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Cidade de Deus (2003)

Alexandre Rodrigues , Matheus Nachtergaele , Fernando Meirelles , Kátia Lund  |  R |  DVD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (451 customer reviews)


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City of God (English Subtitled)   $2.99 $9.99

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Region 2 encoding (This DVD will not play on most DVD players sold in the US or Canada [Region 1]. This item requires a region specific or multi-region DVD player and compatible TV. More about DVD formats.)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Alexandre Rodrigues, Matheus Nachtergaele, Leandro Firmino, Phellipe Haagensen, Douglas Silva
  • Directors: Fernando Meirelles, Kátia Lund
  • Writers: Bráulio Mantovani, Paulo Lins
  • Producers: Andrea Barata Ribeiro, Bel Berlinck, Daniel Filho, Donald Ranvaud
  • Format: Import, PAL, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: Portuguese (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 2 (Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Run Time: 102 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (451 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00008W64Q
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #480,098 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Cidade de Deus" on IMDb

Special Features

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Editorial Reviews

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
91 of 93 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brutal, disturbing and brilliant. I loved it! March 2, 2003
Exploding on the screen with color, violence and a great story, this Brazilian film captures the essence of life in the City of God, a slum of Rio de Janeiro. Based on a true story of a young man who somehow escaped the preordained fate of his companions by becoming a photographer, the director, Fernando Meirelles, uses every modern technique to achieve his razor-sharp scenes of drugs, murders and non-stop violence that spins out of control and just keeps going.
The frantic energy of the film and fascinating story kept me at the edge of my seat, as a voice-over narration that moved backwards and forward in time, held the story together. All of a sudden, a detail would be revealed that explained something that happened in the past, and, like an electric shock, my grasp of the story would move to even deeper levels. There was little time to ponder it all though, because I was so caught up in what was happening on the screen that it was only later that I could appreciate the brilliance.
We watch several young boys grow into teenagers, tentatively experiencing the world of girls and drugs and guns and murders and crime. There's upbeat samba music throughout, and brilliant colors and blood. There's horrific violence, and also fine moments of humor and humanity. All together it just picked me up and plunked me down right into the middle of this world which made me hold my breath and live on the edge with the more than 200 non-professional actors who were recruited for this film. The sense of place is amazing. And the acting was more than just acting. It was real. And it was also one of the most creative films I've ever seen. Bravo to the filmmakers! I give "City of God" my highest recommendation.
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113 of 121 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Seeking to survive in a brutal environment... April 30, 2005
Format:DVD
"City of God" ("Cidade de Deus") is the story of a boy, but also the story of a "favela" (Portuguese word with similar meaning to slum or shantytown) on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro. That shantytown is called "Cidade de Deus". Throughout this extraordinary movie both the boy and the favela grow, albeit obviously in very different ways :)

The boy is Rocket (Buscapé in Portuguese, played by Alexandre Rodrigues), who is born in Cidade de Deus and grows up before our eyes living in it. He is quiet and easygoing, just a non-violent person seeking a way to survive in a brutal environment. Rocket ends up doing exactly that through his passion, photography, that ends up making him an intermediary between the local gangs and the press. He is also the narrator of this movie, the voice that accompanies us throughout many of the stories that "City of God" has to offer...

