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Tropa de Elite (The Elite Squad) (2007)



Average Rating: 5.1/10
Reviews Counted: 34
Fresh: 18 | Rotten: 16

Brutal, action heavy, Brazilian cop film with a pointless voiceover. Lacks flair, overdoes the violence and is never quite sure where its morals lie.


Average Rating: 4.2/10
Critic Reviews: 6
Fresh: 2 | Rotten: 4

Brutal, action heavy, Brazilian cop film with a pointless voiceover. Lacks flair, overdoes the violence and is never quite sure where its morals lie.



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Average Rating: 4.1/5
User Ratings: 16,303

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Movie Info

For decades, the South American metropolis of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, has clocked in as staggeringly lethal. Its violence-scarred and blood-strewn ghettos (or "favelas") are regularly patrolled by crazed drug gangs whose open-fire battles with police often spread out onto the main thoroughfares and turn ordinary civilians into casualties. In response, the Brazilian government formed a crack paramilitary force known as the BOPE (Batalhão de Operações Policiais Especiais, or Special Police

Oct 28, 2008

IFC Films - Official Site External Icon

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Latest News on Tropa de Elite (The Elite Squad)

March 1, 2011:
MGM Wants Elite Squad Director for Robocop Remake
Director Jose Padilha ("Elite Squad") is in talks with MGM to helm the "Robocop" remake.
January 28, 2009:
Uni Chooses Jose Padilha for The Sigma Protocol
Universal's deal with the Ludlum estate has started to bear fruit in the form of a film adaptation...


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All Critics (36) | Top Critics (7) | Fresh (18) | Rotten (16)

For nearly two hours, Padilha bombards viewers with senseless, sickening violence for its own sake.

September 19, 2008 Full Review Source: New York Post | Comments (3)
New York Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Elite Squad is a relentlessly ugly, unpleasant, often incoherent assault on the senses from Brazil.

September 19, 2008 Full Review Source: New York Times | Comments (5)
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Elite Squad can't decide whether it wants to pull the lid back on what urban decay has wrought or simply open up a can of whup ass.

September 17, 2008 Full Review Source: Time Out New York | Comment (1)
Time Out New York
Top Critic IconTop Critic

[José Padilha] recariously pitches the squad's brute force as less a necessary evil than the outgrowth of an existing evil -- a no-win situation that mocks liberal ideals and warps conservative pragmatism into domestic terrorism.

September 17, 2008 Full Review Source: Village Voice
Village Voice
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It bears a resemblance to viscerally exciting seventies urban thrillers like The French Connection, in which only the fascists could do what needed to be done.

September 15, 2008 Full Review Source: New York Magazine/Vulture
New York Magazine/Vulture
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It is impressively made, but leaves a nasty taste in the mouth.

August 8, 2008 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A satisfactory enough cop movie, but not one that people will still be name checking years hence

January 13, 2009 Full Review Source: Antagony & Ecstasy
Antagony & Ecstasy

Given that Brazil, as a Latin American moviemaking powerhouse, steadily produces vibrant, vital films of real impact and humanity, it's a crime itself that Elite Squad may be the only Brazilian film that American audiences see this year.

September 25, 2008 Full Review Source: Christian Science Monitor | Comments (2)
Christian Science Monitor

A depressing film that celebrates brute strength as the only means to stem the tide of violence and crime in Rio de Janeiro.

September 20, 2008 Full Review | Comments (4)
Spirituality and Practice

With no star names and a tough subject, it will be hard sell despite being a runaway hit on its home turf.

September 19, 2008 Full Review Source: Boxoffice Magazine | Comments (2)
Boxoffice Magazine

A poor man's City of God that suggests the only answer to the problems of Brazil's slums are blazing guns wielded by a neo-fascist police force.

September 19, 2008 Full Review Source: Film Journal International | Comments (3)
Film Journal International

Trying to address important and serious social issues in this violent world rather than just creating something sensationalistic or exploitative gives Elite Squad an edge over normal police thrillers.

September 18, 2008 Full Review Source:

Elite Squad succeeds at putting the worst of the violent spectacles on screen, primarily through a series of nicely staged shootouts and torture sequences.

September 17, 2008 Full Review Source: New York Press
New York Press

The film's message is that all of society is corrupt, so it doesn't matter who gets killed. It's a propaganda movie that shows no empathy for its characters or for its audience.

September 3, 2008 Full Review Source: | Comment (1)

Padilha succumbs to monotonous, hollow flamboyance with his City of God clone.

September 2, 2008 Full Review Source: Lessons of Darkness
Lessons of Darkness

The moral dilemmas are gripping, but the film takes itself far too seriously to ever connect with us.

