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Bicycle Thieves (1948)
"Ladri di biciclette" (original title)

Not Rated  |   |  Drama  |  13 December 1949 (USA)
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Ratings: 8.4/10 from 85,892 users  
Reviews: 222 user | 127 critic

A man and his son search for a stolen bicycle vital for his job.



(story), (novel), 7 more credits »
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Top Rated Movies #91 | 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 (212) »




Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

13 December 1949 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Bicycle Thieves  »

Box Office

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
See  »

Did You Know?


Vittorio De Sica still hadn't found the ideal actor to play Bruno when filming began. It was while he was shooting the scene in which Antonio searches for his friend who can help him locate the bike that fate intervened. "I was telling Maggiorani something," he recalled, "when I turned around in annoyance at the onlookers who were crowding around me, and saw an odd-looking child with a round face, a big funny nose and wonderful lively eyes. Saint Gennaro has sent him to me, I thought. It was proof of the fact that everything was turning out right." And so little Enzo Staiola was hired on the spot to play Bruno. See more »


Antonio Ricci: I've been cursed since the day I was born.
See more »


Referenced in Film Geek (2005) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Simple, Powerful Film Survives
18 April 2000 | by (Cleveland, Ohio) – 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. ###

37 of 45 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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