11 Must-Watch Movies Similar to Bicycle Thieves

"Bicycle Thieves" is a classic Italian drama that takes you on a heart-wrenching journey through post-war Italy. When a hardworking man's bicycle is stolen, his livelihood and hopes for a better future are jeopardized. Joined by his son, they embark on a desperate search to reclaim what was taken from them.

1) Citizen Kane

Citizen Kane, released in 1949, is reminiscent of Bicycle Thieves, a film from 1948. Both movies fall under the drama genre and have received high ratings from the audience. While Bicycle Thieves takes place in post-war Italy and follows a working-class man's quest to find his stolen bicycle, Citizen Kane explores the life of publishing tycoon Charles Foster Kane through the lens of reporters trying to unravel the meaning behind his final word, "Rosebud." Both films delve into complex human emotions and showcase the struggles of their protagonists. However, Citizen Kane's narrative is more layered, incorporating symbolism and foreshadowing to create a mesmerizing experience. Orson Welles, who serves as the leading character, producer, and director of Citizen Kane, deserves credit for his exceptional work. The movie's camera work, lighting, acting, and music have made it a timeless masterpiece. Anyone who appreciates great storytelling and cinematic craftsmanship should watch Citizen Kane at least once in their lifetime.

Release date: June, 1949
IMDB Rating: 8.3
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2) The 400 Blows

The 400 Blows is reminiscent of Bicycle Thieves in its poignant portrayal of a troubled youth, Antoine, who finds himself caught up in a life of petty crime. Both films beautifully capture the struggles faced by their young protagonists, highlighting the impact of their surroundings and circumstances on their development. While Bicycle Thieves explores the post-war poverty in Italy through the lens of a stolen bicycle, The 400 Blows delves into Antoine's troubled relationship with his neglectful parents and his experiences skipping school. Both films showcase the remarkable performances of their young leads, with Lamberto Maggiorani and Enzo Staiola in Bicycle Thieves, and Jean-Pierre Léaud in The 400 Blows, who bring authenticity and depth to their characters. The directors, Vittorio De Sica and François Truffaut, demonstrate their mastery in capturing the nuances of their protagonists' lives, presenting seemingly minor events that shape their journeys.

Release date: June, 1959
IMDB Rating: 8.1
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3) The Sinner

The Sinner takes us on a journey from a dysfunctional family to a turbulent romance with an unsuccessful artist. While it lacks the intense post-war backdrop and the compelling theme of bicycle theft found in Bicycle Thieves, The Sinner still manages to captivate with its modern approach to storytelling and its exploration of social and sexual mores in Germany during and after World War II. The film's vibrancy and interesting use of narrative techniques, such as voiceover, montage, and framing, foreshadow the work of Fassbinder. Although it may seem tame by today's standards, The Sinner is a hidden gem that deserves to be discovered. So, if you enjoyed Bicycle Thieves for its powerful portrayal of post-war Italy and its examination of the human condition, then The Sinner will surely leave you intrigued and wanting more.

Release date: January, 1951
IMDB Rating: 6.8

4) Attention! Bandits!

Attention! Bandits! is reminiscent of Bicycle Thieves, as both movies are set in post-war Italy and explore the struggles faced by ordinary people. While Bicycle Thieves focuses on a working-class man's desperate search for his stolen bicycle, Attention! Bandits! tells the story of Italian resistance fighters trying to seize a shipment of weapons from the German occupation. Both films capture the harsh realities of war and the lengths people will go to in order to survive. However, Attention! Bandits! also delves into the moral dilemmas faced by the characters, particularly the Italian soldiers torn between following orders and joining the partisan resistance. With its historical value and portrayal of the post-war period, Attention! Bandits! provides a unique perspective on Italy's fight for freedom. So, if you enjoyed the emotional depth and realism of Bicycle Thieves, you should definitely give Attention! Bandits! a watch.

Release date: November, 1951
IMDB Rating: 6.4

5) The Great Dictator

The Great Dictator, released in 1941, is a captivating comedy-drama set in the 1910s. It's reminiscent of Bicycle Thieves, a 1948 Italian drama, in terms of its historical setting and social commentary. While Bicycle Thieves focuses on post-World War II Italy and the struggles of a working-class man, The Great Dictator explores the rise of a dictator and the persecution faced by a poor Jewish barber. Both films shed light on the hardships faced by ordinary people during challenging times. However, while Bicycle Thieves is rooted in realism, The Great Dictator combines slapstick comedy with a powerful message, making it a must-watch for anyone who appreciates clever humor with a dash of social commentary. With its iconic scenes and Chaplin's brilliant performance, The Great Dictator stands as a classic amalgamation of film talents, showcasing the genius of Charles Chaplin.

