Archive of films The Elite Squad / Tropa de elite

Brazil / Argentina
2007, 118 min

Section: Horizons
Year: 2008

An action drama from the drug-run favelas of Rio de Janeiro, a city that the gods have definitively abandoned. Where does the law end and vengeance take over? The film won the Golden Bear at the Berlin IFF and became the box-office hit of the year in Brazil in spite of its leakage onto the pirate DVD market.


Nascimento, a young police officer awaiting his first child with his wife, is assigned to head an elite squad battling drug gangs in a Rio de Janeiro favela. His professionalism so amazes young Neto and Matias that they sign up for training for Nascimento’s unit. The captain needs to consolidate the young men’s drive and intellect to give himself an adequate replacement that will let him get back to his family. In such a risky setting, however, there is no time for plans for the future. The Elite Squad is the first Brazilian film to take a thorough look at the drug trade from the point of view of the police and to ask just how far upholders of the law can go. The boundaries between victim and culprit begin to blur, and, with them, the perception of the competence of the elite BOPE unit’s crackdowns. Many members of the crew of City of God (2002) contributed to the film, which is every bit as electric as Black Hawk Down (2001).

About the director

José Padilha (b. 1967, Rio de Janeiro) graduated from his hometown university and was also a student at Oxford. After gaining experience as a producer and director of television documentaries, he made the film Bus 174 (2002), which was shown in the documentary competition of the Karlovy Vary festival in 2003 and, among other prizes, won the Audience Award and the FIPRESCI prize at the Rio de Janeiro IFF. In the KVIFF’s documentary competition in 2005, festival audiences had the opportunity to see the film Estamira (2004, Best Documentary, KVIFF 2005), which Padilha produced with Marcos Prado, his partner from the production company Zazen Produções, who directed the film. The Elite Squad ties in to the social themes of Padilha’s documentaries and is his feature film debut.


Palace Pictures
Vodičkova 19, 110 00, Praha 1
Czech Republic
Tel: +420 210 083 527
Fax: +420 224 239 162

The Weinstein Company
345 Hudson St., 13th Floor, 100 14, New York
United States of America
Tel: +1 646 862 3402
Fax: +1 917 368 6986

About the film

Color, 35 mm

Section: Horizons
Director: José Padilha
Screenplay: José Padilha, Rodrigo Pimentel, Bráulio Mantovani
Dir. of Photography: Lula Carvalho
Music: Pedro Bromfman
Editor: Daniel Rezende
Producer: Marcos Prado, José Padilha
Production: The Weinstein Company
Cast: Wagner Moura, André Ramiro, Caio Junqueira, Milhem Cortaz, Fernanda Machado, Maria Ribeiro, Paulo Vilela, Fernanda de Freitas, André Mauro
Contact: Palace Pictures, The Weinstein Company
Distributor: Palace Pictures


Andrea Machalíková


David Horáček

Cinema Representative

Alexander van Dülmen



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