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The Bicycle Thieves [1948] [DVD]

78 customer reviews

6 new from £17.99 11 used from £2.99

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Product details

  • Actors: Lamberto Maggiorani, Lianella Carell, Enzo Staiola, Elena Altieri, Gino Saltamerenda
  • Directors: Vittorio de Sica
  • Producers: Vittorio de Sica, Guiseppe Amato
  • Format: PAL, Black & White, Full Screen, Mono, Subtitled
  • Language: Italian
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: U
  • Studio: Arrow
  • DVD Release Date: 20 Feb. 2006
  • Run Time: 87 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (78 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000CZ0O4U
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 56,827 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

A key film in what became known as the Italian neorealist movement, director Vittorio De Sica's drama won the Best Foreign Film Oscar in 1949. It tells the story of Antonio (Lamberto Maggiorani), a working-class Italian, living just above the poverty line. When he finally lands a job as a bill-sticker, his happiness is short-lived as his bicycle, essential for the promised job, is stolen. With his small son, Bruno (Enzo Staiola), he tramps the city in a desperate search for the precious bike.


Vittorio De Sica's remarkable 1947 drama of desperation and survival in Italy's devastating post-war depression earned a special Oscar for its affecting power. Shot in the streets and alleys of Rome, De Sica uses a real-life environment to frame his moving drama of a desperate father whose new job delivering cinema posters is threatened when a street thief steals his bicycle. Too poor to buy another, he and his son take to the streets in an impossible search for his bike. Cast with non-professional actors and filled with the real street life of Rome, this landmark film helped define the Italian neorealist approach with its mix of real life details, poetic imagery, and warm sentimentality. De Sica uses the wandering pair to witness the lives of everyday folks, but ultimately he paints a quiet, poignant portrait of father and son, played by Lamberto Maggiorani and Enzo Staiola, whose understated performances carry the heart of the film. De Sica and scenarist Cesare Zavattini also collaborated on Shoeshine, Miracle in Milan, and Umberto D, all classics in the neorealist vein, but none of which approach the simple poetry and quiet power achieved in The Bicycle Thieves. --Sean Axmaker --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By @GeekZilla9000 TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 9 Jun. 2011
Format: Blu-ray
Three Years after the end of the Second World War, Europe was in the process of an economic rebuild and in Italy unemployment levels were high. This 1948 film takes us onto the streets of Rome where the balance between poverty and dignity is often precarious.

For the Ricci family things are looking up when Antonio is offered a job, the employment is conditional however and requires him to have his own bicycle. Unable to turn down employment he and his wife pawn their bed linen to raise enough money to get back the bike they had previously pawned. The couple are gloriously optimistic and their faces reflect their newfound happiness. Ricci cycles to work a contented man, but on his first day his bicycle is stolen. The police are unable to help, finding a bicycle in Rome would use all their resources so a dejected Ricci roams the streets of the city to try and find his wheels.

With his son Bruno, the two realise the futility of their mission, Rome is a big place. "Bicycle Thieves" is much more than a film about a bike theft - it's a father and son journey and explores the efforts a man will make to salvage his dignity, unable to provide for his family, he doesn't want to appear a failure. If the film has any message it's a simple one; life isn't fair. The poverty gap is cleverly depicted when the two eat a simple meal of mozzarella on bread with water, and Antonio is forced to watch his own son occasionally glimpse over at the table next door where a wealthy family eat a feast.

The film is relatively uneventful but brilliant in its simplicity. As Antonio and his boy spend time together their relationship seems to become one of father and son to that of two men observing the world for what it is.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By John Harding on 19 July 2013
Format: Blu-ray
This is a review of the Arrow blu-ray, rather than the film itself, which is a well-established classic that often appears in critics' best film lists. Previous DVD renditions were poor quality and I assumed this was because of the poor state of the original source material. The Arrow BD is a revelation, incredibly sharp with excellent contrasts, beautifully restored and showing no obvious sign of digital interference. It's one of the best high definition presentations of an old black and white film I've seen and it's really great to be able to watch this wonderful film in such a pristine state.
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51 of 54 people found the following review helpful By hillbank68 TOP 500 REVIEWER on 26 July 2007
Format: DVD
Vittoria de Sica's famous film is as powerful, raw and moving now as it was when it was made - and in addition it has something of the feel of a historical document, portraying as it does the desperation of an honest man with a wife and children in the social and economic maelstrom of post-War Italy. He gets a job - hundreds do not - as a bill-poster, but he must have a bicycle ; the job depends on it. With difficulty he gets one, but on his first day at work, it is stolen. What looked like a promising future will turn to ashes for him, his wife and his two children, one a baby, if the bicycle is not recovered. With his son Bruno, wonderfully, wonderfully played by Enzo Staiolla, he sets out on a desperate quest to find the bicycle among the thousands and thousands in the city. The film moves through a series of episodes in the market place, a church ministering to the poor, the riverside, a brothel, a seedy quarter where he actually comes upon the thief, and so on until, at the end, despair drives him mad and, in view of his son, he himself turns quite against character and lets himself down in a tragically convincing way. There is no silver lining and no solution ; the film just ends. It is constantly involving, beautifully made, marvellously acted and even has little touches of humour, but in the end we are left with the memory of the strength of the relationship between father and son and the hope, but not the certainty, that somehow things will turn out all right. It is a wonderful film.
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful By mr russell p andrews on 24 Aug. 2003
Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
this film sticks in my mind as one of the best and purest films made. it is beautifully shot and subtley acted (by amateurs) and it gives out a message to its audience.
this was the film that really defined the neo-realism movement. it was the first time that a style or movement could be clearly seen. the film seems so simple, and on one level it is, but at the same time it has underlying motives - humanism vs. fascism for example. but don't let this seemingly heavy subject put you off. the film is so good you can just WATCH the film and not SEE if you want.
on one level this film aches with a beauty and heartbreack rarely captured in any text. i rate this higher than any other neo-realism films - rome,open city, paisa or ossessione - and that is because it is so watchable.
the film offers up so many questions-about morality, responsibility, masculinity-and does it under the guise of reality-and reality is what is captured on screen in all its beauty and ugliness.
please watch this film!
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Ricardo B. on 16 Aug. 2010
Format: DVD
This film is incredible in every way and I highly recommended it.

However, when it comes to subtitles, I'm beginning to understand Americans aversion to them. This dvd's English subtitles are of the worst possibly quality, missing more than half of the lines and offering the translation in completely wrong timing - something I have never found in subtitles of my own language.
If it wasn't for the fact that, as a Portuguese speaker, I can understand Italian well enough to compensate for the missing subtitles, I wouldn't even have finished watching it.

This is not the first time I've encountered bad English subtitles. However, these were so terrible they were either made by a child or someone extremely lazy.

Also, on the back it reads "Too poor to by another, he and his son...". Noticed the typo? That's on the backcover.
edit: Another problem I just noticed: it says running time 143min, but the movie is close to 90 minutes long.

The image quality is fine, but make no mistake, this is a terrible edition. If you can, buy a different version.
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