Heralded as the greatest film ever made on release and winning an Oscar in 1949, Vittorio De Sica's Neorealist masterpiece is one of the high points of Italian cinema and would prove to be a huge influence over subsequent generations of filmmakers around the world, from India’s Satyajit Ray to the UK’s Ken Loach.
It tells the story of Antonio, a father who has been unemployed for a long time, but finally finds a job putting up cinema posters. His wife pawns all the family linen to redeem Antonio’s bike from the pawn broker, so that he can carry out his work. But soon after starting his job, the bike is stolen. Along with his son, Antonio takes to the streets to retrieve it.
As much a portrait of working-class life in post-war Italy as it is a touching account of the relationship between father and son, the film came to define the very essence of the neorealist movement, which mostly employed non-actors and was shot on location to ground the stories in the realities of everyday Italian life
★★★★★ "Bicycle Thieves is a brilliant, tactlessly real work of art" - Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian