23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars everyday as heroism
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...
Published on 24 Aug 2003 by mr russell p andrews
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great film; awful subtitles
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...
Published on 16 Aug 2010 by Ricardo B.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great film; awful subtitles,
This review is from: The Bicycle Thieves [DVD]  (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.
23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars everyday as heroism,
This review is from: Bicycle Thieves  [VHS] (VHS Tape)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!
47 of 50 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A marvellous classic of the Italian cinema,
This review is from: The Bicycle Thieves  [DVD] (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.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "No bike, no job",
This review is from: Bicycle Thieves [Dual Format DVD + Blu- Ray] [Blu-ray] (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. The two were not actors at the time and that comes through as their performances seem very honest and never hammed up. You believe in them entirely and it helps to make the final moments seem so emotionally powerful when the film title becomes even more profound.
Vittora De Sica uses a 'less is more' approach for this film and it pays off. The beautiful city of Rome is a much finer setting than a studio, and the numbers of real citizens rather than professional actors ensures that the city feels authentic. Everything looks so natural and the relationships could easily be genuine as they don't look contrived or rehearsed. The mood is set in the very opening seconds with images of hard toil and a backdrop of children crying highlighting how difficult life is.
This Blu Ray release looks good though I'm not convinced that it offers any significant picture upgrade to the DVD, the black and white has aged well and the picture is surprisingly smooth with no real degradation and only a couple of jumps (as you expect from a film nearly 65 years old). The Blu-Ray menu is odd at first but quaintly quirky - instead of the usual options, you are presented with:
-Auditorium (which plays the film)
-Reel Change (Scene Selection)
-Kiosk (Extras including discussion about the film and trailers for other titles)
-Projection Booth (Commentary and subtitles)
There are a few good bonus features but it's still a tad lacklustre. The discussion is played over the film much like a commentary and it would have been nice to have an actual documentary about the film, especially considering the influence it's had on director's over the years.
In a nutshell: During a time when Hollywood studios were flooding the market with soft-focus, lavish studios, and big names - it's great to see a film showing real people in real places. The film engages the viewer and our views on the bike theft are perhaps challenged when we see how desperation can chip away at the integrity of even the most honest of men. The film isn't perhaps as gripping as I expected it to be, but it is still a compelling watch. It deserves the praise it receives, especially given that it hasn't really aged, stylistically this could have been made in any decade since the 1940s. Bicycle Thieves ends in a soberingly sad way, but also with a wonderfully romantic sentiment, the main hero of the film is a stranger who has the strength to say "let him go".
37 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Important Piece Of Cinema History,
This review is from: The Bicycle Thieves  [DVD] (DVD)The Italian neo-realist film movement began around the end of WWII with Roberto Rossellini's OPEN CITY in 1946. It is defined and encapsulated by this striking film directed by Vittorio De Sica. THE BICYCLE THIEVES is the best of a group of films that depicted the hardship and despair that Europeans, specifically Italians, went through after the death and destruction of the war. The economy was horrible, and the towns and cities were half-destroyed and decaying. Rome is the location for THE BICYCLE THIEVES and De Sica shoots the city in grainy black and white with non-professional actors to get a simple, yet unbearingly emotional point across. A simple thing such as a bike can be someone's entire world at that time and losing it means doing something irrational or perhaps necessary.
The lead in the film is played by Lamberto Maggiorani who seems to be a very good actor. He is not an actor, however, and maybe this is why the film hits its mark so well and comes across so realistically. Maggiorani is of this difficult world and his brooding face is a clear indication of this. His job is to plaster film posters up on the walls of buildings all over Rome. He even hangs a picture that symbolizes the absolute opposite of the misery surrounding him. Rita Hayworth from GILDA is on the walls all over the city, a sign of joy to some, a representation of their own lowly status to others.
When the bicycle is actually stolen, the "title" character is sought after by Maggiorani and his young son (Enzo Staiola), a little kid with so much acting ability, you swear this must be a documentary. A grueling search throughout Rome has the essential parts of the movie, because we see up close the actual people and places the neo-realist film movement came to represent. It is a small, sad world they live in and the bike has to be found so that they can live. The father is put to the ultimate test in front of his son. Will he do the honorable thing or will he do what his mind and heart know is only possible? These are the tense moments of the film's climax.
There is a lot of THE BICYCLE THIEVES in Benigni's LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL and some obvious comparisons have been drawn because of the father-son relationship. They are worthy of comparison and have equal artistic prowess. What is different about THE BICYCLE THIEVES is the level of intensity maintained throughout. I felt the key element was the music by Alessandro Cicognini, a simple horn that plays so tragically that it is a main character in the picture. What De Sica does here, as well as other neo-realist directors (Rossellini, Fellini), is create for American audiences a powerful counterpoint to what we are used to. An honest, non-corporate portrait of the struggle for life and self-respect. THE BICYCLE THIEVES is one of the finest films ever made and restored / remastered deservedly on this dvd.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply one of the all time great pieces of cinema,
This review is from: The Bicycle Thieves  [DVD] (DVD)Sometimes you come across a film that transends normal expectations and criticism. 'Classic' might be overused, but if there was ever a film that deserved such status, it is this one. A simple tale - post war Italy and a father's efforts to better himself and his family. And then a bicycle is stolen - that's all. But here we have a man losing everything of what little he has. He must retrieve it, to the point of obsession. If you have even the slenderest of hearts this rough around the edges, black and white masterpiece will move you to the core. The key relationship is that of a son with his dad - it illuminates the whole experience. Don't expect sloppy sentiment - just brilliant story telling and scene setting and 'real' acting.
