Landmark film The Bicycle Thief rolls into
Historical Museum during "Bike to Work Month"
Film that defines Italian neorealist movement received a special Academy Award

For immediate release April 19, 2007


Contact: Jeff Morgan,, (515) 281-3858

Movies at the Museum: “The Bicycle Thief”
May 3, 7 p.m. and May 5, 2 p.m., $5 on or at the door

(DES MOINES) – In a year that saw Cecil B. DeMille and Fred Astaire receive special Oscars, an Italian movie called “Ladri di biciclette” was voted by the Academy Board of Governors as the most outstanding foreign language film released in the United States during 1949.

Its English translation is “The Bicycle Thief” and it will be screened at the State Historical Museum May 3 at 7 p.m. and May 5 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $5 through or at the door. The film is being screened in cooperation with local Bike to Work Week organizers and People who ride bicycles to the movie and show a bicycle helmet at the door will receive $1 off the ticket price. Wine, beer, soft drinks and snacks will be available.

“The Bicycle Thief” is a remarkable drama of desperation and survival in Italy’s post-war depression. Shot in the streets and alleys of Rome, Director Vittorio De Sica (“Shoeshine,” “Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow” and “The Garden of the Finzi-Continis”) uses the real-life environment of contemporary life to frame his moving drama of a desperate father whose new job delivering cinema posters is threatened when a street thief steals his bicycle.

Too poor to buy another, he and his son take to the streets in an impossible search for his bike. Cast with nonactors and filled with the real street life of Roma, this landmark film helped define the Italian neorealist approach with its mix of real life details, poetic imagery and warm sentimentality. De Sica uses the wandering pair to witness the lives of everyday folks, but ultimately, he paints a quiet, poignant portrait of father and son whose understated performances carry the heart of the film.

The State Historical Society of Iowa is a division of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs and serves as a trustee of Iowa’s historical legacy and as an advocate for understanding Iowa’s past. Its dual mission of preservation and education involves identifying, recording, collecting, preserving, managing and providing access to Iowa’s historical resources. As an advocate of understanding Iowa’s past, SHSI educates Iowans of all ages, conducts and stimulates research, disseminates information, and encourages and supports historical preservation and education efforts of others throughout the state.


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