Common Sense Note
Parents need to know a sympathetic lead character in this notoriously downbeat drama is driven to commit a crime at the climax, and the picture ends on a melancholy note, with no sense of justice being done. There is talk about getting drunk, though nothing comes of it. The film is in black and white, and seeing it the way the filmmakers intended requires subtitle reading (though dubbed versions are available). In Roman Catholic circles and Web sites this film is highly regarded (one subplot concerns a charity church service), though the emphasis is on suffering more than salvation.
A few near-scuffles. A character suffers (or pretends to suffer) a kind of seizure under pressure. A father hits his son.
"Damn it" is about as bad is it gets.
The simple structure of the tale has led to numerous interpretations -- everything from the basic "life is unfair," to a highfalutin' metaphor for the world's voiceless urban lower classes. Antonio painfully looking for the bicycle on which his family's future depends reflects the working poor on a desperate quest for meaning and dignity.
Drugs / Tobacco /
Antonio talks about getting drunk. Wine served in a restaurant setting.