Generally favorable reviews - based on 33 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 27 out of 33
  2. Negative: 0 out of 33
  1. 100
    Breathtaking and terrifying, urgently involved with its characters, it announces a new director of great gifts and passions: Fernando Meirelles.
  2. 100
    Like a bomb exploding in a fireworks factory: It's fierce and shocking and dazzling and wonderful.
  3. One of the most uncompromisingly bleak films I've ever seen.
  4. 100
    A visual and aural feast that combines elements of classic gangster melodramas, crime epics such as "The Godfather" and playful non-linear narratives such as "Amores Perros," City of God explores a deadly culture while feeling more alive than anything that's hit the big screen in years.
  5. 100
    Meticulous in its descriptions of well-intended individuals caught up in these ferocious waves of street crime.
  6. A marvelous achievement that refuses to avert its gaze from the poetry and the insane savagery of the hopeless.
  7. 100
    An exhilarating slap in the face, bracing and sexy, smart and visceral, stylish and raw -- the advent of a fabulously exciting new moviemaking talent.
  8. 100
    The film finds a surprising amount of tenderness and humor beneath the brutality. The laughs may catch in the throat, but that's only a byproduct of City Of God's power to leave viewers breathless.
  9. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    The film is seductive, disturbing, enthralling -- a trip to hell that gives the passengers a great ride.
  10. 100
    It's a trip to Hell and back, and testimony for embittered cynics of all that a movie can be.
  11. 100
    One of the most startling, grittily brilliant films in recent years.
  12. Emotionally gripping from start to finish, the movie presents an electrifying and unforgettable look at life in a place that God has all but forgotten.
  13. As the movie's frenetic visual rhythms and mood swings synchronize with the zany, adrenaline-fueled impulsiveness of its lost youth on the rampage, you may find yourself getting lost in this teeming netherworld.
  14. An epic docudrama - electric and raw.
  15. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    This is one movie in which you don't feel the long-ish running time, in part because there always seems to be a surprise (as well as a new street guerrilla) around every corner.
  16. 88
    Despite the grim, serious nature of the subject matter, Meirelles unearths occasional moments of humor, although they are often of the gallows variety.
  17. Undeniably powerful, the work also comes with its own built-in shield against feeling any one character's difficulties too deeply, or for too long.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 287 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 82 out of 91
  2. Negative: 5 out of 91
  1. Aug 1, 2012
    Filmogaphy on this move is an evolution of anything hollywood ever acomplished. A real lesson on how to film a story that screams reality. One of the most violent movies ever made is also one of the most beautifully filmed. Full Review »
  2. Jul 5, 2011
    The documentary featured on the DVD was far more rewarding than the actual movie. I'm in total agreement with BillR's near perfect review of this so-called film. This emperor really has no clothes. Full Review »
  3. Nov 5, 2014
    Really ??? Is this a movie with 8.9 score ??? I must be from another planet. For those who should be surprised with my "0", I'm a well educated man and watched the movie very carefully and only with coffee. Some young brasilian dirtbags kill each other. Yes for 2 hours this is it. Trash movie, trash actors, trash plot. Full Review »