The recent international success of films such as "Central Station" and "City of God" has stimulated widespread interest in Brazilian film. This study provides insight into the Brazilian films that have most captured the imagination of domestic audiences over the years. This book focuses on individual films in their socio-historical context, drawing on extensive fieldwork in Brazil and Latin America. It argues that Brazilian cinema has almost always been grounded in intrinsically home-grown cultural forms dating back to the nineteenth century, including the Brazilian music hall, the traveling circus, radio shows, carnival, and, later, comedy television. Combining a chronological structure with new research and a lively approach, Popular cinema in Brazil is the ideal introduction to Brazilian cinema.