182: The Bicycle Thief

The Bicycle Thief (PG) - 1948 - 93 minutes
Starring: Lamberto Maggiorani, Enzo Staiola
Director: Vittorio De Sica

The Bicycle Thief is considered one of the greatest movies of all time. I don't think I could argue with that - but I don't necessarily agree with it either. It's a great movie, no doubt, but I feel like its reputation precedes it with modern critics more than the actual movie. And although the movie sounds quite dull, I was caught up in the whole story and enjoyed every minute.

Antonio Ricci is struggling to find a job in a post-WWII Italy. He finally gets some luck in finding a job putting up movie posters, but only if he has a bike. Unfortunately, he just sold his bike to a pawn shop and has to trade his family's bed sheets in order to get it back. Of course, early on in the job, some man snatches his bike up and the movie follows Antonio and his son, Bruno around Italy, trying to find their bike. It's quite a depressing tale - but the images and scenes evoked throughout are powerful and they never really let go. And although the movie seems to be nothing but a series of let downs, there's still some hope, if small at all. Antonio still has his family and friends and him and his son do enjoy a nice meal. It's these quiet moments that I saw this small bit of hope and I thought to myself, I really do feel for these characters. At that point I realized how much this movie got to me.

I can understand why some would call this movie the greatest - its themes of struggling to get by and loneliness in the city are still relevant today as they were in a post-war Italy. No doubt it's a wonderful movie that would make even the toughest tear up just a little, it still isn't my personal favorite - I still like to laugh and be entertained, and The Bicycle Thief is more of a quiet, slow movie that makes you sit and contemplate after the final credit has rolled through.

Rating: Rent It!

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