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Bicycle Thieves (1948) (Subtitled) (U)

Bicycle Thieves (1948) (Subtitled)

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Sunday 14 Oct 201817:00 Book Now

Approx advert and trailer run time: 25 mins


Film run time: 1hr 28m

Part of the ‘A Cinematic Odyssey: Postcards from Europe’ strand.

Sitting at number thirty-three in the BFI’s list of all-time greatest films, De Sica’s 1948 film, written by Cesare Zavattini and loosely adapted from a novel by Luigi Bartolini, is a classic of Italian Neo-realism, the literary and cinematic movement that emerged in Italy during the Second World War.

An apparently simple film it tells the story of a desperate Antonio Ricci (Lamberto Maggiorani), searching with his son Bruno (Enzo Staiola), for the stolen bicycle that he depends upon for employment in a Rome struggling to rebuild itself in the aftermath of the war. Renowned for its documentary qualities, its cinematic naturalism, its use of non-professional actors and exterior locations – the real Rome behind the mythical city – the film possesses a formal beauty which belies the supposed constraints on post-war film production.


A hugely influential film, critics and filmmakers alike continue to champion this warm and powerful film. The late Philip French described the film as, ‘a heart-breaking, endlessly affecting piece of humanist cinema, sharp in its social criticism, yet ultimately life-enhancing in its belief in the decency of ordinary people’.

The film will be introduced by Dr Paul Sutton, who will stay for the end of the film for a post-screening discussion in the front-tier of the downstairs seating area.





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