Since its initial release more than half a century ago, Vittorio De Sica’s Bicycle Thieves has been lauded as one of cinema’s greatest achievements. Loosely adapted from a novel by Luigi Bartolini, the film centers on a father’s quest—with his young son in tow—to get back his stolen bicycle, which is his only means of transportation to work. Capturing the trials of daily life in poverty-stricken postwar Rome, this masterpiece of Italian neorealism cemented a new era of film and went on to win an Academy Award in 1950 for best foreign-language film.
This week, to commemorate the Blu-ray release of our new 4K restoration of De Sica’s pioneering film, we’re sharing two clips from Working with De Sica, a program created for our release of the film on DVD. Above, the legendary screenwriter Suso Cecchi D’Amico (who also lent her talents to Senso, The Leopard, Le amiche, and Le notti blanche, among others) discusses how she and De Sica made an effort, while researching the film, to shine a light on off-the-beaten-path places and people that the cinema had previously overlooked. And below, actor Enzo Staiola—who gives a tremendous performance as young Bruno Ricci—tells his own story of how De Sica discovered him on the street one day while he was walking home from school.