Toth Database - Cinema




Year: 1946

Duration: 93 min

Color: B/N 

Genre: Dramatic 

Director: Vittorio De Sica

Producer: Paolo William Tamburella

Photograph: Anchise Brizzi

Editing by Niccolò Lazzari

Music: Alessandro Cicognini 

Scenography: Ivo Battelli 



Performers and characters



Franco Interlenghi as Pasquale Maggi

Rinaldo Smordoni as Giuseppe Filipucci

Annielo Mele as Raffaele

Bruno Ortenzi as Archangels

Emilio Cigoli as Staffera

Leo Garavaglia as Commissioner

Gino Saltamerenda as the "Panza"

Anna Pedestrians as Nannarella

Enrico Da Silva as Giorgio

Maria Campi as chiromante

Mario Volpicelli as Prison Director

Antonio Nicotra as jailer

Claudio Ermelli as nurse

Peppino Spadaro as lawyer

Angelo D'amico as The Sicilian

Pacific Astrologer as Vittorio

Francesco De Nicola as Ciriola

Antonio Lo Nigro as Righetto

Antonio Carlino as Abruzzo

Irene Smorboni as Giuseppe's mother

Leonardo Bragaglia as boy




Pasquale and Giuseppe work as shoe shiners on the sidewalks of Via Veneto in Rome. As soon as they can they run to Villa Borghese and with 300 lire they rent a white horse called Bersagliere and ride it in two. With the complicity of Attilio, Joseph's older brother, the two find themselves unintentionally involved in a theft at the home of a cartoman, to whom they wanted to resell American blankets under the commission of the "Panza" (man who trafficked objects illegally). Before being arrested and taken to a juvenile prison they manage to realize their dream: to buy Bersagliere. The Horse will be entrusted to the care of a groom. The boys are locked up in different cells and experience deception and revenge. The commissioner and the director of the prison make Pasquale believe that Giuseppe will be whipped if he does not reveal the names of the accomplices of the theft at the cartomante. Pasquale will fall into the trap and speak. When Giuseppe, ignoring the reason why he did it, learns that his friend has made his brother's name, he decides to take revenge and reveals to Staffera, the assistant of the director, that in Pasquale's cell, a file is hidden in Pasquale's cell. Events precipitate: During a film screening, Giuseppe and his cellmate escape from prison. Pasquale, for fear of losing Bersagliere, reveals to Stafffera where the two escapees are and leads him to the stable where the horse is kept. On a bridge near the stable, Pasquale confronts Giuseppe riding Bersagliere. Arcangeli flees while Giuseppe, left alone, gets off the horse and Pasquale begins to whip him with his belt, so Joseph stumbles, falls from the shoulder of the bridge and dies. Pasquale, finding himself in a craving for revenge, can only mourn his desperate friend, screaming his pain to the world as the police approach and Bersagliere walks away from the bridge.




Produced by Paolo Willian Tamburella for ALFA Cinematografica, the film was shot in the Scalera studios in via della Circonvallazione Appia in Rome, in the autumn of 1945 and released in theaters on April 27, 1946.




« Together with the two films Roma Città Aperta and Paisà this by De Sica was considered the third masterpiece of neorealism, both for the theme addressed:


( the abandoned boys who give themselves to delinquency in a Rome upset by war and occupied by allied troops), both for the style of representation 


( a narrative as documentary as possible with characters taken from the street as documentary as possible with characters taken from the street and environments from the real). The film tells the tragic story of Pasquale and Giuseppe involved in a robbery and locked in a reformatory.


Here awaiting trial they come into contact with other boys who have been misled, mistreated and misled, their own friendship cools down. 


Eventually they flee the reformatory towards they are mistreated and misled, their own friendship cools.


Eventually as they flee the reformatory towards the freedom represented by a white horse, Joseph dies because of his friend


Sciuscià marks a deep censorship in De Sica's directorial career, almost a break, stylistic and content compared to the works of 1940–45.


Where a slight sentimental, more often comic vein prevailed in those films


– sentimental, here a spirit of denunciation and deep sensitivity becomes imperious 


For the most tragic cases of human and social reality. The style that is not as dry as Rossellini's and still welcomes certain tones a little easy, however, acquires a maturity of eloquee that will find the right tones in the daily tragedy of bicycle thieves and especially in Umberto D."


(Gianni Rondolino Bolaffi Catalogue of Italian cinema vol. 1)


The film grossed £55,800,000 in 1952