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on 14 August 2017
I purchased Rififi, which had English sub-titles, and really enjoyed this. I purchased The Bicycles Thieves thinking it would also have English sub-titles, which it did not. I even checked the TV's setting 'Italian Film with English sub-titles', but nothing.

There are a number of films which look good and I would purchase them if I knew they had the sub-titles.
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on 22 September 2017
Superb post WW2 film of Rome
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on 22 May 2017
Everything fine.
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on 2 December 2017
Little disappointing
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on 23 June 2017
Excellent, period drama however the end is disappointing as it is very abrupt.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 26 July 2007
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film is as powerful, raw and moving now as it was when it was made - and in addition it has something of the feel of a historical document, portraying as it does the desperation of an honest man with a wife and children in the social and economic maelstrom of post-War Italy.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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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".
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on 24 August 2003
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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on 12 January 2012
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.
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on 25 March 2015
Perhaps the most famous example of Italian neo-realism, Vittorio de Sicas deceptively simple story of Antonio who gets a job putting up movie posters around Rome and who one day gets his bicycle stolen making him effectively unemployed .Together with his son Bruno he sets out on a lonely odyssey across the streets of Rome in a desperate bid to find his stolen bicycle and in the process learns a few home truths about life and desperation. A wonderful movie.
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