Although both films are in the same genre, both reflect Italian neo-realism in different ways and different environments. Bicycle thieves may be in the same genre, but Accattone pushes boundaries and societal norms by involving an "untouchable" main character who delves in the lives of pimps, prostitutes and in general the lower class or underbelly. In comparison, Bicycle thieves is much more wholesome in terms of content, concept and characters. Accattone is similar only in the way that all the characters in both films are deeply rooted in poverty.

Both are in the genre of Italian neo-realism because they revolve around the lives of people in oppressive poverty, struggling to make ends meet while still having big dreams. In one way, Bicycle Thieves seems almost more genuine because of the connection the father has with his son, but in Accattone the viewer is lost in its grittiness throughout. This is probably the biggest difference, in that Accattone is a much darker film, especially in terms of characterization and plot. Both films however deal with the idea of post-war oppression, and both portray a negative image of police and authority although it is much more severe in the case of Accattone.

Cinematically, Bicycle Thieves seemed to be a much more traditional depiction of post war Italian neo-realism because it showed the cities and scenery in a very depressing light. While Accattone also shared this dreary effect cinematically, it was more of gritty and disgusting rather than depressing or sad. I think there was clear use of handheld cameras in Accattone, which worked with the theme of the content but would not have worked as well in Bicycle Thieves.