If you don't see this film you are missing out on one of the best experiences that cinema (and therefore 20th century art) can possibly offer.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In a Class Of its Own,
This review is from: The Bicycle Thieves  [DVD] (DVD)A film of real life, real emotions, real people. Bicycle Thieves was a film like no other because it was made like no other. With non actors, natural light, filmed on locations, the film captured the truth of Neorealism. The film is made up of a series of "small moments." The fact is, the entire movie is made up of pureness. It tackles issues of class, politics, and post war activities. Overall, the film is about life and hope. The unhappy ending only makes the film more real. If you are a son who loved his father and understood who he was and why he was the way he was........watch this movie.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars good film ruined by sparse subtitles,
This review is from: The Bicycle Thieves [DVD]  (DVD)I'm a huge fan of world cinema and am working my way through the 'classics'. I watched this and was really frustrated by the lack of subtitles at key points. It seems that at times where there are quick dialogue interchanges non-Italian speakers are left to figure out what was said. only spaced out discourse is translated. The result is that it is hard to empathise with key characters as you don't know what is being said. I was left with the impression that it was just laziness that didn't give the full translation. Saying that I was glad I watched it and loved the ending. if the subtitles were re-done I would gladly re-watch. I am curious to find out what was actually said in a few scenes.
36 of 41 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars No translation given,
This review is from: The Bicycle Thieves  [DVD] (DVD)Bicycle Thieves is of course a marvelous movie. I have just one issue with the DVD. For about one third (I'm not exaggerating) of the dialogue, which is (thankfully) in its original Italian, there is no translation given. Maybe the subtitlers deemed these parts unimportant or obvious. Well, I'd like to decide that on my own, and would therefore appreciate it, if in a new edition ALL dialogue had subtitles. I mean no offence by that and hope Arrow understands my frustration with being lost in, well, missing translation.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No Hollywood Ending.,
This review is from: The Bicycle Thieves  [DVD] (DVD)"Bicycle Thieves" appears in the top 10 of the BFI's "Top 50 films you should see by the Age of 14", which admittedly without the inclusion of a single western should not be taken too seriously. It has also been cited by many film critics as one of the most influential films in history. With that sort of street cred I felt it was high time to check it out, sadly at a little more advanced age than fourteen. Never mind, better late than never, as they say! The film directed by Vittorio DeSica is a part of the post Second World War neo-realism wave of films made in Italy, which attempted to inject realism into movies by using natural locations and unknown actors. They were often made with old cameras and poor film stock. In the aftermath of World War Two, Italy suffered grinding poverty which caused great hardship for the population. The film is set in Rome to this background.
The story concerns a poor man who manages to get scarce work for the local council pasting up billboards. Such a job is like gold dust, but is reliant on him having a bicycle. Selling valuable bed linen to reclaim his own bike back from the pawnbrokers he sets out on his work. Whilst ironically pasting a poster with the impossibly glamourous Rita Hayworth from the film "Gilda", which juxtaposes Rome's current poverty with Hollywood's dream riches, the bike is stolen. With his job dependent on the bike, he sets out on an increasingly desperate search around the streets of Rome with his nine year old son in tow.
The film works strongly as a devastating indictment of the effects of poverty, and has an authentic sting in its tail. The great Indian film maker Satyajit Ray was strongly influenced by the film on a visit to London, and used the experience in his film "Pather Panchali". The film has been compared to Chaplin's famous silent "The Kid", with its same theme of adult and small child fighting against all consuming poverty. Perhaps an even better example would be Laurel and Hardy's wonderful short "Below Zero", which truly plumbed the pathos of such a desperate situation. It is easy to see the similarities with this film and the modern socially realistic films by Ken Loach. I was also surprised at how alike the film is to Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami's superb "Where is my Friends Home", another film that deservedly makes the top ten in the BFI list. Both films are very naturalistic in their treatment of relatively minor incidents in the grand scheme of things, but huge in the lives of those it impacts. Oh, and carefully watch the scene where Father and son shelter from the rain under an overhanging cornice, where they are joined by a small group of men dressed in clerical garb. Note the young bespectacled man who was played by the nineteen year old Sergio Leone, another great director who was so strongly influenced by this golden era of cinema.
It took me a little while to get into this film, but once immersed found it to be a very involving story. It is quite heartbreaking in its exploration of the human soul and the way such circumstances can affect both pride and values. Something that many people are finding out in todays financial climate. The director DeSica came from a background of poverty, and so was well qualified to make a film on the subject. The most telling scenes are those where the young boy witnesses the degradation of his father. Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." The destruction of all that the child holds stable is a pitiable and shocking thing. It is such scenes that make this an uncomfortable but ultimately a great film deserving of its revered status. Sadly in life, the endings are not always those that we would wish for.
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The Bicycle Thieves  [DVD] by Vittorio de Sica (DVD - 2006)