Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

The Bicycle Thief (1948)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

The Bicycle Thief (1948, It.) (aka Ladri di Biciclette, or Bicycle Thieves)

In Vittorio de Sica's humanistic post-war drama - a Best Foreign Film Oscar winner (before the category was officially created) - an all-time classic Neo-realism film (with an amateur, unprofessional cast filmed in non-studio locations):

  • in a simple, tragic, yet compelling story set in post-WWII Italy during a time of unemployment and devastation, the story of the desperate economic plight of a prototypical Italian father - impoverished, working-class family man, Antonio Ricci (Lamberto Maggiorani)
  • the pawnshop scene when Antonio's wife Maria Ricci (Lianella Carell) sold their dowry's linen sheets for 7,500 lira to a pawnshop, allowing him to buy back his own bicycle for 6,500, which he had pawned weeks earlier for money to buy food - the pawnbroker added the linens to a huge pile on a stacked scaffolding
  • the theft of Antonio's bicycle in the ruined city of Rome while he was hanging up a film poster of Rita Hayworth on a ladder, on the first day of his job; a confederate helped the robber get away - victimized Antonio's very job and survival were dependent on this simple form of transportation
  • the search of anguished, panic-stricken father with his constant companion, son Bruno Ricci (Enzo Staiola) for the bike for a full week
  • the scene of frustrated and annoyed Antonio slapping his son, and the look on his son's hurt face; shortly later a young boy, not Bruno, was rescued from drowning and Antonio thought it was his son, but then was overjoyed to find his son unhurt - feeling guilty, he ordered them mozzarella sandwiches in a nearby restaurant; during the meal when they briefly forgot their troubles, Antonio shared his glass of white wine with him, establishing a closer bond, while next to them, a richer family - in contrast - was eating a fine meal
Father and Son - Searching for Bike
Antonio Ricci
(Lamberto Maggiorani)
Bruno Ricci
(Enzo Staiola)
Treating His Son to a Meal in a Restaurant
  • defeated after the stolen bike couldn't be located, and only meeting with apathy from police, the desperate father stole another bicycle outside the football stadium, but he was immediately apprehended and humiliated in front of his son; the bike owner let the humiliated Antonio go because his son was present; although upset, Bruno offered his father his hand as they walked off into the crowd, in the touching, concluding sequence

Pawnshop - Linens Swapped for Bicycle

The Bicycle's Theft

Hand in Hand With His Father After His Apprehension for Stealing a Different Bicycle


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