Cidade de Deus (City of God) (2003) - Rotten Tomatoes

Cidade de Deus (City of God)2003

Cidade de Deus (City of God) (2003)



Critic Consensus: City of God offers a shocking and disturbing -- but always compelling -- look at life in the slums of Rio de Janiero.

Cidade de Deus (City of God) Photos

Movie Info

Fernando Meirelles' City of God is a sweeping tale of how crime affects the poor population of Rio de Janeiro. Though the narrative skips around in time, the main focus is on Cabeleira who formed a gang called the Tender Trio. He and his best friend, Bené (Phelipe Haagensen), become crime lords over the course of a decade. When Bené is killed before he can retire, Lil' Zé attempts to take out his arch enemy, Sandro Cenoura (Matheus Nachtergaele). But Sandro and a young gangster named Mane form an alliance and begin a gang war with Lil' Zé. Amateur photographer Buscape (Alexandre Rodrigues) takes pictures of the brutal crime war, making their story famous. City of God was screened at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival.

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Matheus Nachtergaele
as Sandro Cenoura (Carrot)
Phellipe Haagensen
as Bené (Benny)
Douglas Silva
as Lil' Dice
Seu Jorge
as Knockout Ned
Alice Braga
as Angélica
Emerson Gomes
as Young Stringy
Darlan Cunha
as Filé-com-Fritas
Leandra Miranda
as Lucia Maracana
Graziella Moretto
as Marina Cintra
Karina Falcao
as Shorty's wife
Sabrina Rosa
as Galinha's Girlfriend
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News & Interviews for Cidade de Deus (City of God)

Critic Reviews for Cidade de Deus (City of God)

All Critics (164) | Top Critics (48)

What makes City of God so breathtaking is director Fernando Meirelles' passion for these people - he gives us the color, the music and the humor...

December 30, 2019 | Full Review…

I came away from this film impressed by its narrative control but unmoved by anything it had to say.

November 8, 2011 | Full Review…

Powerful, but only for 17 and up.

December 22, 2010 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

City of God delivers a bruising, visceral experience of the vicious spiral of violence that draws kids into a life of crime, brutality and murder as the only avenue open to them.

June 17, 2009
Top Critic

The performances, many from non-pros, are terrific.

June 24, 2006 | Full Review…

Difficult to watch but hard to look away from.

May 19, 2004 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Cidade de Deus (City of God)


With an elaborate plot centered on a dozen characters (most of which are played by excellent amateur actors from the slums), Meirelles creates a stylized and superbly-edited modern classic that puts us in the middle of a war between rival factions of a dangerous Brazilian favela.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

If you don't like guns, this movie will be very painful for you. But a compelling glimpse into gang violence in Brazil in the 1970s.

Letitia Lew
Letitia Lew

Super Reviewer


A young boy grows up amid gang violence in Rio. More of a chronicle of disparate gangs than a cohesive plot, City of God is frenetic filmmaking at its finest. Quick camera pans, storylines that stop and start, and bloodletting violence fill this film with the type of energy that is reminiscent of Tarantino and Scorsese. Based on true stories, the film is more about environment than plot, and the feeling is both harrowing and shocking. There's no one central performance that strikes me as remarkable because all of the performances ring with authenticity. Overall, this is one of the finest portraits of gang violence produced outside of America.

Jim Hunter
Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer

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