The Bicycle Thieves : Film Review

Review ★★★★

Verdict – classic example of the cycle of poverty and theft

One of those stories which do not have a happy ending, The Bicycle Thieves is considered as a masterpiece till date. The movie was the foundation of Italian Neorealism. It is an insight to the culture of the lower working class, and how poverty struck Italy right after World War II. The Bicycle Thieves won the Academy Award in 1949, and is voted time and again as one of the greatest movies in the history of world cinema. Directed by Vittorio De Sica and based on the novel by Luigi Bartolini, the story is about a desperate father who would make ends meet to provide for a living for his family and his fruitless search for his stolen bicycle.

Lamberto Maggiorani who plays Ricci, the lead character is in search of a job. Desperate measures force him to take up a job which demands him to own a bicycle. To help her husband, Marie played by Lianella Carell, strips off her satin bedsheets from the bed and pawns them in exchange of a bicycle for Ricci. As luck would have it, a few days into his job Ricci’s bicycle gets stolen. Worried and distressed, he sets out on a search in the rough city of Rome. He takes his son Bruno to accompany him in his search for the lost bicycle. Hours later, a disappointed Ricci treats Bruno and himself to pizza and wine at a fairly expensive restaurant. The young lad longingly stares at a family enjoying large portions of pasta, and all Bruno could think of was the poverty his family faced daily.

On his way back home, Ricci spots the bicycle thief, whose chase leads him to a brothel. The gathered mob or the cops are of no help to Ricci. Instead, he finds that there is no evidence to prove the thievery either. Disappointed and thwarted, Ricci makes his way out of the dirty neighborhood.

The movie ends with its famous scene where Ricci finds an unattended bicycle and is enticed to steal it, continuing the circle of poverty and thieving. The Bicycle Thieves shows generation after generation how effortless and undeviating classic movies can be, the brilliance of Vittorio De Sica’s direction and the simplicity with which his movies have made his work exceptional and have gained a permanent place in the history of World Cinema.

For all the movie buffs, here is one of the greatest classics of all times, which is simple and unrefined, yet beautifully constructed and directed. Give The Bicycle Thieves a watch to understand how the simplest story has the capability to make an impact on anyone who watches it.

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