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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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Top Rated Movies #98 | Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 18 wins. See more awards »

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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

Prospective producer David O. Selznick originally proposed casting Cary Grant as the lead. Vittorio De Sica countered with a request for Henry Fonda before deciding to cast all amateur actors. 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 Children of Heaven (1997) 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 MisterWhiplashSee 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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