The Bicycle Thieves was made in 1948 and is a classic of Italian cinema.
It is set in a post war Italy where work, food and simple conveniences are hard to gain, and harder to keep. The plot revolves around a man and his search for a stolen bicycle and draws you into his hopeless struggle to retain, and make something of his slim chances of providing for his family.
Essentially the movie isn’t about bicycles, but is worth watching anyway, it is that good! The acting from these unschooled actors would put many current, fame engorged actors to shame with the power they bring to the simple and direct dialogue and plot. The important place cycling had in the Italian culture is strongly evident from the scenes that show the everyday cycling culture around the action of the movie. More broadly speaking, the portrayal of everyday life in Italy seems very authentic and so the movie also provides a window into a lost world of suits, fortune tellers, markets, whore houses and homes.
The Bicycle Thieves has been broadly critically acclaimed and very much worth the time and effort to track down and watch. It’s a little melancholy but those were dark, grim times for Italy, made even more grim by bloody bicycle thieves.