Luzia arrives in Rio hoping to be able to lead a new life. She hopes to find her boyfriend Jasão, an ex-cattle herder who left the Northeast like her. She finds Jasão, but he pretends that he does not recognize her. Luzia, alone, is forced to accept the protection of Calunga, an unscrupulous do-nothing in search of easy-going love affairs. So, after a while, Calunga drops her into the hands of Inácio, an honest and faithful man from the Northeast. At this point Jasão returns. He says that he has become a bandit, that he is wanted by the police, and that he is still in love with her. He flees without her, but promises that they will meet again. A few months later Luzia reads the newspaper reports of Jasão's exploits as a bandit. Inácio asks her to marry him and to go with him to live in the Northeast. However, Luzia is faithful to Jasão. Calunga brings her a message from him. Jasão will wait for her that night at the boat station. Inácio tells the police where they are to meet. Calunga tries in vain to save Luzia, but she wants to share the end of her life with Jasão.
"In A grande cidade there is somethíng like a lyric indignation, a rhymed rage something like the street literature of the Northeast, a tone of people's opera that comes as much out of Glauber (through his Deus e o Diabo) as much as out of Luchino Visconti (through Rocco and His Brothers)." (Alex Viany)
Plot: Carlos Diegues, Leopoldo Serran.
Director of photography: Fernando Duarte, Dib Lufti.
Editor: Gustavo DahI.
Musica e canzoni: Zé Kéti e brani da Villa-Lobos, Heckel Tavares, Ernesto Nazareth.
Cast and characters: Leonardo Villar (Jasão), Anecy Rocha (Luzia), Antonio "Pitanga" Sampaio (Calunga), Joel Barcellos (Inácio), Hugo Carvana, Maria Lucia DahI.
Production company: Mapa Filmes, Carlos Diegues, Glauber Rocha, Zelito Viana.