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Bicycle Thieves (1948)

Ladri di biciclette (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama | 13 December 1949 (USA)
2:00 | Trailer

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Set in Post-WWII Italy, a working class man's bicycle is stolen. He and his son set out to find it.



(story), (novel) | 7 more credits »
4,031 ( 198)
Top Rated Movies #90 | Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 18 wins. See more awards »



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Complete credited cast:
Lianella Carell ...
Gino Saltamerenda ...
Vittorio Antonucci ...
The Thief
Giulio Chiari ...
Elena Altieri ...
The Charitable Lady
Carlo Jachino ...
A Beggar
Michele Sakara ...
Secretary of the Charity Organization
Emma Druetti
Fausto Guerzoni ...
Amateur Actor


Ricci, an unemployed man in the depressed post-WWII economy of Italy, gets at last a good job - for which he needs a bike - hanging up posters. But soon his bicycle is stolen. He and his son walk the streets of Rome, looking for the bicycle. Ricci finally manages to locate the thief but with no proof, he has to abandon his cause. But he and his son know perfectly well that without a bike, Ricci won't be able to keep his job. Written by jolusoma

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

bicycle | job | thief | search | poster | See All (211) »




Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

13 December 1949 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Bicycle Thieves  »

Box Office


$133,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$11,845 (USA) (2 October 1998)


$332,930 (USA) (3 September 1999)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (DVD edition)

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Even though Lamberto Maggiorani remained uncomfortable with the mechanics of filmmaking and acting, he nevertheless began to feel a merging of his own identity with that of his character Antonio. Vittorio De Sica later stated that Maggiorani "confessed to me that he had experienced this sensation, acutely and poignantly, in the last scene in the film: Antonio, in a moment of revolt against his cruel fate, attempts robbery and is arrested and maltreated in front of his son. When, through his tears, Lamberto Maggiorani felt his hand seized by little Staiola, it seemed to him that it really was his son who took his hand, and his tears became real tears of burning shame. In a few months of patient effort, I had brought this man to the point of being able to forget himself in his role and to enter fully into the sad story." See more »


Antonio Ricci: [He and his son are at a restaurant; together they notice a nearby table, occupied by an apparently well-off family who seem to be eating quite well] To eat like that, you'd have to earn at least a million a month.
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Referenced in Splendor (1989) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Another one to add to my top 50- a delicate study of desperation in post war Italy
8 April 2003 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Vittorio De Sica's ground/heartbreaking motion picture, The Bicycle Thief, is based on a very simple ideal for a story- man against the elements. In this case the elements are of a society that is often cruel and unforgiving, and that a job in post-war Rome is looked on as the luckiest of good luck charms.

Such a man as presented by De Sica is Maggiorani (an actor who really is the type of actor right off the street), a father of a little boy who gets a job putting up movie posters along some walls in Rome. To do this he needs a bicycle, or the job will be lost, and he gets one following a pawning of linen sheets. Very soon though, the bicycle is stolen, and from there a sad downward spiral unravels for the man and his son as they scour the streets for the bicycle.

While the score adds basic dramatic tension, everything else on the screen is done to such a pitch of neo-realism it's at times shattering, joyful (scene in the pizzeria the most note-worthy), and with a feeling of day-to-day resonance to those who may have not even felt at or below the poverty level in their lives. Credit due to all parties involved, though I don't think the boy Bruno, played by Staiola, gets nearly enough considering his role as a minor coming of age (that moment after the father and son leave the church nearly brought tears to my eyes). A++

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