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
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 »
In post-World War II Italy poverty is a dire reality for a large portion of the population. Work is scarce and the opportunities for employment are few and far between. "Ladri Di Biciclette" (translated "The Bicycle Thief") is quietly one of the finest films ever produced. It follows one economically distraught man (Lamberto Maggiorani) who is heading down a desperate path fast. Things look up when he gets a job putting posters on walls in town, but he must sell what few meager possessions he and his family have to buy a bicycle to uphold his end of the business bargain. Naturally tragedy strikes immediately as the title character shows up the very first day Maggiorani is on the job. The police are little help, believing the bicycle is not as important as it really is. Thus Maggiorani and young son Enzo Staiola take it upon themselves to look all over town to try and find the bicycle and bring the thief to justice. "The Bicycle Thief" was originally released in 1948 and won an Honorary Academy Award for Best Foreign Language film the following year (the movie was not released in the U.S. until 1949). It is still a production that strikes deep even today. The lengths and desperate measures that some go through is very evident here. Director Vittorio De Sica crafts a film that is much deeper than it appears on the surface. It examines the human condition and questions society, family, law enforcement, alliances and mental anguish perfectly. "The Bicycle Thief" is an excellent production that has aged well and allows the viewer to think about many subjects that go beyond ordinary cinematic depths. 5 stars out of 5.
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