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Bicycle Thieves (1948)

Ladri di biciclette (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama | 13 December 1949 (USA)
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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.

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(story), (novel) | 7 more credits »
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4,993 ( 491)
Top Rated Movies #96 | Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 18 wins. See more awards »

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Cast

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
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Storyline

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) »

Taglines:

The Prize Picture They Want to Censor!

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

13 December 1949 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Bicycle Thieves  »

Box Office

Budget:

$133,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

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

Gross:

$332,930 (USA) (3 September 1999)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (DVD edition)

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Vittorio De Sica's son Manuel recalled in an interview the filming of scenes in the Piazza Vittorio Emmanuele: "...Papa told me about coming across, early in the morning, the director of photography of the film Carlo Montuori, completely frozen, clinging to his camera, devotedly waiting for the fleeting moment. He had stayed there in order to protect with his whole body the chassis (the magazine of film mounted on the back of the camera) from the rigours of the night. Dawn has a brief duration, and for this reason several days were needed to sew together long sequences which had cost many early forced awakenings for the entire troupe just to get a few minutes of footage...During the filming in Piazza Vittorio, he required the production secretary, Roberto Moretti, to stop the trams passing. Poor Moretti, who did not even have a permit to set up the tripod of the camera on the square, with great presence of mind disguised himself as a tram conductor, and began to redirect all the trams bursting with workers that happened to pass in proximity to the square. Before anyone guessed the reason for the existence of this man in the middle of the crossroads, the shooting was finished and Roberto arrested." See more »

Quotes

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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Connections

Referenced in Friends with Better Lives: The Bicycle Thieves (2014) 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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