16 user 25 critic

Death of a Cyclist (1955)

Muerte de un ciclista (original title)
Not Rated | | Crime, Drama, Romance | 27 August 1955 (Italy)
A couple having an affair strike a bicyclist with their car and do not offer aid out of fear of their relationship being exposed.


(as J.A. Bardem)


(as J.A. Bardem), (as L.F. de Igoa)

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Video

2 wins. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Main Street (1956)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A couple of friends decide to have a good time and play a trick on an unmarried woman. Therefore one of them has to pretend to fall in love with her.

Director: Juan Antonio Bardem
Stars: Betsy Blair, José Suárez, Yves Massard
Drama | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

An undertaker gets married to an old executioner's daughter and, although he doesn't like it, must continue the profession of his father-in-law after his retirement.

Director: Luis García Berlanga
Stars: Nino Manfredi, Emma Penella, José Isbert
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

After finding out that North American people are visiting the Spanish villages, the citizens of Villar del Río start preparing themselves to welcome them when they arrive.

Director: Luis García Berlanga
Stars: Lolita Sevilla, Manolo Morán, José Isbert
The Hunt (1966)
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Three men go hunting rabbits during a hot day. Heat and talking about events happened in the past make them angry, until they go totally crazy.

Director: Carlos Saura
Stars: Ismael Merlo, Alfredo Mayo, José María Prada
Placido (1961)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

In a small spanish town, a group of old ladies decide to celebrate Christmas Eve with a "Sit a poor man at your table" dinner: each wealthy household of the town will have a homeless person... See full summary »

Director: Luis García Berlanga
Stars: Cassen, José Luis López Vázquez, Elvira Quintillá
Poachers (1975)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
Director: José Luis Borau
Stars: Lola Gaos, Ovidi Montllor, Alicia Sánchez
El Sur (1983)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

The movie tells a melancholic story of a little girl who is living in a city in the north. She is fascinated by the secrets of the south which seem to be hidden in the personality of her ... See full summary »

Director: Víctor Erice
Stars: Omero Antonutti, Sonsoles Aranguren, Icíar Bollaín
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Rodolfo and Petrita each live in separate quarters in dilapidated Madrid, while looking to have a little apartment (or "pisito", in Spanish dialect). Unfortunately their low salaries ... See full summary »

Directors: Marco Ferreri, Isidoro M. Ferry
Stars: Mary Carrillo, José Luis López Vázquez, Concha López Silva
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

Spain, 1960's. People from a very poor family work in the country, at the service of a rich family of landowners...

Director: Mario Camus
Stars: Alfredo Landa, Terele Pávez, Belén Ballesteros
Cria Cuervos (1976)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

In Madrid, the orphan sisters Irene, Ana and Maite are raised by their austere aunt Paulina together with their mute and crippled grandmother after the death of their mother and their ... See full summary »

Director: Carlos Saura
Stars: Geraldine Chaplin, Mónica Randall, Florinda Chico
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Professor Jorge Serra Hamilton, an American scientist specialist in the atomic bomb, flees from their transcendental duties, in order to take shelter incognito and for a time in the idyllic... See full summary »

Director: Luis García Berlanga
Stars: Edmund Gwenn, Valentina Cortese, Juan Calvo
Surcos (1951)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

The struggles of a Spanish family as it emigrates from the country to Madrid circa 1950.

Director: José Antonio Nieves Conde
Stars: Luis Peña, María Asquerino, Francisco Arenzana


Cast overview, first billed only:
María José de Castro (as Lucia Bose)
Alberto Closas ...
Juan Fernández Soler
Bruna Corrà ...
Matilde Luque Carvajal (as Bruna Corra)
Carlos Casaravilla ...
Rafael Sandoval dicho Rafa
Otello Toso ...
Miguel Castro
Alicia Romay ...
Julia Delgado Caro ...
Doña Maria
Matilde Muñoz Sampedro ...
Vecina del ciclista muerto
Mercedes Albert ...
José Sepúlveda ...
Comisario (as Jose Sepulveda)
José Prada ...
Decano (as Jose Prada)
Fernando Sancho ...
Sargento policía tráfico
Manuel Alexandre ...
Jacinto San Emeterio ...
Manuel Arbó ...
Padre Iturrioz (as Manuel Arbo)


Juan is an academic, his career stalled, teaching at the university because of his brother-in-law's prestige. María José is a socialite, married to wealth, bored but attached to her comforts. The two are lovers. On an isolated country road, their car strikes a cyclist; fearing exposure, they leave him to die. Distracted, Juan unjustly fails a student. Rafa, a bitter savant in their social circle, hints that he knows something, and he threatens to expose them to María José's husband, Miguel. Miguel's pride may be the lovers' best hope. Then Juan proposes a solution. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Not Rated | See all certifications »





