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Bicycle Thieves

Lamberto Maggiorani , Enzo Staiola , Vittorio De Sica    Unrated   DVD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 42.99 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Product Description

Hailed around the world as one of the greatest movies ever made, Vittorio De Sica's Academy Award-winning Bicycle Thieves (Ladri di biciclette) defined an era in cinema. In postwar, poverty-stricken Rome, a man, hoping to support his desperate family with a new job, loses his bicycle, his main means of transportation for work. With his wide-eyed young son in tow, he sets off to track down the thief. Simple in construction and dazzlingly rich in human insight, Bicycle Thieves embodied all the greatest strengths of the neorealist film movement in Italy: emotional clarity, social righteousness, and brutal honesty.


Vittorio De Sica's remarkable 1947 drama of desperation and survival in Italy's devastating post-war depression earned a special Oscar for its affecting power. Shot in the streets and alleys of Rome, De Sica uses the real-life environment of contemporary life to frame his moving drama of a desperate father whose new job delivering cinema posters is threatened when a street thief steals his bicycle. Too poor to buy another, he and his son take to the streets in an impossible search for his bike. Cast with nonactors and filled with the real street life of Rome, this landmark film helped define the Italian neorealist approach with its mix of real life details, poetic imagery, and warm sentimentality. De Sica uses the wandering pair to witness the lives of everyday folks, but ultimately he paints a quiet, poignant portrait of father and son, played by nonprofessionals Lamberto Maggiorani and Enzo Staiola, whose understated performances carry the heart of the film. De Sica and scenarist Cesare Zavattini also collaborated on Shoeshine, Miracle in Milan, and Umberto D, all classics in the neorealist vein, but none of which approach the simple poetry and quiet power achieved in The Bicycle Thief. --Sean Axmaker --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Neorealism at its most profound! June 4 2004
Format:VHS Tape
Imagine your family's livelihood depending on a bicycle. In post-war Italy, you compete with hundreds for a job where 25% of the work force is unemployed. The job is yours but it requires you to have a bicycle, something so simple as a bicycle and that bicycle gets stolen on the first day.
Neorealism - This wonderful Italian 1948 classic directed by Vittorio de Sica is an emotional depiction of degradation of the soul, loss of humanity and dignity. The film, one of the best in cinematic history, captures neorealism at its best.
Neorealism involves the use of location settings, non-actor roles, and conversational dialogue instead of literary dialogue, simple camerawork and editing. Neorealism offers a compassionate point of view with morality.
Here, we wish an innocent man with a family to support could find relief, satisfaction, comfort and justice. As for literary dialogue, there isn't anything great said here, it is simple conversation. No great special effects takes place, no shoot-um up bang bang, just plain old post-war Italy depicting real life, poverty, degradation and humanity. The VHS 50 year-old film is gritty and at times it is difficult to read the words.
Desperate - Antonio, a father and husband lands a job and on the first day posting movie billboard posters, the bicycle is stolen! Antonio frantically scours the streets and his little son Bruno tenderly tags along to recover the stolen bicycle. Now keep in mind that little Bruno is in the picture for one reason, and without him, we, the audience, would have a more callous attitude to the ending.
We see signs of post-war economic hard times, like the rows and rows of bicycle parts or hundreds of bedsheets that were pawned. The characters are non-actors in the real streets of Italy.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thief of hearts June 1 2000
A classic of world cinema, "The Bicycle Thief" deals with postwar Italian circumstances with searing impact. Some of the elements may remind you of "It's A Wonderful Life," but let's just say: Frank Capra it ain't! This work is uncompromising, and, as famed playwright Arthur Miller put it, "remorseless." It's a wake-up call, effectively arguing that good, sound minded people can be morally destroyed by obsession and despondency; that what is of no consequence to many is vital to some. Don't jump into buying this movie on the opinions of those who love it; it's not for everyone's taste. Rent it first. If you're looking for "entertainment," look elsewhere. But if you value artistically fine movies that address harsh realities, you will be bowled over by this poignant, involving look into one man's snowballing desperation. This film is a friend for life if you appreciate it!
This DVD version of an important film is terrible. Image Entertainment usually makes good digital transfers, and this disc is no exception. But the cause of my gripe isn't the transfer, it's the print used. The copy that Image offers on this DVD is in DESPERATE need of restoration. There are all manner of imperfections in this print -- blotches, streaks, jumps (sometimes for several frames!), scratches, etc. This makes for a visual and audio shadow of a great movie. As if this weren't bad enough, the subtitles are poor. Too many words are left out in the translation, and the subtitles sometimes come late in relation to the dialogue. On the other side of the ledger, the English dub is excellently done (except for a brief section late in the film, seemingly due to the print).
