Capoeira in popular culture

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capoeirista performing an Aú Batido

The Brazilian martial art of Capoeira, noted for its acrobatic movements and kicks, has been featured in numerous films, TV shows and video game series.


  • Cordão de Ouro (1977) is also the title of a futuristic Brazilian movie. Capoeira is central to the plot,[citation needed] and the movie stars several well-known Mestres, such as Nestor Capoeira and Mestre Camisa.
  • Rooftops, a 1989 film, is a film based around street kids who use dance fights to settle arguments and as a form of entertainment. One of the kids sees a capoeira group and starts to integrate it into his dance.
  • Only the Strong, a 1993 film following a former Green Beret turned teacher in Miami who uses Capoeira to teach his students discipline and ultimately faces off with the local gang.
  • Kickboxer 4: The Aggressor, a 1994 martial arts action film, featured a tournament with fighters of many styles. One such fighter is a capoerista played by Mestre Joselito "Amen" Santo, who trained Mark Dacascos and played his mestre in Only the Strong.
  • The Quest, a 1996 martial arts tournament film featured a capoerista played by Mestre Cesar Carneiro.
  • Bangkok Knockout, a 2010 Thai martial-arts action film. There is a fight between one of the main characters and a man who uses moves from capoeira.
  • Vincent Cassel, a proficient Capoeira practitioner showcased his skills in Ocean's Twelve (2004) to evade and bypass an advanced laser-based security system.[1]
  • When Bernie Focker (Dustin Hoffman) first appears in Meet the Fockers, he is practicing capoeira.
  • In the 2005 movie The Protector, the main character Kham, played by Tony Jaa, fights enemies that all are masters of a different art. He faces a fearsome man who specializes in Capoeira, played by Lateef Crowder.
  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005) wizards from the Durmstrang school display some Capoeira moves.
  • Mestre Bimba: A Capoeira Illuminada (2006) is a documentary about Mestre Bimba and Capoeira.[2]
  • Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008) includes capoeira in the "cemetery warriors" scene.
  • The 2009 movie BESOURO is based on the story of a legendary fighter and practitioner in Capoeira history who goes by the same name as the title starring Aílton Carmo as Besouro. It includes extensive capoeira fighting scenes.[3][4][5]
  • In the 2010 film Undisputed III: Redemption, Lateef Crowder plays Brazilian character Santiago Silva, a capoeira-trained fighter, and has two fight scenes against a Grecian and a Russian fighter, the later protagonist Yuri Boyka played by Scott Adkins.
  • Many of Wesley Snipes' action films include scenes involving capoeira, as it is one of several martial arts he practices.[6]
  • The French Connection, a company which is a prolific producer of gay pornographic videos, has released at least twenty-seven Capoeira-themed films.[7]
  • In Rio 2 two turtles perform this martial art when auditioning for "Amazon Untamed" a contest held by Pedro, Nico, Rafael and Carla. The performance is so long however they all fall asleep before it's even over. They later appear again during the climax to help defeat the loggers.
  • The 2015 film Get Hard stars Will Ferrell and sees Ferrell clumsily engaging in capoeira.
  • In Sultan (2016), Salman Khan is seen fighting against an opponent using Capoeira.
  • The 2016 documentary Resilience is set in a shantytown of Brazil, where a man refuses to let his physical disability prevent him from living a full life, becoming the first known capoeira master with paralyzed legs and to fulfill his dream of being able to live with his son.
  • Mindhorn (2017) shows the eponymous lead character, played by Julian Barratt, applying his dubious grasp of Capoeira moves to avoid an entire clip of bullets being fired at him.
  • Thor: Ragnarok (2017) shows the lead character Hela (comics), played by Cate Blanchett, using Capoeira moves to fight her enemies.
  • Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle has capoeira as a special skill of the avatar Ruby Roundhouse.
  • In the movies Captain America: Civil War, Black Panther, and Avengers: Infinity War, capoeira is one of several African martial artists that T'Challa utilizes in combat.



  • Batman is said to be trained in all "127 major martial arts". The DC Ultimate Guide to the character mentions Capoeira by name as one of these, as well as the Greg Rucka novelization to the "No Man's Land" story arc. Other characters in Batman's canon are also seen using capoeira-like movements, including, notably, the most recent Batgirl, Cassandra Cain, although it is noted that she has no dominant style. Her natural ability of reading movement, however, and her resulting dodges are very similar to capoeira principles.
  • In the manga series, Black Lagoon, the character Fabiola Iglesias is a master practitioner of the art.
  • In Brazil, the heroes "Meia lua, o Rei da Capoeira" (Half Moon, King of Capoeira), "Corcel Negro" (Corcel Black), "Capoeira Negro" (Black Capoeira), "Homem Capoeira" (Capoeira Man) and Carlos da Silva Gimenes of the series Ronin Soul, represent Capoeira.
  • In the Death Note manga series, L uses a fighting style that is based on Capoeira. Death Note Another Note: The Los Angeles BB Murder Cases states that Naomi Misora is also a Capoeirista.
  • In the manga/anime series One Piece, Sanji uses a style of fighting that is partially influenced by the Capoeira fighting style.
  • Fai and Seishiro from the manga/anime series Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle use a kicking-based fighting style clearly influenced by Capoeira.
  • In the novelization of the movie The Incredible Hulk, Bruce Banner uses Capoeira to avoid confrontations with a violent co-worker, and to help him keep the Hulk contained.



