Bicycle Thieves

D: Vittorio de Sica
Produzioni De Sica/Mayer/Burstyn (Vittorio de Sica)
Italy 🇮🇹 1948
89 mins


W: Cesare Zavattini [based on the novel by Luigi Bartolini]
DP: Carlo Montuori
Ed: Eraldo Da Roma
Mus: Alessandro Cicognini

Lamberto Maggiorani (Antonio Ricci), Lianella Carell (Maria Ricci), Enzo Staiola (Bruno Ricci), Elena Altieri (The Fortune Teller), Vittorio Antonucci (The Thief)

If films were regarded in the same way as classic paintings, Bicycle Thieves is on a par with The Mona Lisa. Vittorio de Sica's film is the very epitome of foreign language cinema, utilising such strong imagery that it's entirely possible to follow the story even without the aid of subtitles or knowing the spoken language. 
In post-WWII Italy, an unemployed labourer is offered work putting up cinema billboards around Rome, a job which requires the use of his bicycle. Halfway through his first day, his bike is stolen and the police are reluctant to help. The following day, he and his young son search the city and are frequently met with hostility by the people they meet.
Though the story is a relatively simple one, it plays out like a Greek tragedy, with the bicycle as metaphor for a man's dignity in the eyes of his child.
Perhaps the most remarkable thing is the performance of the two main actors, played by non-professionals but thoroughly convincing throughout the films running time.
One of the all-time greatest foreign language films.

Enzo Staiola & Lamberto Maggiorani in Bicycle Thieves
Enzo Staiola & Lamberto Maggiorani in Bicycle Thieves
Did You Know:
Sergio Leone worked as an assistant for Vittorio De Sica during the filming of this movie. He also has a short appearance as one of the priests that are standing next to Bruno and Antonio during the rainstorm.