Vittorio De Sica’s Interpretation of Bruno’s Significance as Shown in His Movie, Bicycle Thieves

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Words: 599 |

Page: 1|

3 min read

Published: Dec 12, 2018

Words: 599|Page: 1|3 min read

Published: Dec 12, 2018

In the film Bicycle Thieves the main character’s young son, Bruno, plays an important role in the story and goes through his own development throughout the film. The specific elements of the film’s mise-en-scène including the sets and settings and the performance of the actor as Bruno are crucial to his character’s identity.

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The young actor playing Bruno, Enzo Staiola, gives the viewer information on his character primarily through expression, gestures, and actions. Bruno’s actions show elements of his character, such as his unusual maturity and sense of responsibility, as well as his love and care for his family. A perfect example of this takes place toward the beginning of the film when Antonio and Bruno are preparing for and going to work. Several moments in this scene reflect on Bruno’s traits as detailed above. Firstly, he is shown to be cleaning his father’s bike with little complaint about having to do the chore. This shows not only that he cares for his father enough to willingly clean his bicycle–seemingly as a habit–but also has concern for its state due to its importance to his family’s livelihood. Later in the scene, Bruno closes the window he opened for light so that his infant sibling would not be exposed to the elements, thus similarly showing how he cares for his family and has a sense of responsibility for their wellbeing that is far beyond that of most children his age. Lastly, Antonio is shown dropping Bruno off on his way to work at his own job, indicating he is a breadwinner in his family as well as his father. His sacrificing of his childhood to help support his family and the responsibility that comes with being able to do that clearly show he cares for his family and has the maturity to help them in a time of need, even at such a young age. He also displays his helpfulness and empathy throughout the film through actions and expressions that show he cares greatly for his father and has the emotional maturity to try to help him. This manifests in the final moments of the film when Bruno takes his father’s hand, giving him reassurance and comfort after falling prey to the desperation of poverty and disregarding his morals to steal another’s bicycle.

In addition to the performance of Bruno’s character, the realist settings of the film also serve to inform the viewers understanding of the characters. The sets and locations the film was shot in are mostly gritty, crumbling and war-stricken places that reflect Bruno’s unusual maturity and the effect of poverty on him and his life. Referring again to the scene discussed above, the meager living situation of the Ricci family is shown just before Bruno is seen going off to work himself, show just how the poverty he lives in has affected his life as a child and has forced him to take on great responsibility. In contrast, one of the only times we see Bruno acting like a child is when he is removed temporarily from the backdrop of poverty in the restaurant scene. When in this nicer setting free from the weight of their desperate situation momentarily, Bruno seems happier and more carefree and silly as a child often is: pulling long strings of mozzarella from his sandwich, jealousy glaring at another young boy in the restaurant. This serves to show even more so that Bruno is influenced greatly by the surroundings and is still a child at heart, only taking on a more mature role when made to by the circumstances.

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This essay was reviewed by
Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

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Vittorio de Sica’s interpretation of Bruno’s significance as shown in his movie, Bicycle thieves. (2018, December 11). GradesFixer. Retrieved May 30, 2024, from
“Vittorio de Sica’s interpretation of Bruno’s significance as shown in his movie, Bicycle thieves.” GradesFixer, 11 Dec. 2018,
Vittorio de Sica’s interpretation of Bruno’s significance as shown in his movie, Bicycle thieves. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 30 May 2024].
Vittorio de Sica’s interpretation of Bruno’s significance as shown in his movie, Bicycle thieves [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2018 Dec 11 [cited 2024 May 30]. Available from:
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