Bicycle Thieves (1948)

Original Title

Ladri di biciclette




Vittorio De Sica




Lamberto Maggiorani, Enzo Staiola, Lianella Carell, Elena Altieri, Gino Saltamerenda, Vittorio Antonucci, Giulio Chiari, Michele Sakara, Fausto Guerzoni, Carlo Jachino, Massimo Randisi, Ida Bracci Dorati, Peppino Spadaro, Mario Meniconi, Checco Rissone, Giulio Battiferri, Sergio Leone, Memmo Carotenuto


In postwar Italy, Antonio Ricci (Lamberto Maggiorani) has been workless for two years when he is offered a job hanging up posters. But soon his bicycle is stolen and, along with his son (Enzo Staiola) walks the streets of Rome looking for the bicycle.


What can I say about "Bicycle Thieves" that hasn't been said already? Okay, maybe I should approach this differently. What can I say about this film that does it justice? Well, let me see. It is a simple yet powerful film. It is a heartbreaking masterpiece of Italian neo-realism. It is simply one of the best films ever made. A film that every movie lover should watch.

In only 1 hour and a half, Vittorio De Sica does a lot of things. He shows how important yet hard it is to find a job in the immediate postwar, he shows a country, Italy in this case, in a moment of transition and he beautifully portrays the relationship between a father and his son, all while telling the simple story of a man fighting against society while pursuing justice.

De Sica also does make a great social commentary of a country that either isn't working or is working against you, and captures the Italian reality very well. Sadly nothing has changed ever since, it's the same reality we, Italians, face today, with unemployment through the roof and men deprived of their dignity.

De Sica masterfully directs every scene and with an emotionally detached camera shows the postwar Italy in a dramatic yet authentic way, without pointless pity. So "Bicycle Thieves" is not just the drama of a man, but the drama of a whole nation that despite everything still has hope for the future.

At last but not least there's the cast. I didn't say actors because De Sire chose real people, not actors, to portray the character in the film, providing the film with further realism. As I was saying, the cast does a wonderful job, from Lamberto Maggiorani in the role of the family man to, and especially, Enzo Staiola who plays Maggiorani's son with such genuinity.

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