User Score
8.9

Universal acclaim- based on 331 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 14 out of 331
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  1. KayWhy
    Jun 14, 2003
    7
    It's simply a social commentary about the roots of violence, but unfortunately, it lacks growth and emotion from the main character of the movie, the narrator, rocket. The soullessness of the movie extends beyond just the main character--everyone seems to lack emotions. (Perhaps this was done on purpose to show the dehumanizing effects of violence). After a while, I just watched and It's simply a social commentary about the roots of violence, but unfortunately, it lacks growth and emotion from the main character of the movie, the narrator, rocket. The soullessness of the movie extends beyond just the main character--everyone seems to lack emotions. (Perhaps this was done on purpose to show the dehumanizing effects of violence). After a while, I just watched and didn't really care. There were only several powerful scenes when I felt powerless and angered. It's a shame because City of God could have made me feel this way through out if it had more emotion. Expand
  2. Aug 1, 2012
    10
    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.
  3. FernandoN.
    Feb 23, 2003
    7
    The best brazilian movie ever (doesn't mean much since brazilian movies suck. I'm brazilian and I know what i'm saying). Good performances considering that 90% of the cast is non-professional. A good movie but far from a masterpiece.
  4. Aug 26, 2010
    10
    quite simply the best film you will ever see
  5. Jan 13, 2011
    10
    Rough, raw, brutal, intense, beautiful, powerful. These words are only a few that can be used to describe this movie. May be too rough and brutal in it's depiction for some, but you won't forget the experience
  6. Dec 31, 2010
    10
    Cidade de Deus, or, City of God is a Brazilian film, directed by Fernando Meirelles, released in the year 2002, tells the story of life in the slums of Rio de Janeiro, in an area known as the Cidade De Deus, the City of God. Fortunately or unfortunately, you are left in a world you donâ
  7. AndreR.
    Jan 17, 2003
    10
    The film that blows Gangs of New York in all the ways. Here it looks real. Meirelles did a masterpiece. Amores Perros mixed with Pulp Fiction and Reservoir Dogs, but this time with some social matters. Amazing!
  8. Marc-o
    Oct 8, 2003
    10
    Just about Perfect!!! My only problem was that it should have been longer, beautifully shot considering the subject matter and the writers show a huge talent in story telling in both structure and character, better than anything to come out of any other film making country this year. I will definately recommend this to anyone who will listen.
  9. StephanieS
    Jan 11, 2005
    10
    This movie is one of the best I've ever seen. Anyone who gives it a low rating probably likes fluff movies with alot of unrealistic drama and storylines. CoG is a true to life film, deeply moving and simply brilliant, and I have not come across one person who hasn't liked it. Educated college students adore it. A masterpiece.
  10. CiaronD.
    Jan 4, 2006
    10
    Utter class! the city of god is a classic film set in the ghetto of brazil, showing real life events and on-goings, amazing story, has to be a all time favourite of mine, 1st discovered it in film studies at college and thought it was class from the first viewing! hope to see it again soon!
  11. ThomasA.
    Mar 11, 2008
    10
    In my top 5 of Gangster movies, fabulous and scary this is a film everyone should see.
  12. Alexandra
    May 28, 2005
    10
    This film was beautiful and had wide and important purpose. As a film student I appreciated the meticulous technicalities and flawless structure. As a photographer, I was enthralled with the OBVIOUS theme of surprisingly surviving in literal hell, through art (photography).
  13. BrianC.
    Oct 16, 2006
    10
    Greatest film of all time. I loved the film irreversible and didn
  14. PatC.
    Jun 30, 2006
    9
    Totally involved story of the continuity inherent in Brazilian urban slum crime. Every character is disposable in their roles in this story, which is otherwise totally mesmerizing.
  15. LeanneH.
    Jan 18, 2007
    10
    I agree with Chris S. Dave H. you've got it all wrong. This is not a Hollywood thriller, this is a neo-realism film, a piece of brazilian national cinema which highlights Brazilian's way of life in order to obtain political change (wow! I hope I ace my exam!). You are looking at this concept so wrong, unless you understand the purpose of this film you will never see it as being I agree with Chris S. Dave H. you've got it all wrong. This is not a Hollywood thriller, this is a neo-realism film, a piece of brazilian national cinema which highlights Brazilian's way of life in order to obtain political change (wow! I hope I ace my exam!). You are looking at this concept so wrong, unless you understand the purpose of this film you will never see it as being a fantastic acheivement, which is definitely what it is! :) Expand
  16. JackB.
    Apr 1, 2008
    9
