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City of God (2002)

Cidade de Deus (original title)
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In the slums of Rio, two kids' paths diverge as one struggles to become a photographer and the other a kingpin.

Directors:

Fernando Meirelles, Kátia Lund (co-director)

Writers:

Paulo Lins (novel), Bráulio Mantovani (screenplay)
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728 ( 7)
Top Rated Movies #22 | Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 66 wins & 38 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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

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

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Brazil | France | Germany

Language:

Portuguese

Release Date:

13 February 2004 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

City of God See more »

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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

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$32,059,295
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

|

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Fernando Meirelles wanted the cast to consist of people who had never acted before and professional actors who were not widely known. One such actor was Matheus Nachtergaele, whom Meirelles had seen in a play. While Meirelles was working on the script, however, Nachtergaele suddenly became a huge star in Brazil after starring in the hit film A Dog's Will (2000). Meirelles was a little disappointed at first but Nachtergaele promised him that he would disappear into the role of Sandro Cenoura so completely that his stardom would not distract from the film. He actually moved to the real Cidade de Deus where most of the cast lived and lived there for three months to prepare for the role. 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

During the end credits there is shown actual real-life footage of the real Mané Galinha, or Knockout-Ned as he is translated into in the American version of the film. This is in fact the same TV interview we see constructed in the film, and we can see that the filmmakers have copied this TV interview down to the smallest detail. See more »

Alternate Versions

The UK DVD displays the decade titles in English rather than Portuguese. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Do You Like Hitchcock? (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

Get Up I Feel Like Being Like (Sex Machine)
Written by James Brown / Bobby Byrd / Ronald R. Lenhoff
Performed by James Brown
Dynatone Publishing Company
(Represented in Brazil by Warner Chappell Edições Musicais Ltda)
Used by permission from Universal Music Ltda
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Gangs of Rio
17 May 2003 | by Decko_koji_obecavaSee all my reviews

If you're unlucky to be born into a socially, economically and racially isolated community that has poverty, crime, drugs and violence as its everyday realities, the odds are stacked incredibly high against you. It literally takes so much effort, strength, struggle and plain ol' good fortune to simply avoid becoming a gangster, let alone do anything more with life. Most who find themselves in the situation described above never even enter this fight and out of those that do - only the rare ones succeed.

"City of God" depicts this conundrum masterfully.

In a Rio slum called Cidade de Deus we meet character after character that has the right idea, knowledge and courage to get out but somehow always ends up being pulled right back into this vicious circle. Becoming a hoodlum in Cidade de Deus isn't just a fringe career option for disenchanted rebels and social outcasts - it's the main industry.

The images of gun toting pre-teen killers are very disturbing and Meirelles uses them relentlessly to underscore just how hopeless and frighteningly predetermined life is for these kids. Many of them can't read or write but already know how to use a gun and kill without remorse. In a particularly harrowing scene, local drug lord Ze Pequeno or Lil' Ze (Leandro Firmino da Hora) exacts revenge on a disobedient gang of 9 and 10 year olds by incapacitating two of them and forcing one of his own kid soldiers, as initiation of sorts, to choose which one of the two he wants to kill. Faced with death, one of the kids starts crying crocodile tears; suddenly all the bravado is gone and he is shown for what he truly is - a desperately misdirected infant.

'If only these people had more options....' is the sentiment reinforced with every gruesome event.

Of course, this lifestyle comes a little more naturally to some than to others. Ze Pequeno, for example, from an early age when he was known as Dadinho / Lil' Dice shows a considerable lack of aversion to blood and death. In another aptly choreographed scene so that we don't know what exactly happened until much later, he more than 'holds his own' alongside much older gangsters during a motel stickup.

Also on hand is a colourful palette of characters. From our narrator Buscape / Rocket (Alexandre Rodrigues) whose ticket out of the slum is his love of photography over to people like laidback Bene / Benny (Philippe Haagensen), followed by Ze's fierce rival Cenoura / Carrot (Matheus Nachtergaele) or good guy turned bad (although it's not so simple) Mane Galinha / Knockout Ned (Seu Jorge) we see a multidimensional, pulsating, alive community that seems in need of a strong, sustained outside push to finally stop chasing its own tail and get out of this destructive cycle.


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