The Bicycle Thief
(1948)

An example of Italian Neorealism that shows up on many lists of ten greatest films ever.

In post WWII Italy, jobs are hard to come by. Fortunately, Antonio gets work posting flyers, provided that he has a bicycle. To get his bike out of hock, his wife pawns their sheets and he goes back to work. The first day however, his bike is stolen. He finds the thief, but the bike has been sold and he has no evidence to pursue the case. Out of desperation, Antonio steals a bike himself, but is caught and humiliated in front of his son. The owner lets him off with a warning saying that humiliation is enough.

The film ends with no hope for our hero and his family.

Worse yet, is that the son has learned that his father, in becoming a bicycle thief himself, is morally weak.

 Thanks Don P!