro. While they wait for the day of the audition, they stay in a hotel room where, over ... See full summary »

Director: Paulo Machline | Stars: Betty Gofman, Lourenço Mutarelli, Simone Spoladore

Votes: 143

35. Who Killed Pixote? (1996)

116 min | Biography, Drama

Based on the true story of Fernando Ramos da Silva, actor of Hector Babenco's Pixote (1981).

Director: José Joffily | Stars: Cassiano Carneiro, Luciana Rigueira, Joana Fomm, Tuca Andrada

Votes: 332

A small part of the film takes place in Rio but most of the story happens in São Paulo.

36. O Dia M (2008)

14 min | Short, Comedy

Almeida, a regular 30-year-old man, is forced to make arrangements for his death.

Director: Paulo Leierer | Stars: Caco Ciocler, Mauro D'Addio, Bri Fiocca, Noemi Gerbelli

Votes: 18

37. A Próxima Vítima (1983)

98 min | Crime

TV reporter tries to find out who is killing prostitutes in a São Paulo neighborhood.

Director: João Batista de Andrade | Stars: Antônio Fagundes, Louise Cardoso, Mayara Magri, Othon Bastos

Votes: 60

38. Stories of Samba (2015)

17 min | Short, Comedy, Drama

The film is based on lyrics from the very famous Brazilian samba composer Adoniran Barbosa, following the aesthetics of his time. Notable facts and characters of his songs takes us through ... See full summary »

Director: Pedro Soffer Serrano | Stars: Gero Camilo, Aisha Jambo, Gustavo Machado, Ney Matogrosso

Votes: 6

Also known as: "Dá licença de contar". Watch it here:

39. The Tenants (Don't Like It, Leave) (2009)

Not Rated | 103 min | Drama

Valter goes to night school. Iara, his wife, says that the new tenants don't work, that they're probably criminals. Nobody knows where they're from, Iara tells him that they bring women ... See full summary »

Director: Sergio Bianchi | Stars: Fernando Alves Pinto, Zezeh Barbosa, Caio Blat, Lennon Campos

Votes: 190

40. Family Affair (2011)

12 min | Short, Drama

Rossi is spending his day at home when his older brother brings home a group of friends. Rossi tries to socialize with them, with surprising results.

Director: Caru Alves de Souza | Stars: Kauê Telloli, Cláudia Assunção, Thiago Pinheiro, Ney Piacentini

Votes: 109

41. Se Deus Vier Que Venha Armado (2014)

88 min | Crime, Drama

Set over 72 hours at the height of the 2012 attacks and counterattacks between military police and organized crime in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Director: Luis Dantas | Stars: Sara Antunes, Ariclenes Barroso, André Franco, Luiz Adelmo Manzano

Votes: 79

42. Angels of the Night (1987)

98 min | Drama

Many exotic characters meet in São Paulo night, looking for love and adventure: Malu, a model; Mauro, the drag queen; Teddy, the hustler; Guto, the gay reporter; and Marta, an actress.

Director: Wilson Barros | Stars: Zezé Motta, Antônio Fagundes, Marco Nanini, Chiquinho Brandão

Votes: 83

43. Domésticas (2001)

Not Rated | 85 min | Comedy, Drama

Five maids in São Paulo are observed in this episodic, impressionistic film. The women interact with each other, ride busses, work, and have longings: Rai for a husband, Créo for her lost ... See full summary »

Directors: Fernando Meirelles, Nando Olival | Stars: Cláudia Missura, Graziella Moretto, Lena Roque, Olivia Araújo

Votes: 1,156

44. Feliz Ano Velho (1987)

111 min | Drama

After diving into a shallow lake, a college student becomes tetraplegic. In his wheel chair, he remembers the important facts of his life as an adolescent.

Director: Roberto Gervitz | Stars: Marcos Breda, Malu Mader, Marco Nanini, Eva Wilma

Votes: 170

45. Tito and the Birds (2018)

73 min | Animation, Action, Drama

76 Metascore

The film tells the story of a boy who is responsible, along with his father, for finding the cure for an illness that is contracted after the person takes a fright.

Directors: Gabriel Bitar, André Catoto, Gustavo Steinberg | Stars: Pedro Henrique, Denise Fraga, Matheus Nachtergaele, Mateus Solano

Votes: 252 | Gross: $0.00M

It is not mentioned, but I assume that the story is held in São Paulo because of the characters' accent.

46. Boca (2010)

100 min | Action, Crime, Drama