Box art for City of God

City of God


Celebrated with worldwide acclaim, this powerful true story of crime and redemption has won numerous prestigious awards around the globe!

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
  • Audience Score

common sense

0 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Positive messages
0 out of 5
Positive role models
1 out of 5
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Powerful, but only for 17 and up.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that this movie contains nonstop violence and frequent deaths, including the murders of main characters. In this 130-minute long film, there are only a handful of scenes where the characters are safe from peril and the audience can relax with them. There are explicit references to sexual intercourse and a non-explicit but deeply disturbing rape scene that should not be viewed by children.

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about the evolution of the characters from children into adults. When the boy nicknamed "Steak & Fries" argues to a crowd of drug dealers that because he has smoked, snorted, killed and robbed, he is a man, the crowd bawls with laughter. It does not matter that the boy, perhaps 10 years old, is only slightly younger than these teenagers. What, besides chronology, does make someone an adult? What choices does Knockout Ned make that turn him from a local hero to just another gangster? The rise of a younger generation of hoods in the form of the gun-toting pre-teens known as "the Runts" presents us with the specter of never-ending violence. What is the future of the favela at the end of the movie? What could stop the vicious circle? What decision does Rocket make about his photographs at the end? Is this what you would have done?

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

  • Tomatometer®

    reviews counted: 28
    see all City of God reviews
  • Audience


Top Critic Reviews


- Adam Fendelman,, Friday, April 4, 2008

Fresh: The living conditions it projects are as horrendous as I had feared, but the movie is surprisingly easy to take as a rollicking homicidal entertainment.

- Andrew Sarris, New York Observer, Thursday, March 11, 2004

Fresh: Traffic was brilliant fiction, but City of God proves that true stories often pack the most punch.

- Bill Muller, Arizona Republic, Friday, March 7, 2003

Audience Reviews

4 stars

I like narrative movie and I was shock that this movie base on true story.A shocking and disturbing, but always compelling look at life in the slum dog of Rio de Janiero.

- fb1019018362, Friday, April 5, 2013

4 stars

If you run it will get you. If you stay it will eat you. Great Film!!! Not only are the characters in City of God absolutely fascinating, and also very endearing, but also convincingly acted by groups of young and unknown actors. The stories are well-told, and at times, funny, and at others, brutally shocking. The cinematic style of the film gives a nod to Tarantino, with some clever time-jumping, freeze-framing, and texts indicating another chapter of the film. In every sense, a bit of a Brazillian "Pulp Fiction" or "Goodfellas", but with its own unique flavour to it. The City of God is a marvel, and a highly recommended film to watch, but not recommended for the over-sensitive or easily distressed. 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 Z has prospered very well and owns the city. He causes violence and fear as he wipes out rival gangs without mercy. His best friend Ben 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.

- MANUGINO, Friday, August 24, 2012

4 stars

Following the lives of a group of friends and their extended circle growing up in the slums of Rio De Janeiro, this story will strike a chord with the poor and desperate around the world. Honest and hardworking Rocket slaves away for a pittance while watching brutal hoods take everything they want without conscience with the authorities caring little for this unwanted underclass so the ruthless run free to perpetuate an endless cycle of violence when desperation gives way to greed. This film is a stunning experience as you watch children play cops and robbers with real guns as only the most coldblooded and heartless survive; the cinematography is truly gorgeous, almost too much so considering the subject matter. The performances are also totally convincing all round, even to the smallest child. Direction is similarly flawless, brilliantly revisiting characters and plot points at strategic intervals and masterfully recreating a sense of time passing and the evolution of this criminal "dynasty", only for it to be shockingly ended by the next generation. Add to this the fact that this story is actually true and you have a film of incredible resonance. One of the best crime stories you will ever see.

- garyX, Thursday, August 2, 2012