Bus 174 (Ônibus 174) (2003)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

A chronicle exploring what happened in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on June 12th, 2000--Valentine's Day in Brazil--when Bus 174 was highjacked by an armed young man, Sandro do Nascimento, with a dozen passengers. Nascimento, a disillusioned slum-dweller, threatened to kill all of the passengers, but eventually agreed to surrender, as TV cameras were rolling and an entire nation was glued to their screens, watching the event take place. Regardless, a police officer then decided to fire at Nascimento anyway, accidentally killing one of the female passengers instead. What followed was a revolt among the city's population, enraged both at the police brutality and their incompetence. The crowd's reactions were comparable with the Rodney King riots. The documentary captures the media and society's responses to the event. As the chronicle intertwines the story of the standoff, it also presents biographical information about Sandro do Nascimento, which includes: his childhood as a survivor of the "Candelaria" child mass murders in the early 1990s; his subsequent adolescence in which he was sent to horrific juvenile delinquency facilities; as well, his trauma sustained from seeing his mother stabbed to death in front of him.
R (for language, violent images and some drug material)
Art House & International , Documentary , Drama , Special Interest
Directed By:
In Theaters:
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ThinkFilm Inc


Critic Reviews for Bus 174 (Ônibus 174)

All Critics (76) | Top Critics (27)

A tense documentary with multiple layers of meaning.

Full Review… | June 9, 2008
Top Critic

Padilha allows neither easy answers nor ironic commentary, producing on both sides of the conflict a world of inconsolable grief.

Full Review… | May 8, 2007
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Slightly overlong for overseas audiences, José Padilha's film (co-directed by editor Felipe Lacerda) makes it crystal clear why this incident proved so traumatic for many Brazilians.

Full Review… | January 25, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

This smart, absorbing movie, which has been sharply edited by Felipe Lacerda, never feels like it's spreading itself too thin.

March 12, 2004
Miami Herald
Top Critic

An extraordinary portrait of a life lived always in the shadow of despair.

Full Review… | March 5, 2004
Seattle Times
Top Critic

Interviews, images and events accumulate, driving the story to its sad end with the implacable momentum of a Greek tragedy.

Full Review… | February 5, 2004
Dallas Morning News
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Bus 174 (Ônibus 174)


An always gripping, harrowing and thought-provoking documentary that dives deep into an open sore of Brazilian society and exposes some of the most terrible social issues that have been driving out of control a city dominated by violence and indifference.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

The intentions behind making this documentary might be good (i.e. achieving an award :p), but it moves very briskly. The more-than-often-repeated threat by the hijacker to "Set the heat up" made my blood boil. Guess his vocabulary was limited. The documentary is bearable otherwise. And even if the documentary was made with pure intentions, I wonder how long will its message last (assuming that it's not being conveyed to deaf ears), if at all it does.

familiar stranger
familiar stranger

Super Reviewer


A brilliant film that sends shivers down the spine..not in terms of the hostage taking but in terms of the prisons and society that the hostage taker endured. A real gem.

John Ballantine
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer

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