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13,117 Ratings

Bicycle Thieves

Ladri di biciclette

Directed by Vittorio De Sica
Italy, 1948


In the depressed post-WWII economy of Italy, a desperate but hopeful family man is on his first day of a new job, when his bicycle, essential to do the work, is stolen. With his wide-eyed son in tow, he sets off to track down the thief. A landmark in the Italian neorealist movement.

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Bicycle Thieves Directed by Vittorio De Sica

Awards & Festivals

Cannes Film Festival

2018 | Cannes Classics

Academy Awards

1950 | Winner: Honorary Award

1950 | Nominee: Best Writing, Screenplay

Locarno International Film Festival

1949 | Winner: Special Prize of the Jury

At nearly every turn, De Sica asks the viewer to consider the nature of theft and to what extent an individual could become a complicit component of systemic thievery. Ultimately, the thefts referenced in the film’s title prove to be not just a description, but also a confession, since the film’s ultimate thief is De Sica himself, who dangles the prospect of the bicycle’s recovery just beyond Antonio’s grasp, almost to the point of cruelty.
March 30, 2016
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Bicycle Thieves wasn’t even that “neo-real,” being a studio film that used back projection and employed a number of supporting-role pros. But it remains one of art film’s most powerful gateway drugs, still haunting in its painful simplicity, laced with the unforgettable behavioral moments that may be De Sica’s greatest claim to posterity.
September 08, 2015
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Revealing the catastrophic impact of seemingly minor events on people who are struggling to subsist, De Sica endows slender side business and incidental pictorial details with high suspense and tragic grandeur. With a keen succession of tracking shots amid crowds at a market and a church, he transforms the sheer scale of the city and the vast number of residents in similarly desperate straits into a symphonic lament for the human condition.
September 07, 2015
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