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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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In post-war Italy, a working-class man's bicycle is stolen. He and his son set out to find it.



(story), (novel) | 7 more credits »
4,907 ( 181)
Top Rated Movies #97 | Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 18 wins. See more awards »



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


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 | thief | job | italy | search | See All (212) »


The Prize Picture They Want to Censor!




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 USA:

$11,845, 4 October 1998, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$332,930, 5 September 1999
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


| (DVD edition)

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


On one of the shooting days, David Lean showed up to watch Vittorio De Sica film an outdoor sequence and was greatly impressed with how he handled the crowds in the street. See more »


[All goofs for this title are spoilers.] See more »


Antonio Ricci: "There's a cure for everything except death."
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Simple, Powerful Film Survives
18 April 2000 | by See all my reviews

There's not much that can be said about "The Bicycle Thief" that hasn't already been expressed. It is considered a great work of the Italian cinema, and looking at it in its 1999 release version, one can see why.

Structurally, it's a theme and variations, with such a simple, clearly stated main motif that one can identify and follow its mutations with no effort. DeSica is clearly the fine craftsman here, directing every scene with a beautiful sense of control and balance.

His work with young Enzo Staiola (as Bruno) is especially commendable, and he allows then nonprofessionals Lamberto Maggiorani (as Antonio) and Lianella Carell (as Marie) to act in a model of naturalism.

Carlo Montuori's photography is brilliant, and Antonio Traverso's production design is pungent and atmospheric. Like most "masterpieces," a film-classic score provides emotional depth in a subliminal way: here it's a romantic, Italianesque original composition by Aessandro Cicognini wraps up the entire production.

DeSica's career is most impressive, being involved in nealy 200 films, 165 of them as an actor. This film remains one of his greatest achievements. It seems to be standing the test of time very nicely, too. It's been criticized, sometimes quite severely, and just continues to bounce back, winning new admirers with each reissue. The public just won't let "The Bicycle Thief" fade away. That alone tends to override any negative factors. It looks like this film is going to be around for quite a while. ###

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