Customer Reviews


65 Reviews
5 star:
 (42)
4 star:
 (10)
3 star:
 (8)
2 star:
 (3)
1 star:
 (2)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning 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...
Published 17 months ago by John Harding - Author

versus
24 of 26 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.


‹ Previous | 1 2 37 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Much from slender means, 22 May 2009
By 
Humpty Dumpty (Wall St, Upton Snodsbury) - See all my reviews
It's heartening to see how Vittorio de Sica has created from the most slender means a picture that holds your attention from start to finish.

There's little plot - just a man and his son searching the town of Modena for his stolen bike - and the social comment aspect is laid on not with a trowel but with a light hand. A more politically blinkered directorial hand would have made a lot more hay with the scenes in church as the bicycle seeker with his pressing worry is adrift in a sea of arcane ritual and language. As the man and the boy hurry about the town, De Sica's camera follows them, sometimes in striking close-up at moments of tension and stress, but never crowding them. There's a great naturalistic feel to the street scenes, part of which derives from the huge crowds that throng a number of the scenes; you get the impression of a whole society on the move, out of doors, struggling to make a living and get by.

Add in to these elements the sparing use of brooding music, the energy of a director who engages the viewer as an unblinking but compassionate observer, some unforced, natural acting from the amateur cast, with father and son both excellent, and wrap it all up in a sensibly brief running time, and you have a fine package.

An unusual, very worthwhile film.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


37 of 42 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars No translation given, 1 Oct 2006
By 
gaattc (Berne, Suisse) - See all my reviews
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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful compelling film, 2 Sep 2005
Nice to see such insightful reviews by the film studies students ('boooooooooring')... perhaps well acted, intelligent, and ground breaking films aren't their style?!
This classic film depicts the quiet desperation of a poor family in Rome attempting to rebuild their lives in the aftermath of World War 2. The social impact of Italy's shattered economy is reflected by the heartbreaking scene at the beginning where a crowd of unemployed men wait desperately for work.
The simple premise of a man in search of a bicycle (which he needs to sustain his family)takes the viewer on a spiritual and political quest for identity and meaning through all levels of society. Along the way we meet priests, police, the bourgeoise, fortunetellers, peddlers, crooks, beggars and thieves.
The direction is compelling and the cinematography decades ahead of its time. The father son relationship is especially well explored - the acting of young boy who watches his father's gradual moral and spiritual collapse is unforgettable. The Bicycle Thief also has one of the most emotionally powerful endings I have ever seen.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WHY DO YOU WANT TO WATCH IT?, 12 Jan 2012
By 
Stephen Cooper (South Yorkshire, England) - See all my reviews
This film has always been regarded as a classic of Italian cinema. In his 'Postwar', the late Tony Judt tells us that it is in a league of its own, and far better than many of the films made by Pasolini and others in the 1970s for example.

But what you make of it depends why you want to watch it. If you are looking for a heart-warming tale about the relationship between a father and son, you may be disappointed. The film is pretty depressing; and you may find a film that is now over 60 years old fairly crude and difficult to watch.

Likewise, if you are thinking of buying it to improve your Italian, forget it. Some of the dialogue is barely audible and the dialect is probably too local and dated to be of much use.

But if you are interested in social history, the film is difficult to beat. Most of us take a lot for granted these days and this film shows how much - in terms of jobs, wages, housing, clothing and cost of living. At the same time, we are shown a world where people had the support of other institutions than the State - whether it be the Church or the Italian Communist Party. Poverty was mitigated, to some degree, by solidarity; but I don't think its a world that most of us would want to go back to. The scenes at the pawnbrokers, and in the pawnbroker's warehouse, speak volumes.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No Hollywood Ending., 3 Jan 2011
By 
Bob Salter "Captain Spindrift" (Wiltshire, England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
"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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Why is this not shown on TV?, 3 Nov 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Bicycle Thieves [DVD] [1948] (DVD)
Wonderful heart rending film. There are no film makers around theses days to match this kind of unsentimental and hard hitting story of a good man pushed to the brink of despair.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent film to make you think!, 8 Mar 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Bicycle Thieves [DVD] [1948] (DVD)
If you want a film to make you mad, reflective and then angry; this is the one. This film really pulls at your emotions and your loyalties to the characters. I am still debating whether he was a victim of the situation or a victim of his own laziness. Definitely, one to watch in a film group for an excellent debate, but it does have subtitles.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It Retains Its Power to the Present Day, 14 Jan 2012
By 
Stephanie De Pue (Wilmington, NC USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Bicycle Thieves [DVD] [1948] (DVD)
"The Bicycle Thief," a dramatic, grainy black and white Italian film released in 1949, has long been considered one of the greats, for several reasons. The strongest must be that, along with Roberto Rossellini's 1946 Rome, Open City [DVD] [1945], it gives us an unvarnished look at Rome, shortly after the end of World War II that the Italians definitively lost. The city is devastated; its people are desperate for jobs, food, and shelter.