  • Breakdancing, developed in the 1970s, has many analogous moves. However, the original breakdancers of the early 1970s based their style primarily on actors in Asian kung fu films, but received some influence because demonstrations of capoeira master Jelon Vieira in New York.[12][13]

Video games[edit]

  • Capoeira Legends: Path to Freedom is a 3D action game created by Brazilian developer Donsoft Entertainment for PC. With a pace a bit more strategic, the game received consultancy by Escola de Capoeira Água de Beber of Mestre Vuê.
  • One of the earliest video games to make use of capoeira was the 1993 Sega Genesis 2D-fighting game Eternal Champions. In this game, the Atlantian warrior Trident applied the technique in combination with several genre-typical supernatural attacks. As with all characters in the game, Trident's biography in the "Information" menu offered a brief description and history of the fighting style.
  • Martial Arts: Capoeira RPG action game created by Twelve Interactive for PC, Xbox 360 and PS3 launch on 25 November 2011.
  • The Fatal Fury game series has two capoeira fighters, Richard Meyer and Bob Wilson, master and student. Richard Meyer was the first fighting game character to use Capoeira.
  • Eddy Gordo and, later, Christie Monteiro are capoeiristas in the Tekken series.
  • The Street Fighter III series had its own capoeirista, Elena.
  • On Rumble Fighter there is a capoiera fighting style you can choose.
  • Online martial arts game Zone 4 has capoeira as a fighter's type to play with.[14]
  • The series online flash games Capoeira Fighter,[15] focuses on the style
  • In Saints Row 2, once it has been unlocked, the player can choose Capoeira as his/her combat style.
  • In The King of Fighters series, besides Richard Meyer and Bob Wilson, Soiree Meira, Momoko and Zarina has the fighting style.
  • The Pokémon Hitmontop is partly based on this fighting style. Its Japanese name, Kapoera, further supports this.
  • In Samurai Jack: The Shadow of Aku, one of the six combo moves that Jack can learn is " sem Mão", a Capoeira move.[16]
  • In the video game Final Fantasy XIII, the character Lightning utilizes a Capoeira kick called meia lua de compasso in the opening cut scene.
  • A pair of aliens known collectively as Capoeira are recurring characters in the Bust A Groove series, incorporating several different Capoeira moves into their dance style.
  • In World of Warcraft, the male troll racial dance animation includes movements based on capoeira.[17][18][19]
  • A capoeira fighter appears as a playable character in the mobile game Crossy Road, who must navigate through the bustling streets of Rio de Janeiro with acrobatic flips. He is among several characters that were added in a Brazil-themed update.
  • In Overwatch, Lucio, a music star from Brazil, has an emote where he performs a dance move based on capoeira.
  • In Spiderman (2018), many of the ground acrobatics used by Spider-man are based on or similar to capoeira.


  1. ^ Thelma Adams (30 November 2011). "Vincent Cassel: A Q&A With the Black Swan Star". Huffington Post. USA. Retrieved 9 March 2011.
  2. ^ "Mestre Bimba - A Capoeira Illuminada". YouTube. 2012-01-29. Retrieved 2015-12-08.
  3. ^ "Live Capoeira". Archived from the original on 16 September 2011. Retrieved 8 December 2015.
  4. ^ "The Assailant (2009)". Retrieved 2015-12-08.
  5. ^ "Capoeira Mandinga Shanghai - New Brazilian action movie "Besouro" (Beetle)". Retrieved 2015-12-08.
  6. ^ "Wesley Snipes: Action man courts a new beginning". Independent. London. 4 June 2010. Retrieved 10 June 2010.
  7. ^ "Frenchconnxxx". Retrieved 2015-12-08.
  8. ^ Metro Golden Mayer. 2001. DVD: StarGate SG-1, Season 5 Boxed Set, Disc 3, Special Feature: SG-1 Video Diary - Christopher Judge 03:18-05:27
  9. ^ [1][dead link]
  10. ^ [2]
  11. ^ Archived from the original on 10 January 2016. Retrieved 19 February 2016. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  12. ^ "Mestre Jelon Vieira" (PDF). Retrieved 2015-12-08.
  13. ^ Edwards, Cutler (2005-10-19). "Kung-Fu Cowboy to Bronx B-Boys: Heroes and the Birth of Hip Hop Culture". Florida State University. Retrieved 2018-08-30.
  14. ^ [3] Archived 18 May 2011 at the Wayback Machine.
  15. ^ "Spiritonin". 30 November 2015. Archived from the original on 13 January 2016. Retrieved 8 December 2015.
  16. ^ Samurai Jack: The Shadow of Aku instruction manual (PlayStation 2). SEGA. 2004. p. 4.
  17. ^ "Dancing - Horde Races".
  18. ^ "World of Warcraft Dance Origins (see 8:27 through 9:01)".
  19. ^ "All World of Warcraft Dances (see 6:17 through 6:33)".