The Bicycle Thief

Watch The Bicycle Thief

"The Prize Picture They Want to Censor!"
  • NR
  • 1948
  • 1 hr 33 min
  • 8.3  (173,025)

The Bicycle Thief is a classic Italian neorealist film from 1948. Directed by Vittorio De Sica, the movie is a poignant portrayal of post-World War II Italy in a time of economic and social upheaval. The story revolves around a father, Antonio Ricci (played by Lamberto Maggiorani), who finally receives a job as a poster-hanger but who then has his bicycle stolen. Without his bike, he cannot keep his job, and the film follows his desperate search for the bike, accompanied by his young son, Bruno (Enzo Staiola).

The film paints a vivid picture of the poverty and hopelessness that plagued Italy at the time. The struggle to find work and provide a basic living for one's family was juxtaposed with the grandeur and beauty of historical architecture and culture. The idea of the family unit comes through strongly in the film, as Antonio's moral compass is frequently tested as he tries to provide for his son, who watches his father's journey with eyes full of naive wonder.

The majority of the film takes place in a bustling Rome, with streets packed with people selling wares, street performers, and the constant din of motorized vehicles, adding to the contrast between the individual and the chaotic city. The camera follows Antonio and Bruno through a maze of narrow alleys, crowded streets, and abandoned buildings as they search for the thief who has stolen Antonio's bike. Despite the challenges, hope remains as each day begins again fresh and full of possibility.

Another significant theme in the movie is the human capacity for empathy, and consequent treatment of those who are struggling. As Antonio and his son crisscross the city, they encounter a range of people - some helpful, some not - in their search for the missing bicycle. The film demonstrates the importance of kindness and compassion in society, and how our treatment of others can impact their lives in profound and lasting ways.

The film also showcases the impact of economic inequality, especially on working-class families, who often have to make difficult choices just to get by. For Antonio, his bicycle was his livelihood, but when it is stolen, he must choose between giving up and surrendering to despair, or continuing to fight for what he believes in. Despite the hardships, there are moments of joy and beauty in the film, as Antonio and his son find comfort in each other in the midst of their struggles.

Perhaps the most significant accomplishment of the film is its ability to capture the essence of the Italian people's resilience and spirit, even in the face of difficult times. Through the universal themes of family, loss, and community, The Bicycle Thief is a timeless masterpiece of storytelling that continues to resonate with audiences today. The film's message about the importance of social and economic justice, and the power of empathy and compassion, is as relevant today as it was over seventy years ago when it was first released.

In conclusion, The Bicycle Thief is a must-see film for anyone interested in the history of cinema or the human condition. The artful cinematography, direction, and acting talent create a poignant and timeless account of life in post-World War II Italy, and its themes of family, hope, and kindness remain as powerful today as they were in 1948.

The Bicycle Thief is a 1948 drama with a runtime of 1 hour and 33 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 8.3.

The Bicycle Thief
Where to Watch The Bicycle Thief
The Bicycle Thief is available to watch free on Tubi TV. It's also available to stream, download and buy on demand at Max, Apple TV and Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent The Bicycle Thief for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 33 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    8.3  (173,025)