Bonnie and Clyde (1967) is a film about Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow, the bank robbers who roamed the central United States during the Great Depression. The film was directed by Arthur Penn, and starred Warren Beatty as Clyde Barrow and Faye Dunaway as Bonnie Parker.
Warner Bros.-Seven Arts had so little faith in the film that, in a then-unprecedented move, they offered its first-time producer Warren Beatty 40% of the gross instead of a minimal fee. The movie then went on to gross over $70 million world-wide by 1973.
The film was controversial on its original release for its supposed glorificaton of murderers, and for its level of graphic violence and gore, which was unprecedented at the time. Bosley Crowther of the New York Times was so appalled that he began to campaign against the increasing brutality of American films.
I remember seeing the film around 1972, and I became immersed in finding out everything I could about Bonnie and Clyde. I was disappointed when I found a picture of them in a book at the library and they ddin’t look like Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty.
Estelle Parsons won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her portrayal of Blanche Barrow, Clyde’s sister-in-law, and Burnett Guffey won an Academy Award for Best Cinematography. The film was also nominated for Best Actor in a Leading Role (Warren Beatty), Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Michael J. Pollard), Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Gene Hackman), Best Actress in a Leading Role (Faye Dunaway), Best Costume Design (Theadora Van Runkle), Best Director (Arthur Penn), Best Picture (Warren Beatty) and Best Writing, Story and Screenplay – Written Directly for the Screen (David Newman and Robert Benton)
The film is #27 on the American Film Institute’s “100 Years, 100 Movies”, #13 on its list of 100 American thrillers, and #65 on its list of 100 American romances. The line “We rob banks” was also ranked at #41 on the American Film Institute’s list of the 100 Greatest Movie Quotes. Bonnie and Clyde has been selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry.
One of my favorite films of all time, Bonnie & Clyde is a definite classic.