Directed by: Vittorio De Sica
Country of Origin: Italy
"The Bicycle Thief" is set in post-World War II Italy during the economic depression that followed the war. The main character is Antonio Ricci who at the beginning of the film is one of the fortunate few to be given a job by the city of Rome putting up posters around the city. However, he needs to own a bicycle to begin the job and his wife is forced to pawn their sheets in order to get a bike. On his first day on the job his bike is stolen by a thief. From that point on the plot follows Antonio and his son Bruno is their quest to find the thief and reclaim the bike. The story does not end well.
The thing that most impressed me about the film was the acting. Lamberto Maggiorani's, who plays Antonio, performance is simply fantastic, I truly felt sorry for him because his emotion was so real. There are very few films that I have watched that have the ability to affect me emotionally, and this was one of the precious few. The entire story seems so real and truly lives up to its neo-realist classification.
In my opinion, one the most significant thing about this film is the fact that none of the actors in the film are actual actors. Upon doing some research I found out that Lamberto Maggiorani was in fact a factory worker with no training of any kind. To be able to give such a performance with no training truly means that Lamberto was able to use his own emotions of the time period to portray his character. The critical acclaim this film received was also quite astounding after our conversation in class about the lack of quality films from many foreign countries. It won an Oscar, a BAFTA as well as Golden Globe. This film simply amazed me.