Entertainment Weekly - 04/26/1996
"...One of the most heart-rending films ever..." -- Rating: A
Los Angeles Times - 02/05/1999
"...Elegantly structured....Integral to its grace and mood are Carlo Montuori's superb, supple camera work and Alessandro Cicognini's mesmerizing score..."
Los Angeles Times - 10/04/1991
"...De Sica, following in the neo-realist style, used natural lighting throughout, giving THE BICYCLE THIEF an effective, documentary-like look that many other filmmakers tried to emulate..."
Chicago Sun-Times - 03/19/1999
"...It is still alive and has strength and freshness....It is a simple, powerful film..."
Premiere - 12/01/2003
"...It's a heartbreaker -- the crowning achievement of Italian neorealism..."
Sight and Sound - 05/01/2006
"De Sica portrays Antonio's quest to rediscover his bike with such urgency that the film takes on an epic quality."
Empire - 05/01/2010 5 stars out of 5 -- "Vittoria De Sica's 1948 masterpiece repays endless viewings. Lamberto Maggiorani is superb..."
Description by OLDIES.com:
A beautiful, simple story of a man in post-war Rome who needs his bicycle in order to work at his job. No sooner does he retrieve it from pawn, then it is stolen. The heartwrenching search teaches the man and his son much about the meaning of life and just how far we will go when pushed to the edge.
The recipient of international acclaim, Vittorio de Sica's Italian Neorealist masterwork, THE BICYCLE THIEF, is a treasure of world cinema. After nearly two years of unemployment, Antonio (Lamberto Maggiorani) finally finds work posting bills. But he needs a bicycle to do the job. Unfortunately, he was forced to pawn his own bicycle long ago. In a humbling, tragic scene, Antonio exchanges his family's linen for his bicycle. But when the bike is stolen on his first day of work, he must comb the streets of Rome in search of the bike: his family's only means to survival. After three days of hunting, Antonio and his son, Bruno (Enzo Staiola), find the thief (Vittorio Antonucci)--but without witnesses or evidence, the police are unwilling to help Antonio. Hopeless, Antonio and Bruno wander aimlessly through Rome, landing outside of a soccer stadium where hundreds of bicycles are parked. His will broken, Antonio attempts to steal a bike but is caught in the act.
Thematically, Vittoria de Sica's THE BICYCLE THIEF details an everyman story of loss of innocence in the face of a destitute society, while the film's poignant acting and directing creates an individual and heart-wrenching tale of one man's struggle to feed his family. The film is often considered one of the masterpieces of 20th century cinema.
Shot on location in Rome, De Sica purposefully avoided the city's most striking monuments in order to make the story more universal.
Unable to gain studio funding, De Sica produced the film himself, using the financial support of his friends for backing.
Most Neorealist films used non-actors as a means of heightening the reality of the film. Lamberto Maggiroani, the film's lead, was a 39 year old steelworker who lost his real job after the film finished production.
THE BICYCLE THIEF won awards from the British Film Academy and the New York Film Critics. It also received the grand prize at the Brussels Film Festival, and an Academy Award for Best Foreign Film.