The movie was written by Cesare Zavattini, frequent collaborator of its director, Vittorio De Sica, erstwhile matinée idol, who took his camera onto the streets of Rome, used amateur actors, and filmed in natural light. He and Rossellini were therefore described as adherents of the "neorealist" school.

The plot of BICYCLE THIEVES is, of course, well-known. Antonio Ricci (Lamberto Maggiorani), one of the city's throngs of long-term unemployed, finally gets a job, and a good one with the city: putting up posters. But ownership of a bike is a prerequisite. His wife Maria (Lianella Carell) gets his out of hock by pawning the sheets in her dowry. On Ricci's very first day on the job, while he's hanging a poster of Rita Hayworth in "Gilda," his attention wanders from the bike. And it's gone, stolen just like that. He and his son Bruno (Enzo Staiola) frantically search the city for it. Maggiorani and Staiola, though both amateurs, turn in intense, fully inhabited performances. Staiola's, as the son Bruno, is extraordinarily expressive: his eyes can speak volumes. Many critics will tell you that, stolen bicycle aside; the movie is most moving in its depiction of a strong father/son bond. And many more will point out that the relationship shown here strongly influenced the Oscar-winning World War II Holocaust film, Life Is Beautiful [DVD], by Roberto Benigni.

BICYCLE THIEVES is certainly realistic. There's a scene where Bruno is trying to cross a street to join his father; he's brushed back twice by traffic. As De Sica was filming on actual, live location, these two near accidents really happened, and were left in the picture. Furthermore, Maggiorani had been one of the city's unemployed before filming, and he would continue to struggle for work afterwards.

It's said that prospective producer David O. Selznick proposed Cary Grant for the lead, and that De Sica countered by asking for Henry Fonda. BICYCLE THIEVES received a Special Oscar before the Best Foreign Film Category was established.

De Sica was born into poverty in a village near Rome, and grew up in always poor southern Naples. His first job was as an office clerk, but he made his screen debut, as an actor, in his teens. He joined a stage company in 1923, and became a theater matinée idol; he would soon become a cinematic matinée idol as well. He was a compulsive gambler, and a communist (there were many of them in Italy after the War), and his politics surely influenced his work. In 1970, shortly before the director's death, he made The Garden of the Finzi Contini [DVD], about Italian Jews leading doomed lives during WWII, and its attendant Holocaust, that won another Oscar. In 1961, he made another WWII picture, Two Women - Uncut 186min Edition! - Sophia Loren [DVD] [1988] (based on the novel of the same name by Alberto Moravia--Two Women),that won its star, Sophia Loren, a Best Actress Oscar, an extremely rare one, as given for a performance not in English. Throughout his acting career - De Sica continued to act, to pay for his movie making --he was best known for light earthy sex comedies, and often played opposite the great female Italian stars of the day, Loren, and Gina Lollobrigida.

This picture was called "The Bicycle Thieves," in the original Italian, as in its English release: De Sica certainly had an eye for irony. His film retains much of its power to the present day, and probably will, into the future. Between them, BICYCLE THIEVES and ROME:OPEN CITY will quite likely last as long as celluloid does, giving us a closely-observed look at a great city, and its people, in defeat.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Heartbreakingly good, 5 Mar 2011
This review is from: The Bicycle Thieves [DVD] [1948] (DVD)
If you haven't seen this film then you really should.
I had vaguely heard of this as a class piece of work, but
I was thinking back over the images for days and nights later.
This is a film that repeats on you! Suddenly you see the echoes
down through years of film making.
A time and a place caught like a moth in gossamer
still fluttering, not still life. Achingly poignant
A masterclass in how to make good film. Watch it and weep.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the bicycle thieves, 28 May 2010
This review is from: The Bicycle Thieves [DVD] [1948] (DVD)
great film - classic and remade. DVD arrived promptly in new condition, very reasonably priced.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 37 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

The Bicycle Thieves [DVD] [1948]
The Bicycle Thieves [DVD] [1948] by Vittorio De Sica (DVD - 2010)
£5.99
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews