1934. Young adults Bonnie Parker, a waitress, and Clyde Barrow, a criminal just released from prison, are immediately attracted to what the other represents for their life when they meet by chance in West Dallas, Texas. Bonnie is fascinated with Clyde's criminal past, and his matter-of-factness and bravado in talking about it. Clyde sees in Bonnie someone sympatico to his goals in life. Although attracted to each other physically, a sexual relationship between the two has a few obstacles to happen. Regardless, they decide to join forces to embark on a life of crime, holding up whatever establishments, primarily banks, to make money and to have fun. They don't plan on hurting anyone physically or killing anyone despite wielding loaded guns. They amass a small gang of willing accomplices, including C.W. Moss, a mechanic to fix whatever cars they steal which is important especially for their getaways, and Buck Barrow, one of Clyde's older brothers. The only reluctant tag-along is Buck's ... Written by
After bad notices in The New York Times, Time and Newsweek, what turned things around for the film was a 9,000-word rave by Pauline Kael, who was just starting her career as a film reviewer. When the magazine for which she regularly wrote, The New Republic, refused to print the lengthy review, she sold it to The New Yorker, which marked the start of her long tenure there. According to rumour, she also got Joe Morgenstern to reevaluate the film in Newsweek. After initially panning the film, he reported that he had totally missed the point and gave it a rave. See more »
On the opening credits, the card giving Bonnie's background mentions that she was born in Rowena which is in west Texas, just outside San Angelo. When Bonnie and Clyde are in the café and Clyde is talking about her background, he says, "You were born around east Texas, right?" to which she incorrectly responds, "Yeah." See more »
Bonnie & Clyde stands today as one of the most important films of the 60s, it's impact on culture alone marks it out as a piece of work to note, but as gangster films go this one is something of a landmark. Quite how writers Newman & Benton managed to craft a story of two deadbeat outlaws into cinematic heroes is up for any individual viewers scrutiny, but they bloody well do it because we all want to be in the Barrow gang, because we get lost in this romanticised outlawish tale unfolding in front of our eyes.
The film is a fusion of incredible violence and jaunty slapstick, and smartly pauses for delicate moments to let us into the psyche of the main protagonists, we know they have hangups, and with that we know they are fallible human beings, and this sets us up a treat for the incredible jaw dropping finale, and the impact of this finale hits as hard now as it did back with the audience's of 1967.
The cast are incredible, Warren Beatty gives a truly brilliant performance as Clyde, he looks good and suave tooting those guns, but it's in the tender troubled scenes where he excels supreme. Faye Dunaway as Bonnie is the perfect foil for Beatty's layers, she nails every beat of this gangsters troubled moll. Gene Hackman, Michael J Pollard, and Estelle Parsons put the cherry on the icing to give depth and range to the rest of the Barrow gang, and these fine actors are clothed in gorgeous cinematography courtesy of Burnett Guffrey. To round out the plaudits I finish with love for director Arthur Penn because it's his vision that gives us something of a nostalgic movie that plays up and down with its subjects with cheeky aplomb, in fact it's just like the banjo music that features so prominently throughout this wonderful film.
Nominated for 9 Oscars it won just the two, the entire actors who played the Barrow gang were nominated, and truth be told they all would have been worthy winners, as it is they gave out just the one to the least strongest performance from Estelle Parsons, go figure. It's legacy both in culture and box office lives on and for me Bonnie & Clyde is not only one of the best films of the 60s, it's also one of the best in history. 10/10
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