Bicycle Thieves

Film Description

  • Year: 1948
  • Length: 89 Minutes
  • Country: Italy
  • Genre: drama
  • Director: Vittorio De Sica
  • Producer: Giuseppe Amato, Vittorio De Sica
  • Screenwriter: Cesare Zavattini
  • Cinematographer: Carlo Montuori
  • Cast: Lamberto Maggiorani, Enzo Staiola, Lianella Carell, Elena Altieri, Gino Saltamerenda

Filmed with a large participation of non-professional actors, it takes its cue from the title of the homonymous novel Bicycle Thieves (1946) by Luigi Bartolini, although it is an original subject by Cesare Zavattini. It is still considered a classic in the history of cinema and is considered one of the greatest masterpieces of Italian neorealism.


Rome, after World War II. Antonio Ricci, an unemployed man, finds a job as a town crier. To work, however, must have a bicycle and his is committed to the Monte di Pietà, so his wife Maria is forced to pawn the sheets to redeem it. Just the first day of work, however, while trying to paste a movie poster, the bicycle is stolen. Antonio runs after the thief, but to no avail. He goes to report the theft to the police and realizes that the police will not be able to help him because of that small and common theft.


Returning home bitter, he realizes that the only possibility is to go looking for the bicycle himself. So he asks for help to one of his fellow party members, who mobilizes his fellow garbage men with whom, at dawn, together with his son Bruno, who works in a gas station, he goes to look for the bicycle: first in Piazza Vittorio and then at Porta Portese, where stolen items are usually resold. However, there is nothing to do: the bicycle, probably dismembered in its parts, is not found.