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Film, Okay DVD April 12 2004
The Bicycle Thief: a very simple, straightforward story, told straight, no plot-twists or fancy story tricks like false endings, etc. This is a simple story: a man who's work requires him to use his own bicycle or lose his job has his bike stolen from him. The rest of the movie is his and his son's attempt to find the thief and get the bike back.
I understand the plot, but I find it just a little hard to imagine life being so harsh as to put a man out of work for having his bike stolen. I'm not saying it's unrealistic; I didn't live in Italy after WWII. But I found it a tad extreme to be honest. It's a great movie, but I don't think it hits its point home as sharply as Rossellini's "Rome Open City".
The DVD is ok - I agree with some reviewers that it could (and indeed should) be transferred at a higher bit-rate with less compression. This film truly derserves the Criterion Treatment if any Italian classic does! It is a better transfer than "Open City", but that's not an excuse. I agree it's time for a quality restoration with more extras and a nice commentary track.
But overall, this is a wonderful classic film full of heart and is a fine product worthy of inclusion in any tasteful home movie collection.
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5.0 out of 5 stars painful April 1 2002
Widely regarded as one of the great films of all time, The Bicycle Thief is easy to avoid because even a brief recitation of the plot is so depressing.
In impoverished post-War Italy, men line up every day to see if the government has any work for them to do. Ricci is told that there's a job for him,
but it requires a bicycle, so his wife has to pawn her good linen in order to redeem the previously pawned bicycle. As Ricci and his wife depart the
pawnshop a clerk climbs several stories to add the linens to an immense stack, showing that their situation is hardly unique. Despite this ignominy,
Ricci is obviously overjoyed to be able to provide for his family and to redeem himself in the eyes of his precocious son, Bruno.
Ricci's job consists of hanging posters and he needs the bicycle to transport a ladder around town. But on his very first day the bicycle is stolen by
what appears to be a pretty experienced small gang. The remainder of the film follows Ricci and Bruno as they desperately search for the bicycle and
the thief. Ricci does eventually catch him, but the thief's friends swear that he is innocent and a cop persuades Ricci that his word won't hold up
against all these others.
Ricci takes Bruno out for a dinner that they can ill afford and this poor father and son are contrasted with the wealthy family eating at a nearby table.
As the two trudge home, Ricci spots another bicycle, leaning unattended in a doorway. He sends Bruno on ahead and then sneaks back to steal it, but
is caught and humiliated in front of his boy. Not exactly a feel-good flick, huh?
The film is probably the archetypal example of neo-realism, which eschewed fictional adventure in favor of the dramas of every day life.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
An all time great film. super directing
Published 1 month ago by Janine Poley
5.0 out of 5 stars Bicycle Thief,the
Really enjoyed the movie,and the history within it. There was a tiny bit of skipping on the DVD. I love the story..
Published 8 months ago by carla gould
4.0 out of 5 stars old classic
A memorable classic on the misery of the poor, powerless and helpless, caught in a quagmire of despair, without having any real chance for escape. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Wolfgang Doebel
5.0 out of 5 stars Simple, but so touching
The Bicycle Thief / Bicycle Thieves (1949)
Drama, Crime, 93 minutes, Italian Language
Directed by Vittorio De Sica
Starring Lamberto Maggiorani, Enzo Staiola and... Read more
Published on Feb. 29 2012 by Steven Aldersley
5.0 out of 5 stars 100 stars. Nothing Compares.
I've been holding off reviewing this film for a long time now. I can't put it into words. I get too scared that I might do it injustice by being pretentious and talkng out of my... Read more
Published on Aug. 24 2004 by Antonio Giusto
3.0 out of 5 stars Classic needs a re-release
Classic movie about the cruel nature of life, of inescapable fate. The dvd itself is pretty bad, with defects shown in the transfer, along with terrible audio. Read more
Published on Feb. 13 2004
4.0 out of 5 stars I really enjoyed this movie!
I had never heard of this movie when I stumbled on it late one night right before I went to bed. Instead of turning off the TV because it was late and I needed to go to work the... Read more
Published on May 5 2003 by Randall
2.0 out of 5 stars Muted Music Track
Image Entertainment has done an overall mediocre job on "The Bicycle Thief DVD." On the one hand, the video is excellent: crisp, sharp, a pleasure to behold. Read more
Published on Feb. 25 2003 by "haridam"
3.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful movie, but...
It's a wonderful movie, but beware: on this DVD, the subtitles are not optional, they're always there, distorting the picture and getting on one's nerves...
Published on Oct. 29 2002
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the finest Italian films ever!...
There can only be three things that can summarize this film, in my opinion. The expression of the human soul, the strength of love between father and son, and the life of poverty. Read more
Published on Sept. 14 2002 by Nessly
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