Rio in Film

Rio is a beautiful city and this hasn’t been missed by film makers, with many films shot partly or completely in Rio. Here’s a few of the films that use the city as a backdrop:


Rio is only in a short section of this Roger Moore outing as Jame Bond, but the fight atop the Sugar Loaf mountain cable car with Jaws is one of the more memorable scenes in the film, and provides fantastic views of Sugar Loaf mountain itself, as well as Botafogo and Copacabana in the background.


City of God (Cudade de Dios)

This 2002 hard hitting drama, loosely based on real events, is set in the neighbourhood of Cidade de Dios, in the west of the city, and tells the story of two drug dealers in the suburb from them growing up at the tail end of the 60s to the beginnings of the 80s when they are rivals attempting to control the neighbourhood.  The area was built as part of a government programme to resettle people out of the favelas in the city and into the suburbs. Most of the actors in the film were locals who lived in Cidade de Dios or in other favelas around the city.

The film is currently #21 in the IMDb Top 250 list.


Blame It On Rio

This is a pretty bad comedy with Michael Caine falling in love with his friend’s daughter while they’re on holiday in Rio. It’s in the typical 80s “bedroom farce” genre, but it does have some stunning views of the city in the background. It’s also one of the earliest roles for Demi Moore. You can tell that Michael Caine regretting making it even while still filming.

Beware that there’s a brief topless shot in the trailer, so probably best to avoid watching it at work.


The Incredible Hulk

The 2008 Edward Norton outing for the Hulk has a short section at the beginning of the film based in Rio, with Dr Bruce Banner hiding out in the Brazilian city after the events of the previous film, with him working in a drink bottling plant and attempting to control his anger. There’s also a chase scene through the Rocinha favela, although the exterior scenes were filmed in the┬áTavares Bastos favela. The best part of this film is, by far, the slow low-level helicopter tracking shot up the hillside that Rocinha favela sits on. You can see a brief clip of this seen at 12 seconds into the trailer. Unfortunately, I was unable to find a larger clip.



I wasn’t sure if I should include this film on the list, as it’s an animated film, but it does have many exterior shots of many famous places in the city, so I’m going to allow it. It follows the story of a rare bird taken to Rio to mate with the only other bird in the species, and hijinks happens when they escape from their cage.


Which of your favourite films set in Rio have I missed off this list? Which films should I watch set in the city? Let me know in the comments below.

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