Bicycle Thieves (1949)

 ●  English ● 1 hr 33 mins

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Set against the chaotic and complex background of post-World War II Italy, where there is rampant poverty and high unemployment rates, this powerful tale follows the struggles of Antonio Ricci, an unemployed man with a wife and two children to support. Despite his best attempts, he has been unable to find work for two years. When he finally gets a good job of hanging posters, he is elated. However, this work comes with the condition that the employee must own a bicycle. His wife Maria pawns their bed-sheets in order to get money to redeem his bicycle from the pawnbroker. Antonio triumphantly begins working, but to his utter despair the bicycle gets stolen. Will Antonio succeed in convincing the police to investigate into the theft? Can a mere bicycle become instrumental in deciding the fate of Antonio and his family? What will desperation and the fear of starvation incite Antonio to do, and what will the consequences be?
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Did you know? The Swedish title for "Ladri di biciclette" (plural 'thieves') is "Cykeltjuven" (singular 'The Bicycle Thief). Read More
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as Bruno Ricci
as Antonio Ricci
as Maria Ricci
Supporting Actor
Supporting Actor
Supporting Actor
Supporting Actor
as Baiocco
Supporting Actor
as Secretary of the Charity Organization
Supporting Actor





Camera and Electrical

Director of Photography


Music Director


Film Type:
Feature Film
Spoken Languages:
Colour Info:
Black & White
Sound Mix:
Frame Rate:
24 fps
Aspect Ratio:
2.35 : 1, 1.37 : 1
The Swedish title for "Ladri di biciclette" (plural 'thieves') is "Cykeltjuven" (singular 'The Bicycle Thief).

Prospective producer David O. Selznick originally proposed casting Cary Grant as the lead. Vittorio De Sica countered with a request for Henry Fonda before deciding to cast all amateur actors.

The film is frequently on critics' and directors' lists of the best films ever made. It was given an Academy Honorary Award in 1950, and, just four years after its release, was deemed the greatest film of all time by the magazine Sight & Sound's poll of filmmakers and critics in 1952. The film placed sixth as the greatest ever made in the latest directors poll, conducted in 2002.

Vittorio De Sica claimed he selected the actors for the characters of both Bruno and Antonio because of their walks.

Lianella Carell was a journalist who came to interview Vittorio De Sica when they were looking for someone to play the role of Maria. But, when De Sica saw her, he instantaneously decided that she would play Maria for the movie.

For his cast, Vittorio De Sica chose a factory fitter who had brought his son along for an audition as his male lead. His lead actress was a journalist who had approached him for an interview, while the young boy was filled by a child spotted in the crowd watching the filming.

The actors in the film were all amateurs. Vittorio De Sica decided not to use professionals.

Lead actor Lamberto Maggiorani really did struggle for work after this film was completed.

There's a scene later in the movie where Bruno is nearly run over twice while crossing the street. This was absolutely unrehearsed - it was filmed on location and the two cars happened to pass by at that time.

The movie director Sergio Leone worked as an assistant for Vittorio De Sica during the filming of this movie. He also has a short appearance as one of the priests that are standing next to Bruno and Antonio during the rainstorm.