    Great film in every way, deserves the plaudits and i would say this is a film that everyone who loves film should try and watch. An incredible real life story, told in a very powerful way that will have you gripped from start to finish. Im not a huge fan of the "gangster" film genre having been disappointed by some of the films in the area that are considered masterpieces, however I Great film in every way, deserves the plaudits and i would say this is a film that everyone who loves film should try and watch. An incredible real life story, told in a very powerful way that will have you gripped from start to finish. Im not a huge fan of the "gangster" film genre having been disappointed by some of the films in the area that are considered masterpieces, however I challenge anyone to truthfully say that this is below the level of those films. This truly deserves the title of being a Masterpiece. Expand
  17. JucaA.
    Jun 26, 2008
    10
    Great movie from Brazil. Realistic and well done.
  18. BenZ.
    Jun 27, 2004
    10
    Wow, what an uttlerly fantastic movie. This is the best film i've seen all year without a doubt. The plot was excellent, the acting was very well-done, and there wasn't a single boring second in the film. Besides this... it is a very deep and educating study into the Brazilian culture. This movie, like Amorres Perros before it, puts modern American filmaking to shame.
  19. ApocalypseBrown
    Jun 12, 2007
    10
    Nothing is perfect in film making, but this is as close as you get.Gripping, intelligent, subtle, violent, tragic, it has it all. After this film you really to reflect and sympathise with the poor of Brazil. In my top ten films of all time. And Metacritic, sack your advance scout, Chad S. His review flat out sucked!
  20. waltm
    Dec 19, 2004
    10
    This movie was good. whoever thought this movie was boring or gave it a rating of below 9 were probably using a lot of drugs at the time and have no clue about what they say. The movie was well made. i ave no idea why some people gave it a 3 or even a 2 if they were not even there to witness what happened. this movie is one of the best. Everyone should see it.
  21. Jan 8, 2012
    9
    I have been wanting to watch this film for several years now and now that I have, I realise why everyone has been recommending it. It is well crafted, small character stories of the favelas (slums) of Rio where violence is out of control and kids grow up thinking it is a natural way of life. A story told passionately, by the director that also brought us the brilliant Constant Gardener,I have been wanting to watch this film for several years now and now that I have, I realise why everyone has been recommending it. It is well crafted, small character stories of the favelas (slums) of Rio where violence is out of control and kids grow up thinking it is a natural way of life. A story told passionately, by the director that also brought us the brilliant Constant Gardener, using mostly first time actors who grew up in these "hoods" and only have to be themselves, thus augmenting the reality feel factor of the film. Expand
  22. Jan 29, 2014
    10
    Brazilian Goodfellas from a low-rent perspective. Unique characters drift in and out of gang life, trying to survive in their own ways. Touches us with elements of familiarity and shows how if the environment were a bit different, these horrible options could become a reality anywhere. Great movie. Well done.
  23. Sep 6, 2011
    10
    One of the best Films i ever watched,of course brazilian people will like it more because of the excessive bad language (who makes the film very funny) and the slangs,but everyone must see this film,an epic real story of two drug factions in a war who envolves the entire community of city of god.
  24. May 2, 2012
    9
    City of God tells its story through multiple small stories and numerous characters yet the tale it tells and the world it shows is remarkably cohesive. A bleak picture is painted of 1960's Rio, one where goodness is easily corrupted and the corrupted hold the power.
  25. j30
    Jan 26, 2012
    10
    City of God is a great movie. There's no doubt in my mind that it'll go down as one of the greatest of all-time. Beautiful cinematography, great direction, fantastic acting, this is one of the more artistic movies you'll see ever. This movie is up there with The Godfather, Goodfellas, and Pulp Fiction.
  26. Sep 30, 2014
    10
    This is truly a brilliant movie! Engaging, profound, crude, and touching. Although humorous at times, some of the scenes are also hard to watch and it might make you question certain values we hold based on things that we take for granted. This movie takes you to a reality that most of us have never imagined. I also like the sociological ideas/ message behind this film. It is not myThis is truly a brilliant movie! Engaging, profound, crude, and touching. Although humorous at times, some of the scenes are also hard to watch and it might make you question certain values we hold based on things that we take for granted. This movie takes you to a reality that most of us have never imagined. I also like the sociological ideas/ message behind this film. It is not my favourite movie ever, but for what it offers, it is definitely a 10. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. We have it at home. Expand
  27. Feb 6, 2012
    10
    Based on real events this Masterpiece is out of range. No drug / slum or something else movie can compare with this. It's so intimidating and disturbing, you cant believe this is true. Heavily underrated in many ways and absolutely worth the time!
  28. Mar 4, 2013
    9
    City of God follows the fortunes of a group of children growing up in a poor, crime infested part of Rio de Janeiro. The story centers mainly around two characters. Each with very similar lives, but who take vastly different paths. This juxtaposition is what drives the narrative in City Of God, and what makes it so compelling.

