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Bicycle Thieves

Vittorio De Sica
Ladri di biciclette
Italy 1948 / 89’
Andrei Konchalovsky's and Víctor Erice's choice

A masterpiece of Italian Neorealism and an absolute classic of world cinema. After World War II, Italy is in ruins, with many of its citizens hungry and unemployed. A lathe operator named Antonio Ricci gets a job at City Hall in Rome, meaning he will finally be able to feed his family. One of the conditions of his employment is that he needs to have a bike. In order to buy one, his wife, Maria, sells their bedsheets. On his first day of work, however, his bike is stolen. Antonio and his son set off in search of the thief. Based on a novel by Luigi Bartolini, master screenwriter Cesare Zavattini included all the characteristic elements of Italian Neorealism, including a so-called return to reality. In Bicycle Thieves, which, after The Children Are Watching Us and Shoeshine, provides further proof of De Sica's talent for working with young and amateur actors, the director manages to show us Roman street life in an impressive way, without any sugarcoating, as well as the struggle of ordinary people to preserve their dignity and a beautiful humanistic message.

Adam Kruk


Oscars 1950 - Honorary Award; Golden Globe 1950 - Best Foreign Film; Locarno IFF 1949 - Special Prize of the Jury

Vittorio De Sica

Vittorio De Sica was a director, actor, and film producer, a four-time Oscar winner, and one of the leading figures in Italian cultural life in the 20th century. He was a successful comedic actor during the Fascist era and one of the individuals who helped restore Italian cinema after the War, which is why, along with screenwriter Cesare Zavattini, he made some of the greatest works of Neorealism, such as Shoeshine, Bicycle Thieves, Miracle in Milan, and Umberto D.

Selected filmography

1941 Teresa Venerdì

1944 Dzieci patrzą na nas / I bambini ci guardano / The Children Are Watching Us

1946 Dzieci ulicy / Sciuscià / Shoeshine

1952 Umberto D.

1960 Matka i córka / La Ciociara / Two Women

1970 Ogród Finzi-Continich / Il Giardino dei Finzi-Contini / The Garden of the Finzi-Continis

Cast & Crew

director Vittorio De Sica
screenplay Cesare Zavattini, Vittorio De Sica, Suso Cecchi d'Amico, Oreste Biancoli, Adolfo Franci, Gerardo Guerrieri, Gherardo Gherardi
cinematography Carlo Montuori
editing Eraldo Da Roma
music Alessandro Cicognini
cast Lamberto Maggiorani, Enzo Staiola, Lianella Carell, Gino Saltamerenda
producer Vittorio De Sica
production Produzioni De Sica (PDS)
sales Mayfly
language Italian
colouration b&w