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Top 5 Slum Movies: Best Slum Movies of All Time

Updated on January 18, 2018

My Top 5 Slum Movies

In this lens I present my Top 5 list of slum movies. Please add to the list and vote for your favorite slum movie.

You might like to visit my other lenses on injustice and inequality:

Why I Support the Weak

Let's Change the World

Causes of Poverty in Developing Countries

Are the Rich Killing the Poor?

Poverty: Help Eradicate Poverty

Bill Gates' Karma

Stop Food waste to Help End World Hunger

Photo of Kibera slums (screenshot from documentary on Kibera).

Trailers of best slum movies

Why Slum Movies are Interesting

Slum movies and slum stories reveal a lot about injustice and inequality. Prisons are not only mirrors which reflect the image of society. They also show us how a savage environment and promiscuity can be a hot pot for crime. It is interesting to note that, although tens of millions of people survive in slums around the world, very little effort is being put up to eradicate the problem, as if those inhabitants were outcasts, not forming part of regular societies. Here we see a parallel with prisons, where societies treat their criminals as though they were not their own members, as though they were not the products of their unhealthy state. When I think of prisons and slums, I can't help making another analogy: that with leper colonies which existed for centuries despite the fact that the placing in quarantine of lepers was not necessary. (In fact, there are still many leper colonies throughout the world, including more than 1,000 in India alone, where we have a few of the largest slums of the world.) Slum dwellers are

the modern version of lepers. Living in an environment deprived of infrastructure, proper sanitation, education and healthcare, most of them are forced to survive on robbery, drug-dealing and prostitution, and when this happens, societies look down upon them, societies are happy that they are isolated in ghettos. What would have happened if those criminals lived among us? all the straight people tend to think. Let them stay there! Maybe they will kill one another! Maybe a cholera epidemic will come and get rid of them!

If we want to see the advent of peace, it will not be sufficient to stop wars, to say farewell to arms. It will be necessary to eradicate poverty, which includes the eradication of slums.

Best Slum Movies | Slumdog Millionaire

Jamal Malik, 18, an orphan from the Dharavi slums of Mumbai, is about to win a staggering 20 million rupees on the Indian version of the show "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. He is only one question from victory when police arrest him on suspicion of cheating. Asked to justify his right answers, Jamal explains the origin of his knowledge and his life on the street, his family stories and even that of the girl he fell in love with and whom he lost. But how this young man got to the finals of a TV show? The answer is not part of the "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?", but it is fascinating.

Year of Production: 2008

Directors: Danny Boyle, Loveleen Tandan

Stars: Dev Patel, Freida Pinto and Saurabh Shukla

Slumdog Millionaire won 8 Oscars:

Best Achievement in Cinematography, Best Achievement in Directing, Best Achievement in Film Editing, Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score, Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Song, Best Achievement in Sound Mixing, Best Motion Picture of the Year, Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay

Slumdog Millionaire, based on Q&A, a novel by Vikas Swarup, won eight out of ten Academy Awards for which it was nominated, including the Best Picture and Best Director. It also won seven BAFTA Awards, including Best Film, four Golden Globe Awards, including Best Drama Film, and five Critics' Choice Awards.

Top 5 Slum Movies | City of Joy

Max, a young American surgeon traumatized by the failure of an operation, which resulted in the death of a small girl, decides to stop practicing and to escape to India. Landing in Calcutta, at first he refuses to get involved in the misery that surrounds him. But circumstances will bring him to the heart of the slums. It is in this City of Joy that Max will fight disease, poverty and racketeering along with the poor and help them regain their dignity ...

Year of Production:1992

Director: Roland Joffé

Stars: Patrick Swayze, Pauline Collins, Om Puri, Shabana Azmi

Best Slum Movies | City of God

Living in a squalid favela of Rio de Janeiro, Rocket is an eleven-year old boy. He is poor, frail and too shy to get out-of-law. He grew up in a violent environment, but dreams of becoming a professional photographer. Li'l Zé, a child of the same age, dreams about becoming the greatest criminal of Rio, and begins his apprenticeship with the local underworld ...

Year of Production: 2002

Director: Fernando Meirelles

Stars: Alexandre Rodrigues, Matheus

Nachtergaele, Leandro Firmino, Phellipe Haagensen

Nominated for 4 Oscars

This powerful true story of crime and redemption has won numerous prestigious awards, including the following:

American Film Institute Festival 2002: Audience Award

British Academy Awards 2003: Best Editing, Daniel Rezende

Chicago Film Critics Association 2003: Best Foreign Film

L.A. Film Critics Association 2003: Best Foreign Language Film (Runner-up)

New York Film Critics Circle 2003: Best Foreign Film

Toronto Film Critics Association 2003: Best Foreign Film

Short clip on Dharavi, largest slums of Mumbai

Favela Rising
Favela Rising

Mickey, who is better off, helps the Abramowitz financially. One day, Rita, Mickey's daughter, escapes from the center where she was interned and Vivian's father agrees to take care of her if Mickey pays the rent for a new luxurious apartment.

Now Vivian has to watch her older cousin, prevent her from drinking and using drugs and ensure that she follows her course at the nursing school.

However, Vivian has her own concerns, among other things her father's indifference, the awakening of her own sexuality, embarrassment that her social conditions cause to her ...

Year of Production: 2005

Directors: Matt Mochary, Jeff Zimbalist

Stars: Andre Luis Azevedo, Jose Junior,

Michele Moraes, Anderson Sa


Clip on homelessness in America

Please let us know what you think of slum movies, slums or homelessness

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    • profile image


      4 years ago

      I agree with some others on here, City of God is BY FAR, the best film among these. The rest are great, no doubt. Another I would suggest - Salaam Bombay [Mira Nair; cinema verite]

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Slum Dog Millionaire great movie.

    • cjbmeb14 lm profile image

      cjbmeb14 lm 

      6 years ago

      Slumdog Millionaire was my favorite from your list.

    • Lady Lorelei profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 

      6 years ago from Canada

      You have to wonder though if these movies have helped to improve the conditions in the slums or of the people who live within them.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Slumdog millionere is a cool movie, I think the best of all. I might be biased but I think I'll need to see some more. Which we'll do thanks to your bieut site.

    • avigarret profile image


      6 years ago

      City of God is so many levels above all the others mentioned in my opinion.

      Thanks for sharing this great lens!

    • KannanReddy LM profile image

      KannanReddy LM 

      6 years ago

      Slumdog was a bit harsh but relevant.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Slumdog Millionaire was genius. The movie was brilliant. I'm going to have to check out the other movies you included on this list.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Nice lens on an intriguing subject!

    • vkumar05 profile image


      7 years ago

      They reflect realities that we often do not realize about. Great Lens. Thanks for sharing.

    • cbessa profile image


      7 years ago

      Hey, Raffick, how are you?

      Good to see 2 Brazilian Movies and 3 movies i like a lot in here (Favela Rising, City of God and Slumdog Millionaire).

      Hope more people see these movies and know a little more about favelas/slums!

      See you around.


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