‘Bicycle Thieves’

A seminal Italian Neo-Realist film from Vittorio De Sica (Two Women, Marriage Italian Style), the powerful Bicycle Thieves explores the ugly truth of survival in post-war Rome.

Desperate for work to feed his family, impoverished Antonio (Lamberto Maggiorani) finally secures a job – but he needs to use his own bicycle to paste advertising posters around the city. On his first day, the bicycle is stolen. An increasingly desperate Antonio scours the city, helped by his young son, Bruno (Enzo Staiola). But even when he recognises the thief, with no proof, nothing can be done.

In casting non-professional actors, De Sica looks to gritty black and white realism in conveying his story and the emotions behind an ordinary man confronting impossible odds. Bicycle Thieves may be the narrative of one man searching for his stolen property as he walks the streets of Rome, but its scope and the system he is battling is so much wider.

Nominated for 2 Oscars in 1950, including best script (Cesare Zavattini), won 1 (best foreign language film).

Rating: 78%

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