Capoeira in movies: the best 10 scenes

From historical movies to highly choreographed martial arts fighting scenes, a few movie directors and actors have taken up the challenge to bring this beautiful and complex art on the large screen. Here we have chosen some of the best ones, so if you’re looking for some capoeira action on the movie screen beyond “Only the Strong”, read on and let us know which ones are your favorites.

Capoeira scenes in movies can be classified into three broad categories of capoeira:

  1. capoeira in its cultural context (Besouro, Cordao de Ouro)
  2. capoeira as a fight technique used in martial arts movies (Ong Bak, Tekken)
  3. capoeira used in modern and mixed cultural contexts (Ocean’s 12, Step Up 3D)

 

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Capoeira in its cultural context

 

Besouro (2009)

 

“Besouro” (released internationally with the title “The Assailant”) is the first movie with international distribution in which capoeira plays a central role in the story. Based on the life of Besouro Magangà in Bahia in the 19th century, the movie has several great capoeira scenes.

 

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Cordao de Ouro (1973)

 

The first fiction movie ever to feature capoeira shot in Brazil in the early 1970’s. In this scene Mestre Camisa (as the son of Oxala) plays with Mestre Nestor Capoeira and baptizes him.

 

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Capoeira in Martial Arts Movies

 

Ong Bak (2003)

 

One of the best martial arts movies of all times, it also has one of the most riveting and best directed capoeira fighting scenes.

 

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Bloodsport 2 (1996)

 

Don’t know about those pants… but great meia lua de compasso!

 

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Undisputed III – The Redemption (2010)

 

The increased popularity of mixed martial arts, has brought capoeira back on the stage again. Lateef Crowder is back with a great choreographed fight that highlights some of the winning capoeira tactics in MMA, and watch out for that a mean tesoura.

 

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Capoeira in contemporary movies

 

Ocean’s 12

 

Spectacular scene, if a tad incredible, it highlights the dexterity and finesse of capoeira angola.

 

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Step Up 3D

 

Yes, romance and capoeira can go together!  The actors trained at the ACC with Instrutor Mucuiu’ for this scene.

 

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City of Lost Souls

 

Thugs and street fighting are part of capoeira history, here is a modern version.

 

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Catwoman (2004)

 

 

Halle Berry trained capoeira for this role, you can see it in this catfight with Sharon Stone as Laurel Hedare.

 

 

O Molho Tem Dendê

This capoeira song by Prof. Pretinho e Prof. Macaco Preto, ABADA Capoeira, is very special to us because it was composed during our Batizado week in 2014.

Sai de casa já tá no pensamento
Vô encontrar meu mestre
Amigos de treinamento
Já sei o que vai acontecer

SE GUNGA CHAMAR
MÉDIO INVERTER
VIOLA CHORAR
MOLHO TEM DENDÊ

Atabaque rufou
Pandeiros tá estalando
Agogô repicou
Bate palmas acompanhando

O canto arrepia
Envolve, maré molência
Emanando energia
Responde o coro nessa cadência

Capoeira agachou
Louvação, pé do berimbau
Na sua crença rezou
Saiu pro jogo, no ritual

Ginga negacia
Faz curva, engana no jogo
Ta perigoso, sapateia
Mandinga quem é mandingueiro

O mestre grita iê
A roda tá acabando
Escuta o que eu vô dizer
Eu volto a qualquer momento

This is a live recording from the Batizado days.

Capoeira Show – Open to Public!

Join us next Wednesday 3/30/2016 for a capoeira performance and samba show!

The show will be followed by an open panel about the culture and history of this fascinating Afro-Brazilian martial art.

ESC Metropolitan Center, 325 Hudson Street, NYC 10013, 6 to 8 pm

capoeira-show-newyork-ESC

 

Capoeira Open Roda Dec 12, 2015

Join us for our open roda on December 12, 2015. All are NYC capoeiristas are welcome.
If interested in just watching, feel free to swing by and learn what Capoeira is all about, and get informed on how you can join in on the fun and discipline of this martial art. See you there!

 

Capoeira roda open to all capoeiristas