The Bicycle Thief is a very good film to illustrate the misery of the lower class people under the capitalism society. By setting up different social institutions and groups of people, Vittorio De Sica successfully represented the basic pattern of capitalism¡Xone class oppresses the other, the lowest one can never catch up with others, the higher class you are, the more profit you can get. And comparing the lower class family, Ricci, their misery to the other classes¡¦ enjoyment and luxury, the film recovers the unfairness in this capitalism society.
The lack of job opportunities presented at the beginning of the film shows the economic difficulty in that period. The poor men were everywhere on the streets to find their jobs. Although they were all jobless, among them there was still classes division. Not every man who was strong could get a job equally, but who had a bicycle (that means the poorest had less opportunities get a job among the poor). Although Antonio was selected to work, the requirement of a bicycle gave him a big burden.
The pawnshop was a place where the owner exploited the customers. People went there because they were poor and needed money. They pawned the things that were most valuable among their belongings, but they could only get very little money. They lost their money in pawning their goods, while the owner of the pawnshop got their money by collecting their goods in a very low price. Therefore, the poor got poorer and poorer because of pawning food. The pawnshop owner became richer and richer. A shot at the piles of pawned goods inside the pawnshop and the people waiting outside with their things created an obvious comparison between these two groups of people and classes differences
The job was not the most important thing to Antonio, but the bicycle. Without the bicycle, Antonio was not able to work. Therefore, the lost of the bicycle frustrated Antonio and his family very much. From the search process, we can see how Antonio was misled by his difficulties and how a poor helpless man kept exploiting by the upper classes. Going to the police station, Antonio was neglected by the polices because they couldn¡¦t see the importance of the bicycle to Antonio. Although polices were supposed to help people who were in trouble, they exploited Antonio¡¦s right of asking help. Without the help from the polices, Antonio searched from the bicycle market to the streets. His searching places were getting broader and broader, vaguer and vaguer, till he was misled by the helplessness to ask Sontana, the fortune-teller, for help and finally to steal. Since he was desperate in searching, he went to Sontana who he didn¡¦t believe in before. However, Sontana was also representing a kind of higher class which exploited Antonio. Under the helpless situation, Antonio wanted to have some instruction from the fortune-teller. As a matter of fact, Sontana didn¡¦t provide him any useful help. Instead, she got the money from him. It¡¦s sad that Antonio¡¦s difficulties and desperation in searching made him totally break down. And finally in order to survive he chose stealing. This tragedy actually could be due to the oppression and unfairness from the upper classes. They (the polices, fortune-teller, pawnshop owner, church members) didn¡¦t give the lower class (Antonio) any help. On the contrary, they took advantages from him when he was in trouble.
The restaurant, church and stadium were public places, but in that capitalism society, these places separated the lower class from the middle and upper class. Although Antonio brought Bruno to the restaurant, they were restricted by their economic condition. Unlike the rich sitting behind them kept eating one dish after the other, Antonio and Bruno could only order one or two cheap dishes. The rich might go to the restaurant every day, but to Antonio, that might be the first and last time to go there. The church was a place for everyone who was faithful to god. However, it was controlled by the upper class people so called ¡§charitable women.¡¨ They used bread and soup, not the belief of god, to attract the poor. The poor there were only as a kind of decoration to fill the church, to satisfy their ¡§charitable¡¨ hearts. The stadium, though was a public facility, divided the poor from the middle class people. The scene at the end of the film reflects the differences between the poor and the middle class. On one hand, the middle class people were spending their leisure time in watching sports. On the other hand, Antonio was struggling in his poverty.