As I get further through this film challenge I am starting to notice a worrying trend about these films in that I just don't get why a lot of these films are so revered. Take this film as a perfect example, regarded as one of the greatest movies ever made by a variety of different people - including having a 96% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
My issue with it is that it just seems too simplistic. While the story itself is very interesting there is no real depth to either it or the characterisation. Yes I can feel for the people living in post-war Italy (or indeed anywhere in Europe), in particular the poorest classes trying to rebuild their lives. But most of my acceptance and understanding of that fact comes from my own knowledge - very little if anything is added within the movie.
We see the dynamics of the father-son relationship, but we never really fully understand the difficulties the family are facing as a result of the poverty that lead to such excitement between the two when a job is found. When the bike is then lost we don't really see heartbreak or suffering more the idea that everyone will band together to help those in need.
While in no way would I ever want to suggest that a Will Smith movie is deserving of a place in the Top100 movies of all time, the portrayal of desperation, poverty and social dislocation in Pursuit of Happyness does all of these far better than the Bicycle Thieves. A film worth watching if only so that you can then explain to me what it is that I missed...