The other main character of "City of God" is the "city" itself, that starts merely as a couple of houses, but that grows immensely as years go by. The activities in which its inhabitants are involved also change, from petty robbery to organized crime that involves drug dealing and arms trafficking. We see Li'l Zé (Zé Pequeno in Portuguese, played by Leandro Frimino), one of the boys that used to play soccer with Rocket, grow up to become a murderer and a drug lord, someone that makes his own laws. The same happened with others, but Li'l Zé probably represents to most dangerous kind of sociopath that the favela can produce. Rocket and Li'l Zé, same circumstances, different persons, different choices. Who says that where you lives determinates how you are and what you do?. This is an excellent example that that is not always the case...
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82 of 93 people found the following review helpful
So this is what Brazilian ghettos look like. Stylistically a little like "Traffic" (liberal reliance on sepia tones or drugs) or "Salaam Bombay" (similar theme couched in the streets of Bombay), this movie is a bloody but captivating look at real life in modern day Rio.
Gangsterism is no more a fringe career option amidst the socio-economic strife of the city, but a prime-time industry that takes guts and guile to keep away from. Character after character in the movie fall a prey to this vicious panoply of drugs, poverty and gore. An underlying personal thread is the story of how our protagonist, Rocket, becomes a news photographer and escapes from the slum. Plus, a minor subplot about how he loses his virginity.
Technically, the movie is nothing short of stunning. Several virtuoso scenes are strewn together with clever direction in which the dizzying pace and the sheer number of characters don't detract from a coherent, well told story. We are led in and around scenes, and frequently led back to explain why what occured occured. Wannabe-editors will marvel at how cunningly this effect is achieved. The cinematography, needless to mention, is geewhiz, the screen literally pops with color.
I could wax eloquent about more reasons but the proof is in the pudding. City of God bursts at the seams with energy, vivid color and a poignant story of a man's escape from the social drivel he is born into. If you can get your hands on this movie, do so pronto, you won't regret it.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely amazing February 11, 2003
More than a regular movie, "Cidade de Deus" is an experiment in filmmaking. With only one or two exceptions, all the actors were residents of the Rio de Janeiro neighborhood of the same name of the movie. They were all exhaustingly auditioned and trained to participate on the movie with the best and greatest authenticity they could manage. That's what make "Cidade de Deus" so unique. It's an authentic movie, with an authentic story and authentic characters.
The story is about the people of "Cidade de Deus", a poor neighborhood built far from the ellegant and glamourous center of Rio de Janeiro of the sixties, built for and by poor families who were later to live there. Of course, during the next decades, The city of Rio de Janeiro englobed Cidade de Deus, and suddenly the poor families were not so far away from the rich zones of the town. Through the years, we follow the life story of some local kids, from utter poverty to immense richness from the traffic of narcotics. We also follow their own destruction in the form of war between rival traffic gangs.
Fernando Meirelles was able to transmit, in fast paced rhythms and camera movements, the struggle for power and freedom in the poor suburb. He was also able to mantain the local people-turned-actors authenticity and liberty of acting. There are some strong scenes that leave the spectator mesmerized by their violence and reality.
I just hope that the guy/team responsible for the subtitles in english, or in any other language, was someone with an enormous knowledge of portuguese, because the dialogue and constant use of slang (yours truly, a native brazilian, had some hard time in understanding the meaning of some words used in the dialogues) are, alone, amazing aspects of the movie.
One of the best enterteinment I ever had.
Grade 9.6/10
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Engaging!
Engaging, real movie! The movie comes full circle in the end and never looses you along the way! Great Truthful Story!
Published 17 hours ago by Shawniece Reeder
5.0 out of 5 stars Great
Great! Very different type of movie, graphic and detailed. I wish it was translated into English instead of subtitled !
Published 4 days ago by Carlos M. Oliveira
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing
People have been telling me to watch this movie for years. I can't believe I waited this long. I loved every second of this film. Read more
Published 1 month ago by "Hdog"
5.0 out of 5 stars So amazing and eye-opening!!!
I absolutely loved this movie! I feel like I was let into some of the real, urban experiences in the slums of Brazil.
Published 1 month ago by Karen Cardosa
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent film
Don't let the fact that it's subtitled stop you from getting this movie. There's good action all around and great cinematography. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Matt
5.0 out of 5 stars Gritty reality
Incredible look at life inside a favela and what a different experience it is to be a child in that environment.
Published 2 months ago by Sarah Benitez
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent film
Excellent movie. Great film. Rough to watch but very impactful. I'd recommend this movie for anyone willing to be changed.
Published 2 months ago by Jacqueline
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Story!
I would highly recommend watching this if you're in to this type of movie. It's a really great story told in a way that is easy to follow.
Published 2 months ago by Jill
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Movie
The movie is so real and its great how it follows actual true events that happened in that time in Rio
Published 2 months ago by SIPRNET
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic
This movie is a classic. Its raw, real, and it shows viewers the side of Brazil that most have never witnessed
Published 2 months ago by KennyR
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City of God English Version?
I agree with you fully. I was watched many foreign movies with sub-titles but this movie should NOT be burdened by sub-titles which divert your attention away from the action in this powerful filem
Jan 27, 2014 by Daddyo |  See all 5 posts
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