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
Indian director Anurag Kashyap started his direction career after watching this film. He left University for a career in filmaking. See more »
[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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It is post-war Rome and much of the city's residents are impoverished and
desperate for work. One man named Ricci who haunts the job lines day after
day to provide for his wife and two children, when suddenly his name is
called for a well-paying city job. The only catch is that he needs a
bicycle for the job, and he has just pawned his bicycle in order to feed his
family. Thus begins `The Bicycle Thief', Vittorio de Sica's gritty study in
realism. Ricci and his wife sell the sheets off of their beds to get the
bicycle back, only to have the bicycle stolen on his first day on the job.
In order to keep the job, he and his young son walk around Rome, desperate
to find the thief, and more importantly, the bicycle before his next day of
de Sica chose non-actors to portray the characters in the film, favoring a
further realistic vision by casting amateurs. The result is remarkable,
because the pain and emotions conveyed are so true. The relationship
between father and son is also compelling and endearing, in that for the
most part, Ricci treats his son as an equal, letting him in on his innermost
thoughts and fears, until the end, when a particular event causes him to be
ashamed, and the roles become defined once again.
`The Bicycle Thief' personifies the refreshing fact that European cinema was
more daring and also true in their reaction to post-war life. While America
was trying to paint a heavy coat of rosy paint on the times by churning out
the saccharine MGM musicals by the dozen, Europe was showing that the
effects of a war fought on their home turf did not inspire moments of
spontaneously breaking into song, or a choreographed dance number, rather
life pretty much sucked, but survival, as difficult and ugly as it can be,
is most important. `The Bicycle Thief' has been a critical favorite for
decades, and for good reason. It is a must-see film for any
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