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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.

Director:

Vittorio De Sica

Writers:

Cesare Zavattini (story), Luigi Bartolini (novel) | 7 more credits »
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4,933 ( 218)
Top Rated Movies #97 | Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 18 wins. See more awards »

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An elderly man and his dog struggle to survive on his government pension in Rome.

Director: Vittorio De Sica
Stars: Carlo Battisti, Maria Pia Casilio, Lina Gennari
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Lamberto Maggiorani ... Antonio
Enzo Staiola ... Bruno
Lianella Carell Lianella Carell ... Maria
Elena Altieri Elena Altieri ... The Charitable Lady
Gino Saltamerenda Gino Saltamerenda ... Baiocco
Giulio Chiari Giulio Chiari ... The Beggar
Vittorio Antonucci Vittorio Antonucci ... The Thief
Michele Sakara Michele Sakara ... Secretary of the Charity Organization
Fausto Guerzoni Fausto Guerzoni ... Amateur Actor
Emma Druetti Emma Druetti
Carlo Jachino 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:

thief | theft | despair | church | chase | See All (215) »

Taglines:

The Prize Picture They Want to Censor!

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Italy

Language:

Italian

Release Date:

13 December 1949 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Bicycle Thieves See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$133,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$11,845, 4 October 1998, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$36,818, 31 December 2009
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Goofs

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

Quotes

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

Connections

Referenced in Inside the Actors Studio: Martin Scorsese (2002) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Powerful and dramatic
1 August 2004 | by FilmOtakuSee all my reviews

It is post-war Rome and much of the city's residents are impoverished and desperate for work. One man named Ricci who haunts the job lines day after day to provide for his wife and two children, when suddenly his name is called for a well-paying city job. The only catch is that he needs a bicycle for the job, and he has just pawned his bicycle in order to feed his family. Thus begins `The Bicycle Thief', Vittorio de Sica's gritty study in realism. Ricci and his wife sell the sheets off of their beds to get the bicycle back, only to have the bicycle stolen on his first day on the job. In order to keep the job, he and his young son walk around Rome, desperate to find the thief, and more importantly, the bicycle before his next day of work.

de Sica chose non-actors to portray the characters in the film, favoring a further realistic vision by casting amateurs. The result is remarkable, because the pain and emotions conveyed are so true. The relationship between father and son is also compelling and endearing, in that for the most part, Ricci treats his son as an equal, letting him in on his innermost thoughts and fears, until the end, when a particular event causes him to be ashamed, and the roles become defined once again.

`The Bicycle Thief' personifies the refreshing fact that European cinema was more daring and also true in their reaction to post-war life. While America was trying to paint a heavy coat of rosy paint on the times by churning out the saccharine MGM musicals by the dozen, Europe was showing that the effects of a war fought on their home turf did not inspire moments of spontaneously breaking into song, or a choreographed dance number, rather life pretty much sucked, but survival, as difficult and ugly as it can be, is most important. `The Bicycle Thief' has been a critical favorite for decades, and for good reason. It is a must-see film for any cinephile.

--Shelly


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