The Bicycle Thief
Drama / Italian Neorealism | In Italian with English subtitles | 93 minutes | 1948 | Often called Bicycle Thieves
Why Screen This Film?
- Rotten Tomatoes Score (Critics Consensus) 98% 98%
Honorary Academy Award, 1950- Outstanding Foreign Language Film.
SIGHT and SOUND Magazine, 1952- Greatest Film of All Time.
National Board of Review- Best Director.
New York Film Critics Circle Awards- Best Foreign Language Film.
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THE BICYCLE THIEF is so well-entrenched as an official masterpiece that it is a little startling to visit it again after many years and realize that it is still alive and has strength and freshness. Routinely voted one of the greatest films of all time, revered as one of the foundation stones of Italian neorealism, it is a simple, powerful film about a man who needs a job.
Neorealism never got more real than in Vittori De Sica’s 1948 classic, THE BICYCLE THIEF. For me, it is as unbearable as any horror film.
To see THE BICYCLE THIEF again is to experience what feels like a miracle. For this killer of a film not only hasn’t lost a step, it’s even more involving now than it was then, a singular emotional juggernaut that has the kind of unrestrained power contemporary films can only dream about. But just because the film cared about reality doesn’t mean it was slipshod or improvised. The film is beautifully photographed by Carlo Montuori, features a subtle score, and in De Sica had a director who put every scene together for maximum effectiveness. Seen from the perspective of today, it is the spareness and restraint of the film in general, and the performances in particular, that makes The BICYCLE THIEF such a powerful experience.
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