    Rocket feels out of place in the world he lives. he wants to
    City of God follows the fortunes of a group of children growing up in a poor, crime infested part of Rio de Janeiro. The story centers mainly around two characters. Each with very similar lives, but who take vastly different paths. This juxtaposition is what drives the narrative in City Of God, and what makes it so compelling.

    Rocket feels out of place in the world he lives. he wants to be a photographer. We know from the moment we meet him that he longs to rise above the horrendous poverty and crime that envelopes him. He stands out in this world, others are naturally drawn to his soft temperament and demeanor even if they don't realize the reason. Rocket does not readily have the means to rise above this world so consequently he comes across many stumbling blocks in his life. One of the more interesting sequences in the film is when Rocket concludes that he has no other options than to resort to the life most of his peers have. How this decision plays out results in some of the more lighthearted moments in City Of God. While Rocket's path may not be more interesting than others in the story, it is the most sympathetic.

    Li'l Ze is the polar opposite of Rocket. He doesn't long to rise above this world, he longs to rule over it. The perverse crime and violence he sees all around him doesn't hinder him, it compels him. Li'l Ze earns the kind of respect that comes from brute force, and he learns these tactics at a frighteningly young age. If Li'l Ze is going to be a criminal he is determined to the most powerful criminal in the City of God. This is his only motivation, and what he allows to define his existence.

    There are many other characters in City Of God. This film has lots of moving parts. However most of the other players move within the framework of the two main characters. Rocket and Li'l Ze are the black and white of the movie, while the other characters represent the shades of gray. It is an interesting way to tell a story, and works exceptionally well here.

    If I have an issue with City of God it is with the way the movie was shot. We get very few static shots in this film. Everything is quick cuts and shaky camera. While this style never completely keeps me from enjoying a film, it can detract from my enjoyment some. It is very hard to get a sense of time and place when this style is employed, City if God was no exception to this. It also make it difficult to differentiate between the good and bad acting within this style. I suppose this can work positively for the director, but I still consider it a detriment.

    Overall I would consider City of God a great crime drama. The story is extremely well told, with many interesting memorable characters. This is the kind of movie that is still with you weeks or months after you see it. I am looking forward to revisiting it in the future.
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  29. Sep 8, 2014
    8
    Masterfully directed and acted, City of God is undeniably worthy of the praise it has received over the years. Unashamedly brutal and honest, City of God provides a brilliant look at life in the slums of Brazil through the eyes of a boy who dreams of becoming a photographer and while he is not involved in gang life, he is undeniably touched by it and it is a huge part of who he is. TheMasterfully directed and acted, City of God is undeniably worthy of the praise it has received over the years. Unashamedly brutal and honest, City of God provides a brilliant look at life in the slums of Brazil through the eyes of a boy who dreams of becoming a photographer and while he is not involved in gang life, he is undeniably touched by it and it is a huge part of who he is. The acting, directing, and cinematography, are all pitch perfect and the storytelling here works very well. It is a great example of world cinema since it is a Brazilian film and a great example of how it does not matter what language a film is in, as long as it is very good and this one certainly fits that bill. Overall, I was very impressed with this film and it undoubtedly rings true for those living in this unfortunate situation. While brutal and sad at times, this one is a foreign language classic. Expand
  30. Feb 28, 2013
    10
    This movie was amazing, the level of realism was great, the acting was great, despite there being no stars in the film. It really had meaning, when some of the characters died, I even felt that I cared.
Metascore
79

Generally favorable reviews - based on 33 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 27 out of 33
  2. Negative: 0 out of 33
  1. It takes a strong stomach to sit through its two-plus hours of non-stop brutality (much of it involving very small children).
  2. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    100
    The film is seductive, disturbing, enthralling -- a trip to hell that gives the passengers a great ride.
  3. 50
    Full of action, but no soul.