August 8, 2008 Full Review Source: Shadows on the Wall
Shadows on the Wall

A film that simply doesn't have enough cinematic flair to make it a better than average cops and robbers thriller.

August 8, 2008 Full Review Source: This is London
This is London

Padilha gets as close to the daily violence as City of God, though this feels more like a documentary than an epic.

August 8, 2008 Full Review Source: Independent

Padilha's style, honed in his hijack documentary Bus 174, is verismo with a vengeance. For two hours the viewer feels as hand-held as the camera, hauled about by the neck.

August 8, 2008 Full Review Source: Financial Times
Financial Times

As for the plot, flashy editing and an over-reliance on jittery handheld cameras mean you'll struggle to tell what's going on - if you haven't already given up by then.

August 8, 2008 Full Review Source: Daily Mirror [UK]
Daily Mirror [UK]

Nothing is clear-cut in this intense brew of brutality, stupidity and genuine tragedy. We're left lamenting that it will go on, unless Brazil engages its brain before its fist.

August 8, 2008 Full Review Source: Total Film | Comments (2)
Total Film

Audience Reviews for Tropa de Elite (The Elite Squad)

This is documentary-style filmmaking at it's most raw and forceful; it'll hit you like a freight train! "Elite Squad" is a landmark of Brazilian cinema. Picking up where "City of God" left off, this film inhabits the same world as that masterpiece but plays by it's own rules and has a fresh new perspective to share. The constant comparisons are almost unjust considering what a singular effort Director Padhilha's movie is. It's got a sense of tension and urgency that most Hollywood action pictures yearn for.
April 25, 2013

Super Reviewer

An excellent and spectacularly entertaining movie. It`s truly terrific to watch and dose not get boring for a minute and keeps you on the edge of your seat. It packs a pure power-punch of intensity that knocks you flat out with its explosive action, strong performances and brutal honesty. Movies don't get more real or more powerful than this. A masterpiece. Director, Jose Padilha crafts an stylish, dark and gripping police drama like no other. A groundbreaking achievement that earns it`s right to be called a classic. A heart-pounding action-packed thrill-ride that's loaded with pulse-pounding drama and thunderous gun-battles that take you to the limit. A total adrenaline-rush from start to finish. A hard-boiled and exhilarating piece of work that deserves attention. It shows that grim reality of gang-related violence, inner city and police politics that the necessary evil they need to achieve their objectives. The cast is extraordinary. Wagner Moura gives a powerful and sensational performance. I loved this movie. It rocks and rocks profoundly.
January 2, 2013

Super Reviewer

In the slums of Rio de Janeiro drugs are the currency of choice and the police are in on the action, but when things get really bad it is the job of the Elite Squad to go in and sort out the mess. We follow Captain Nascimento who is struggling to find a replacement as he wishes to quick for when he becomes a father. Two of the potential new recruits are Matias, a dedicated law student and Neto, a headstrong cop stuck working as a mechanic. The film is a brutal look at the hellish lives in the slums, as well as the danger the police put themselves through everyday. We see the Elite Squad, known as BOPE, acting incredibly tough and shooting to kill, but we never once doubt their methods. The film is a thrilling ride, but it is hampered by what seems like a hastily added voice-over which explains everything that is going on, making long periods of the film sound like an audiobook. It also feels like the first chapter of a much larger story, which in a way is a good sign as it left me wanting much, much more.I enjoyed every single character but I really do think the two new recruits should have been the focus throughout.
December 28, 2012

Super Reviewer

A pair of young recruits join Rio De Janeiro's police "Elite Squad" and are given the task of cleaning up a gang controlled slum before a papal visit. Infernal Affairs meets Full Metal Jacket in this Brazilian crime drama about a police unit that's a cross between SWAT, Internal Affairs and the Gestapo. Matias' transition from idealistic law student to trigger happy storm trooper has some parallels with Michael Corleone's from The Godfather but I'm not 100% sure that the irony was intended by Padhila. The BOPE squad is shown as a bunch of jackbooted thugs who are the only ones who are incorruptible in the face drug money but at the same time their immoral methods make Guantanomo look all warm and fuzzy in comparison. It has a brutal realism in a similar style to City Of God, but it's missing the heart and likeable characters that made you care what happened to them. Its blase attitude toward some pretty distasteful fascistic attitudes may be a little hard to swallow but it has gritty action aplenty and some pretty powerful scenes. A sequel showing the story from the point of view of civilians caught in the crossfire could be fantastic.
October 12, 2012
xGary Xx

Super Reviewer

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Foreign Titles

  • Tropa de Elite (DE)
  • Elite Squad (Tropa de Elite) (UK)
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