Vittorio De Sica’ s 1948 film Ladri di Biciclette is exactly how you make a great film based on a simple story with very few characters. Arthur Miller calls this one-track conflict of a film “to be very close to a lyrical masterpiece.”

The plot is simple: Jobs are scarce in Rome yet the protagonist Man fortuitously procures one. This job requires a bicycle which the Man also fortuitously procures. During the the Man’s first day on the job his bicycle is stolen. The rest of the film focuses on his crusade to find the stolen bicycle and thereby remain employed.

Rome is so influential that characters lives, their interactions, and their relationships are moulded and shaped by her. As the man follows clues to track down his bicycle he transverses what seems like the whole city. Moving from one Roman neighborhood to another, new scenes mean new characters, and new characters mean new conflicts.
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