If I had to pick an Italian director as the “best,” it would not be Fellini, but Vittorio de Sica, even though I’ve seen only a small fraction of De Sica’s films and I’ve seen almost all of Fellini’s. Federico was all about fantasy, even in his most realistic films. His metaphors were the church and the world of the theater. De Sica (at his best; I admit I haven’t seen many of his films from the ’60s, which I’m told were not very good) was all about the real world. The Bicycle Thief is on my Top 25 of all time list. Having said that … I didn’t like this quite as much as I expected to, given the reviews I’ve read. I don’t know where I could have cut a single frame of The Bicycle Thief, but I thought Umberto D. could have used a trim here and there. We spent a lot of time watching him get in and out of bed. The end was heartbreaking, though. Recommended.