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City of God (2002)
"Cidade de Deus" (original title)

R  |   |  Crime, Drama  |  13 February 2004 (USA)
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Ratings: 8.7/10 from 488,128 users   Metascore: 79/100
Reviews: 721 user | 209 critic | 33 from Metacritic.com

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


(novel), (screenplay)
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Zé Pequeno - Li'l Zé (as Leandro Firmino da Hora)
Phellipe Haagensen ...
Matheus Nachtergaele ...
Mané Galinha - Knockout Ned
Jefechander Suplino ...
Alicate - Clipper
Emerson Gomes ...
Edson Oliveira ...
Michel de Souza ...
Bené Criança - Young Benny (as Michel De Souza Gomes)
Roberta Rodrigues ...
Luis Otávio ...
Maurício Marques ...
Cabeção - Melonhead


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. Written by Jeff Mellinger <jeffmellinger@astound.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


If you run, the beast will get you. If you stay, the beast will eat you See more »


Crime | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong brutal violence, sexuality, drug content and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

13 February 2004 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

City of God  »

Box Office


$3,300,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$541,996 (Brazil) (30 August 2002)


$7,563,397 (USA) (18 June 2004)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs



Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


At the end the Runts (Caixa Baixa gang) talk about making a list of people they want to kill. The rat boys grew to become the now feared CV (Comando Vermelho) or Red Command, the most notorious gang in Rio. The CV is also known to have a death list. See more »


When Li'l Zé makes Knockout Ned undress, Knockout Ned's shirt is already unbuttoned. But in the next shot we see him unbuttoning it. See more »


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

Crazy Credits

The closing credits shows pictures of the main actors, their name, their character's name and pictures of the real life characters (for the ones based on existing people). See more »


Followed by City of Men (2002) See more »


Written by Cartola / Carlos Cachaça / Hermínio Bello de Carvalho (as Hermínio B. Carvalho)
Performed by Cartola
Peer Music do Brasil Edições Musicais Ltda
Licensed by EMI Music Ltda
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

an exillerating ride through the life of gangsters
15 December 2004 | by (New Jersey, U.S.A.) – See all my reviews

I am a big fan of foreign film, because its great to see directors with different points of view than the average American director. City of God is the epitome of a great foreign film. It shows the classic struggle between right and wrong, in a brand new way. The raw directing style, coupled with a great soundtrack makes for a movie which many different kinds of people can enjoy. Weather your a Harvard intellectual or the local idiot, you can enjoy this. The vicious cycle of the gangster lifestyle is portrayed with haunting accuracy. It even forces the audience to sympathize with some of the nastiest thugs in the world. All in all, City of God is one the greatest movies of my time and each time i watch it i enjoy it more than the last.

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City of God is bad for Brazil! kornish-callum-1-284358
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