Bicycle Thieves

Bicycle Thieves
Italian theatrical release poster
Directed byVittorio De Sica
Produced byErcole Graziadei, Sergio Bernardi, Count Cicogna[1]
Screenplay byVittorio De Sica
Cesare Zavattini
Suso Cecchi d'Amico
Gherardo Gherardi
Oreste Biancoli
Adolfo Franci
Story byLuigi Bartolini
Music byAlessandro Cicognini
CinematographyCarlo Montuori
Edited byEraldo Da Roma
Produzioni De Sica[2]
Distributed byEnte Nazionale Industrie
Joseph Burstyn & Arthur Mayer (US)
Release date
  • 24 November 1948 (1948-11-24) (Italy)
  • 12 December 1949 (1949-12-12) (U.S.)
Running time
93 minutes
Budget$81,000 or $133,000[citation needed]
Box office$371,111 (domestic gross)[3]

Bicycle Thieves (Italian: Ladri di biciclette; sometimes known in the United States as The Bicycle Thief)[4] is a 1948 Italian drama film directed by Vittorio De Sica. The film follows the story of a poor father searching post-World War II Rome for his stolen bicycle, without which he will lose the job which was to be the salvation of his young family.

Adapted for the screen by Cesare Zavattini from a novel by Luigi Bartolini, and starring Lamberto Maggiorani as the desperate father and Enzo Staiola as his plucky young son, Bicycle Thieves is widely regarded as a masterpiece of Italian neorealism.It received an Academy Honorary Award (most outstanding foreign language film) in 1950 and, just four years after its release, was deemed the greatest film of all time by Sight & Sound magazine's poll of filmmakers and critics;[5] fifty years later the same poll ranked it sixth among the greatest-ever films.[6]It is also one of the top ten among the British Film Institute's list of films you should see by the age of 14.


In the post-World War II Val Melaina neighbourhood of Rome, Antonio Ricci (Lamberto Maggiorani) is desperate for work to support his wife Maria (Lianella Carell), his son Bruno (Enzo Staiola) and his small baby. He is offered a job of pasting advertising bills but tells Maria that he cannot accept because the job requires a bicycle. Maria resolutely strips the bed of her dowry bedsheets‍—‌prized possessions for a poor family‍—‌and takes them to the pawn shop, where they bring enough to redeem Antonio's pawned bicycle.

On his first day of work, Antonio is atop a ladder when a young man (Vittorio Antonucci) snatches the bicycle. Antonio gives chase but is thrown off the trail by the thief's confederates. The police warn that there is little they can do. Advised that stolen goods often surface at the Piazza Vittorio market, Antonio goes there with several friends and Bruno. They find a bicycle that might be Antonio's, but the serial numbers do not match.

At the Porta Portese market, Antonio and Bruno spot the thief with an old man. The thief eludes them and the old man feigns ignorance. They follow him into a church where he too slips away from them.

In a subsequent encounter with the thief, Antonio pursues him into a brothel, whose denizens eject them. In the street, hostile neighbours gather as Antonio accuses the thief, who conveniently falls into a fit for which the crowd blames Antonio. Bruno fetches a policeman, who searches the thief's apartment without result. The policeman tells Antonio the case is weak‍—‌Antonio has no witnesses and the neighbors are certain to provide the thief with an alibi. Antonio and Bruno leave in despair amid jeers and threats from the crowd.

On their way home, they near Stadio Nazionale PNF football stadium. Antonio sees an unattended bicycle near a doorway and after much anguished soul-searching, instructs Bruno to take the tram to a stop nearby and wait. Antonio circles the unattended bicycle and jumps on it. Instantly the hue and cry is raised and Bruno – who has missed the tram – is stunned to see his father pursued, surrounded and pulled from the bicycle. As Antonio is being muscled toward the police station, the bicycle's owner notices Bruno and in a moment of compassion tells the others to release Antonio.

Antonio and Bruno then walk off slowly amid a buffeting crowd. Antonio fights back tears and Bruno takes his hand. The camera watches from behind as they disappear into the crowd.

Other Languages
čeština: Zloději kol
dansk: Cykeltyven
Deutsch: Fahrraddiebe
Bahasa Indonesia: Pencuri Sepeda
Lëtzebuergesch: Ladri di biciclette
Bahasa Melayu: Filem Bicycle Thieves
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Kradljivci bicikla
svenska: Cykeltjuven