Beijing Bicycle (2001)



Critic Consensus: Though rather repetitive in its plot, Beijing Bicycle provides an interesting look at the economic and social changes that have occurred in China.

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Movie Info

Following up on his gritty 1998 drama So Close to Paradise, about life among the down and out in Shanghai, acclaimed "sixth generation" filmmaker Wang Xiaoshuai shifts gears with this lighthearted look at bicycles in modern-day Beijing. At the ripe age of 17, Guei (Cui Lin) has left his rural hometown for the big city, looking to strike it rich. Instead, he lands a job as a bicycle messenger, earning paltry pay until he can pay off the bike. Yet he works doggedly without complaint, each day coming closer to the first possession in his planned riches. But just as he is about to pay off the bike, it gets stolen. Guei desperately searches the city and eventually spies a young man named Jian riding it. After the ensuing confrontation, Jian claims that he picked up the bike in a flea market and that it has already become central to his life, as he uses it to impress the girls. Soon, the two develop an unusual compromise. This film was screened at the 2001 Toronto Film Festival.
PG-13 (for some violence and brief nudity)
Art House & International , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:


Cui Lin
as Guei
Li Bin
as Jian
Xun Zhou
as Qin
Li Shuang
as Da Huan
Li Ben
as Jian
Zhao Yiwel
as Father
Yan Pang
as Mother
Zhao Yiwei
as Father
Fangfei Zhou
as Rong Rong
Xie Jian
as Manager
Ma Yuhong
as Accountant
Liu Lei
as Mantis
Mengnan Li
as Qui Sheng
Li Mengan
as Qui Sheng
Li Jian
as Classmate of Jian
Li Jianguo
as Jian's Classmate
Zhang Yang
as Jian's Classmate
Wang Yuzhong
as Classmate of Jian
Wei Hui Feng
as Classmate of Jian
Ji Hua
as Biker
Ren Hougang
as Biker
Ren Houpeng
as Biker
Zhang Yu
as Biker
Zhang Lei
as Classmate of Xiao
Chang Jiayin
as Classmate of Xiao
Wang Yan Yan
as Classmate of Xiao
Wang Yanan
as Xiao's Classmate
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Critic Reviews for Beijing Bicycle

All Critics (59) | Top Critics (20)

An artful yet depressing film that makes a melodramatic mountain out of the molehill of a missing bike.

June 28, 2002
Houston Chronicle
Top Critic

With Beijing Bicycle, Wang has crafted a picturesque morality tale that slyly depicts the hopelessness of communism while pointing up the essential similarities between people of all classes.

Full Review… | May 31, 2002
Toronto Star
Top Critic

Make no mistake, [Wang's] camera is saying, and don't be deceived by the Communist rhetoric -- this city is as class-ridden as any in the West.

Full Review… | May 31, 2002
Globe and Mail
Top Critic

While Wang Xiaoshuai's film doesn't plumb the depths, nor resonate with the kind of profound irony of Vittoria De Sica's 1947 classic, it is nonetheless an affecting, poignant drama.

May 30, 2002
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic

What's most unusual about Beijing Bicycle in terms of recent Chinese history is that any form of class conflict is depicted at all.

March 13, 2002
New York Observer
Top Critic

Fails to deliver either a social message or a good story.

Full Review… | March 8, 2002
Miami Herald
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Beijing Bicycle

Pretty good movie, really. Worth a viewing. I've been seeing a lot of Chinese films over the past few months and they've all been great, so... no complaints from me. This movie is depressing as sin, but really good and the development of the characters is solid.

Skyler Bartels
Skyler Bartels

Wang Xiaoshuai's "Beijing Bicycle" With "Beijing Bicycle" comes another motion picture dealing with class structure and the economics of capitalism and communism. However, Wang Xiaoshuai's choice of repeating certain scenes along with long pauses without any dialogue works against the film rather than enhance it. "Beijing Bicycle" is basically a retooling of Vittorio De Sica's "The Bicycle Thief", one of the greatest films of all time. That latter, however, accomplishes far more in its 93-minute running time than Wang's meandering 113-minute effort. After a while, you almost want to talk back to the screen and say, "I got the message! Now, would you please move along?" "Beijing Bicycle" is a nice effort but in the end overstays its welcome. The film could use a little more time in the editing room.

Edwin Pereyra
Edwin Pereyra

The ideal inheritor of De Sica's Bicycle Thief,erupts as a serious contender against composing deals,circumstantial notions and a willing contradiction of ideas.Xiaoshuai is a very underrated Chinese modern trespasser of independent film-making and he sure knows to catch our breath with the flamboyance of his people and characteristics of their self.The finale is amidst the top of 00's.

Dimitris Springer
Dimitris Springer

Super Reviewer

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