Release date: March, 1941
IMDB Rating: 8.4
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6) Metropolis

Metropolis is reminiscent of Bicycle Thieves in several ways. Both films explore the struggles of working-class individuals in their respective societies. While Bicycle Thieves focuses on a man's pursuit to find his stolen bicycle in post-war Italy, Metropolis portrays a futuristic city divided between the wealthy and the laborers. In both films, the protagonists face class differences and economic hardships. Additionally, both films highlight the importance of unity and finding common ground among social classes. However, Metropolis takes a more dystopian and sci-fi approach, incorporating elements such as robots and a futuristic setting. The visual aesthetics of Metropolis, with its grandiose architecture and striking use of light and shadow, are also worth mentioning. Overall, if you enjoyed the emotional depth and social commentary of Bicycle Thieves, you will find Metropolis equally captivating, albeit with a unique and visually stunning twist.

Release date: February, 1927
IMDB Rating: 8.3
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7) Rashomon

Rashomon. In this Kurosawa classic, the plot revolves around the rape of a bride and the murder of her samurai husband. What makes this film reminiscent of Bicycle Thieves is the way it delves into multiple perspectives and unreliable narration. The story is told from four different viewpoints: the bandit, the bride, the samurai's ghost, and a woodcutter. Each version of events contradicts the others, leaving us to question what really happened. It's like a jigsaw puzzle, with the pieces constantly shifting. The black and white cinematography adds to the atmospheric feel of the film, contrasting against the sordid storyline. While Bicycle Thieves focuses on the struggles of a working-class man in post-war Italy, Rashomon explores the complexity of human nature and the subjectivity of truth.

Release date: August, 1950
IMDB Rating: 8.2
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8) Diary of a Country Priest

Diary of a Country Priest is reminiscent of Bicycle Thieves, but with a spiritual twist. Both movies explore the struggles of individuals facing adversity in their lives. In Bicycle Thieves, we follow a working-class man's desperate search for his stolen bicycle in post-war Italy. Similarly, in Diary of a Country Priest, a young priest battles a mysterious stomach ailment while trying to fulfill his duties in a hostile environment. While Bicycle Thieves focuses on the economic hardships of post-war Italy, Diary of a Country Priest delves into the emotional and spiritual turmoil of the protagonist. Both films employ a minimalist approach, relying on naturalistic performances and subtle storytelling. However, Diary of a Country Priest adds an extra layer by exploring the protagonist's crisis of faith and his attempt to find solace amidst indifference. If you enjoyed the raw human emotions and social commentary of Bicycle Thieves, Diary of a Country Priest offers a thought-provoking examination of faith and perseverance in the face of adversity.

Release date: February, 1951
IMDB Rating: 7.8

9) Death of a Cyclist

Death of a Cyclist is reminiscent of Bicycle Thieves in its exploration of the consequences of a tragic event. While Bicycle Thieves focuses on the theft of a bicycle and the impact it has on a man's ability to find work, Death of a Cyclist delves into the aftermath of a hit-and-run accident involving a couple having an affair. Both films highlight the moral dilemmas faced by the characters and the lengths they go to protect their secrets. However, Death of a Cyclist takes a darker turn, as the couple's fear of exposure leads them to abandon the injured cyclist. While Bicycle Thieves is a poignant portrayal of post-war Italy, Death of a Cyclist offers a gripping examination of the complexities of human nature and the consequences of our actions. Fans of Bicycle Thieves will find Death of a Cyclist to be a compelling and thought-provoking companion piece.

Release date: September, 1955
IMDB Rating: 7.7

10) City Lights

City Lights, released in 1931, is a delightful slapstick comedy directed by Charles Chaplin. Just like Bicycle Thieves, City Lights is a classic film with a timeless charm. While Bicycle Thieves explores the struggles of a working-class man in post-war Italy, City Lights tells the story of a tramp who falls in love with a blind flower girl and goes to great lengths to help her. Both films capture the human experience with a touch of humor and heartwarming moments. However, what sets City Lights apart is its silent nature. In this silent film, the absence of dialogue allows the audience to rely solely on the visual elements, which Chaplin masterfully uses to provoke emotional responses. The lack of sound effects or spoken words forces us to appreciate the pure simplicity and honesty of the film. Just like early European art, City Lights reminds us that beauty can be found in simplicity.

Release date: March, 1931
IMDB Rating: 8.5
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11) Vulcano

In "Vulcano," we witness the captivating story of Anna Magnani, a prostitute banished from Naples who returns to her volcanic island home off the coast of Italy. While Bicycle Thieves depicts post-war Italy, Vulcano transports us to the stunning yet isolated volcanic island. Both films share a common theme of individuals struggling against difficult circumstances, whether it's a man searching for his stolen bicycle or a woman fighting for her sister's safety. However, where Bicycle Thieves portrays the desperation caused by poverty, Vulcano explores the dark underbelly of the white slave trade. While the former is a tale of resilience and determination, the latter delves into the complexities of guilt, remorse, and the forces of nature. Vulcano's black and white cinematography, coupled with its deeply melodramatic narrative, creates a sense of primitivism that reminds us of the raw power of nature and the human experience.

Release date: February, 1950
IMDB Rating: 6.7

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