Release Date:

27 August 1955 (Italy)  »

Also Known As:

Age of Infidelity  »

Box Office


ESP 472,773 (Spain)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Italian censorship visa # 19524 delivered on 24-8-1955. See more »


A cameraman's hand is visible in the back seat when Maria Jose is alone in the car towards the end. See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Breaking the Rules - The Formation of a Unique Hybrid of Spanish Cinema
9 January 2008 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Breaking the Rules

Juan Antonio Bardem's Muerte de un ciclista (Death of a Cyclist)

The Formation of a Unique Hybrid of Spanish Cinema

1955. At the height of the cold war, almost twenty years under the Franco regime, Spain, a country fiercely divided by poverty and societal division prepares with the support of the United States, to enter into the United Nations. American investors arrive in Spain for the chance to buy into the developing Spanish economy. Meanwhile on a cold winter's day, dusk is falling and the Sun's dying rays hit the highway. Enrique Arízaga cycles past and off into the outlying horizon. Almost as soon as he has gone out of sight, a screeching of brakes is heard in the distance and a black car slams to a halt around the bend; the cricket chirps. A man jumps out and rushes over. On observing the cyclist is still breathing, he calls over to the woman, inside the car. She gets out and calls back over to him. The woman beckons him again to desert the scene of the accident, leaving the cyclist to die. The car moves off again disappearing towards Madrid.

In the immediacy of its establishing sequence, Juan Antonio Bardem's Muerte de un ciclista (Death of a Cyclist) already outlines the foundations and circumstances behind the film's plot. An adulterous couple, Juan (Alberto Closas) and María José (Lucia Bosè) run down a cyclist on their way back to Madrid after a clandestine meeting in the outskirts. Rather than call for help the couple, fearful of the discovery of their adulterous relationship, flee the scene of the accident. Bardem's film focuses on the tribulations and strains on the characters' relationship from that point onwards and the lengths they go to keep their crimes of adultery and murder under cover.

Spanish director Juan Antonio Bardem (1922-2002) explored and made use of a variety of genres within his early career. In Esa pareja feliz (1951) and ¡Bienvenido Mr Marshall! (1953), both joint ventures with contemporary Luis García Berlanga, Bardem through the conventions of comedy was able to develop a structure of parody and political satire. In Cómicos (1954), Bardem was heavily influenced by the genre of Hollywood melodrama, in particular that of films such as All About Eve (1950), a convention he would continue to develop throughout later films including Calle Mayor (1956).

Throughout Muerte de un ciclista Bardem develops a compound of contrasting style and genre to represent key issues within Spanish society. Prominent themes and genres within the film include film noir and the femme fatale mould, the Hitchcock suspense thriller, Italian neo-realism and soviet montage. Bardem uses these contrasting elements directly after one another in order to create what Marsha Kinder refers to as a 'rupture' within the centrality of the plot of the Hollywood melodrama. In the same way as the unnatural cutting and contrasting imagery Bardem uses, the film is able to ideologically expose corrupt and immoral elements of the Franco regime. The focus of this essay is to explore and to investigate these various elements and analyse the way in which they come together in forming a hybrid that is unique within the history of Spanish cinema.

Through the usage of a variety of contrasting elements and genre Bardem is able to ideologically expose the corrupt elements of the Franco regime. Today Muerte de un ciclista stands as a critique of the conformist values that it ridicules and attempts to tear apart. It breaks all the rules and shows the power of cinema to revolutionise daily life. In the same way as Bardem's characters of María José who breaks the conformist gender rules of Francoist Spain, Matilde who rebels against the institutional system and Juan who goes against the corruption and falseness of his class background, so too does Muerte de un ciclista rebel both by taking a stand against the corrupt Franco regime and also by breaking the rules of mainstream conventional cinema in order to present something vitally fresh and unique in Spanish film. Alfred Hitchcock once noted that it is important to know the limits of commercial cinema. Bardem is able to successfully use a clash of genre to stretch the viewer close to an absolute limit and is subsequently able to breakdown and underline the key political issues surrounding contemporary Spanish society. In the same way as the moral courage that the character of Juan is able to attain, Bardem seeks to signify the same moral fibre that the Spanish regime strove to repress. Like the broken window imagery that Bardem puts forward towards the end of the film, so too does a hole within the melodramatic centrality serve as a central element within the film's plot in order to be clashed with and torn apart. It is through this hybrid and "rupture" of genre that Juan Antonio Bardem's Muerte de un ciclista has been able to create a quintessential feat in Spanish cinema.

Harrison Cohen

"What need we fear who knows it, when none can call our power to account?" – Lady Macbeth

13 of 20 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Title Changes dshortt-1
Discuss Death of a Cyclist (1955) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: