5 user 9 critic

The Hero (2004)

O Herói (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama, War | 13 May 2004 (Portugal)
A 20-year veteran of the Angolan civil war returns to the capital city of Luanda where he faces the challenges of assimilation and survival.


Zézé Gamboa
4 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Makena Diop Makena Diop ... Vitorio (as Oumar Makena Diop)
Milton 'Santo' Coelho Milton 'Santo' Coelho ... Manu
Maria Ceiça ... Maria Bárbara aka Judite
Patrícia Bull Patrícia Bull ... Joana
Neusa Borges Neusa Borges ... Flora (as Neuza Borges)
Raúl Rosário Raúl Rosário
Prospero Joao Prospero Joao
Orlando Sérgio Orlando Sérgio ... Minister
Fernando Lupach Fernando Lupach ... (as Fernando Ferreira)
Catarina Matos ... Rute
Miguel Hurst Miguel Hurst ... Doctor Luís
Thierry Darrigrand Thierry Darrigrand ... Doctor Thierry
Nelo Helder Nelo Helder
Adelino Caracol Adelino Caracol
João Carlos Miguel João Carlos Miguel


When he was 15, Vitório was recruited by Angolan army, where he would stay for two decades fighting. In his last mission, he was hit by a mine and lost a leg. After a long time waiting, he finally manages to secure a prothesis. With no job and unable to find his family, he faces indifference and mockery. One night, while sleeping on the street, somebody steals his prothesis. But he finds support on three people: the prostitute Judith, the boy Manu and Joana, Manu's teacher. Written by lukejoplin@infolink.com.br

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | War


Not Rated | See all certifications »



Angola | France | Portugal


Portuguese | French

Release Date:

13 May 2004 (Portugal) See more »

Also Known As:

A hős See more »

Filming Locations:

Luanda, Angola

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


References Shanghai Express (1932) See more »

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User Reviews

My first view of Angola
5 April 2006 | by bowlofsoul23See all my reviews

I have a general rule of thumb about movies from Africa- I will see anything that comes there. Sometimes I love what I see, I often feel ambiguous, but rarely do I hate. That's what you get when you watch movies based on geography. I just feel though, that I know so little about certain places in the world, I mean I can't even visualize what the majority of the non-Western world looks like, and films help fill that gap. This particular movie falls into the ambiguous category, a film with beautiful moments, whose parts don't add up to a cohesive whole. Humanism runs throughout however, and that seems to be a theme in African movies, and is something I love.

This particular movie revolves around two main characters: a soldier, no, a sergeant, as he fervently reminds us, named Manu, who lost a leg in the 26-year civil war. In addition to lacking a leg, he's out of a job and a home. He's desperate for a prosthetic leg, but remains proud throughout the whole demeaning process of pulling his life back together. There is also an adolescent boy (can't remember his name) who lives with his stern but loving grandmother, and dreams of the day his father will return home. He gets into trouble by stealing and getting into fights, but we know deep down he's a good kid. There is an assortment of stereotyped characters, the upper-crust beautiful woman who teaches the poor, the hooker with the heart of gold, dirty politicians, another upper-crust beautiful person, this time an asshole who profits off of his familial ties to find a secure job in the government, and so on. The plot starts to get complicated when Manu wakes up one morning on the street to find his leg stolen.

Unfortunately, the film falls into the trap of cliché and overwrought melodrama. There are, however, some scenes that stand out. The moon in the sky falling into the earth in the form of a basketball thus providing a nice segue into the next scene, or when the boy lifts the prosthetic leg he has stolen into the night sky so that it can point to where his father might be. Or when the teacher and Manu fall asleep outside of the hospital and she wakes up to find herself resting on his shoulder. The tender look between the two speaks a thousand words. The all-to-clean ending however, feels tacked on and certain societal issues could have been examined more deeply, but like I said, it's refreshing to see anything from Africa, particularly how everyday people live, eat, drink, hate, and love. And I can ALWAYS listen to Portuguese.


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