The Icicle Thief (1989)

Not Rated   |    |  Comedy

The Icicle Thief (1989) Poster

A movie resembling Bicycle Thieves (1948) is shown on TV, but the real-life world gets muddled with the film and the TV commercials.


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User Reviews

30 November 1998 | meebly
| A beautifully executed spoof on pop culture
A movie is shown on Italian TV, edited for time and content and butchered so badly even the characters in the film don't know where they end and the commercials begin. Incensed, the director hops a train to Rome to complain to the Italian Film Board of the mockery being made of his film. Unfortunately, his train arrives at the terminal in the film, and he becomes part of the ever-increasingly discombobulated action.

This is a comedic masterwork of satire, spoof and slapstick. While the film's title and the "film-within-a-film" are both take-offs on DiSica's classic "The Bicycle Thief", this is, in fact inspired by the best of Chaplin, Keaton and, in some ways, "Your Show of Shows". Director/star Maurizio Nichetti keeps the comic action going at a furious pace, never missing an opportunity to assault the film industry marketing hype and TV industry advertising joke he so disdains.

You won't want to think about the satire, though, while you're watching this. No matter how much you may hate subtitled films, this is a genuine riot, and you will not stop laughing.

Critic Reviews

Did You Know?


This movie makes extensive references to Bicycle Thieves (1948), starting with the title. This is done through a movie within the movie, sharing the same title and also using characters resembling those from the older film in name and appearance. "Ladri di Biciclette" means "The Bicycle Thieves"; while that is sometimes used as an English title, it is better known as "The Bicycle Thief". The Italian title of this newer movie, "Ladri di saponette", is a play on "Ladri di Biciclette"; it means "The Soap Thieves", and this apparently refers to the dialogue where Maria tells Bruno not to use up all the soap when washing his hands, remarking to Antonio that he must be eating it. The English title of the newer movie, "The Icicle Thief", has no relation to the Italian title but instead is a play on "The Bicycle Thief". It is tied to the movie through three lines of dialogue referring to chandeliers (one of them stolen during the movie) so sparkly they look "like icicles" - but this word occurs only in the English subtitles! The corresponding Italian dialogue does not use the word "ghiaccioli" meaning icicles at all. It refers to other sparkly objects: twice to "pèrle" meaning pearls, and once to "gocce" meaning drops of water.


Film Director: Where's the bicycle?
Bruno Piermattei: I sold it.
Film Director: Sold it? But with those bicycle wheels, you were supposed to make a wheelchair for your paralyzed father.
Bruno Piermattei: My father's quite well.
Film Director: Too bad! He should have been hit by a truck while riding home from the factory with the ...
Bruno Piermattei: ...


Plot Summary




Release Date:

24 August 1990


Italian, English

Country of Origin


Filming Locations

Bergamo, Lombardia, Italy

Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$20,809 26 August 1990

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:


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