Directed By: Arthur Penn
Written By: David Newman and Robert Benton
When we were watching Warren Beatty in Dick Tracy we realized we didn’t have this movie and had to make arrangements to change that. Not only is this a classic film but it is one we have both always enjoyed. We were a young crazy couple in love once and it was during that era that we saw this movie. I think it was a movie we both related to at the time. With the thrill seeking lifestyle that is, not the impotence problem. In our youth we fancied ourselves to be rebels of a sort, and the “Bonnie and Clyde” theme appealed to us in a number of different films.
The Great Depression produced many celebrity outlaws that the film industry has always been willing to exploit on screen. Actually adding to the problem in doing so by glorifying their actions for an even greater audience. John Dillinger, Pretty Boy Floyd, and Baby Face Nelson have all graced the big screen at one time or another but none were as famous or celebrated as Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow. Arthur Penn does a good job using them as the centerpiece for his story about the Great Depression but his movie is an inaccurate portrayal of actual events. Like most movies that try to cover something historical like this they just can’t possibly fit the whole story into two hours. There was much more to this story and some of the things the film portrays were outright exaggerations or made up all together. The filmmakers were actually sued for defamation by the family of U.S. Marshal Frank Hamer, who was never captured and photographed with the gang members. The infamous death of the two is shown differently in the film than how it actually happened as well. Bonnie and Clyde did go out in a hail of bullets but they were heavily armed and fighting back at the time. The way they are killed in the film implies that they were unarmed and victimized by the law. One of the many ways the film glorifies their actions and character despite the fact that they were ruthless killers and thieves. Nevertheless the film does cover the basic story and does a good job; you just have to be careful about what you take at face value.
Warren Beatty was in his prime when he made this film. At 30 years old this is definitely the youngest and fittest I have ever seen him. I don’t know much about Beatty beyond him being a very private and powerful celebrity. I have always been a big fan of Gene Hackman who is also really young in this film. Hackman was an actor for over forty years and maintained a staying presence during the majority of that time; he only got more active in his later years. He has made countless good movies with iconic roles throughout his career; we will review many of his films. Faye Dunaway looks spectacular in this film, although she is much more beautiful than the actual Bonnie Parker, but that makes no matter. It’s also worth mentioning that Robert Towne did some doctoring to the script of the film. Towne is well known for his writing roles in films like Chinatown and The Yakuza.
This was a very violent movie in 1967 that had a large and pronounced sexual theme thrown in the mix. There has been talk that our culture’s fixation on sex and violence all began with this movie. I don’t know that for any actual certainty but I think it is an interesting idea. After all, I am a product of the film world created under the influence of this film, and my favorite movie of all time is practically just a modern version of this movie. This is a classic film and you don’t need me to tell you it’s a good movie. This one is definitely worth your time.
I remember watching this movie in film critique class in high school. I immediately liked it. There are a few things that I distinctly remember from class so I will reiterate them here.
The big guns and cigars are used in the movie to symbolize the impotence that Clyde experiences. The irony is that he is this big badass bank robber, but he can’t get his junk up. Also, this movie was one of the first of its kind to make the viewer actually side with and feel sorry for the bad guys. Bonnie and Clyde were horrible criminals that stole and killed, yet this film made the viewer actually root for them in the end. Even though you know in the end they both die, you feel a sense of sadness for the gruesome way in which they are killed.
I really like this movie. It is a classic tale of a true life story and is more than worth your time.