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'Bonnie and Clyde' is not a film about two real people famous for so
many bank robberies and murders across the big country... It shows a
new kind of fury in which people could be harm by weapons... The film,
however, manages to carry the impression that these two youngsters took
great pleasure in robbing banks and stores... It also suggests that it
was very easy for them to fool the lawas certainly occurred in real
life... Though merited punishment caught up with them, audiences
laughed at their remarkable deeds and wanted them to get away...
In 'Bonnie and Clyde,' Penn created an emotional state, an image of the 1930s filtered through his 1960s sensibility... The sense of this period reflects Penn's vision of how the 1930s Depression-era truly was, and for all the crazy style and banjo score, this vision is greatly private...
What is also personal about 'Bonnie and Clyde' and constitutes its incomparable quality, is its unusual mixture of humor and fear, its poetry of violation of the law as something that is gaiety and playfulness...
'Bonnie and Clyde' is both true and abstract... It is a gangster movie and a comedy-romance... It is an amusing film that turns bloody, a love affair that ends with tragedy...
A modification between pleasure and catastrophic events is important to the essential aim of the film... In their second bank robbery, a daring and joyful action goes morosely embittered when Clyde is forced to kill an executive in the bank, and real blood pours out from his body...
Bonnie and Clyde take self-gratification posing for photographs with their prisoners But when surrounded by detectives in a motel, they turn into vindictive bandits struggling for their lives... C. W. Moss, specially, brings to mind Baby Face Nelson, when he murders policemen with a blazing machine gun...
One of the stimulating moments in the film happens when Clyde chases Bonnie through a yellow corn field, while a cloud transverses the sun and slowly shadows the landscape... Here the characteristic quality of the Texas countryside and the vague aspect of the story are beautifully communicated......
Penn's masterpiece nominated for ten Academy Awards, including Best Picture, won two Oscars, one for Best Actress in a Supporting Role and another for Best Cinematography...
Besides being an enormously entertaining movie, "Bonnie and Clyde" was an
important 1960's landmark film in a couple of ways. Its violent ending
helped to hasten the end of the old Hayes code, which had been a severe
restrictor of artistic freedom; and it helped shape the '60's image of the
anti-hero. For these things it received a good deal of condemnation as well
The picture is a melange of artistic license and historical accuracy. The recreation of the Depression-era look is superb. (It's done in an unostentatious manner, however. One feels it rather than particularly noting it.) While some liberties are taken with the story, a reasonable amount jibes with the facts. But certainly there is some romanticization here. And of course the real Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker were not nearly as attractive as Beatty and Dunaway.
The acting by the two principals is top-notch, as well as that of most of the rest of the cast, especially Gene Hackman (the first film I ever saw him in) and Estelle Parsons.It's not generally recognized that actors Denver Pyle, Dub Taylor and Gene Wilder contribute to the movie's success. Technically as well as artistically everyone from director Arthur Penn on down deserves praise for making what I think is one of the finest movies ever made, without qualification. It seems we all reserve the warmest spots in our hearts for favorite films of our youth. This is one of mine.
And you'll love Flatt & Scruggs' "Foggy Mountain Breakdown" too.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Every time I watch "Bonnie and Clyde" I'm convinced that this time it
won't shock me. And every time I'm proved wrong.
"Bonnie and Clyde" was one of the first American movies to acknowledge that Americans are turned on by violence. People blame this movie for ushering in the increasingly graphic content of movies that in the present day makes it seem as if nothing is off limits. But this is wishful thinking on the part of people who don't want to admit that America has been a violent culture from day one. "Bonnie and Clyde" was a huge hit, but it's because it gave people what they wanted, not because it introduced them to something they'd never thought of before. At least in this film, you see what happens when a bullet tears through human flesh -- I can't say the same for the countless morale-boosting WWII films from the 1940s or the John Wayne westerns that are so beloved by conservative America.
In the world of "Bonnie and Clyde," sex and violence are extensions of the same impulse. Clyde can't get one "gun" to work, so he uses another. Bonnie is as restless as a cat in heat -- but Clyde won't scratch her itch, so she finds other ways of releasing tension. It's a movie that makes us identify with the killers. They're gorgeous and glamorous, but they're also vulnerable. They're Robin Hoods, justifying their crime by stealing from the rich and giving to the poor; but they're also naive in thinking that when they steal money from banks they're not also stealing from the poor rural people who use those banks. Authority figures aren't seen much in the film, but when they are, they're sadistic. Sheriff Hamer is a stony, craggy mass in comparison to the movie-star killers, and C.W. Moss's dad, who's finally the one to turn Bonnie and Clyde in, does what is right morally, but that's overshadowed by the fact that all we see him do is beat C.W. and call him white trash. It's no wonder this half-wit kid ran away with the Barrow gang in the first place. We know there's only one possible ending to the movie, yet by the time it comes, we find ourselves half hoping that Bonnie and Clyde can start over and make the American dream a reality. We've forgotten that they've killed, many times, in cold blood.
The most haunting scene in the film is the one in which Bonnie visits her mother for one last time, and her mom tells her what the audience has known all along but hasn't consciously acknowledged until that point: "You try to live within three miles of me, and you won't live long honey. You best keep runnin'." It's one of the most chilling and effective moments I've ever seen in a movie.
First of all, let me say that I'm appalled by the real life Bonnie and
Clyde. They were two psychopathic thrill killers from Dallas who had a
special hatred for law enforcement officers. I must admit that I do feel
sorry for the way they were killed, but like the old axiom goes, "If you
live by the sword, you die by the sword."
That said, the movie "Bonnie and Clyde" was a groundbreaking film. It was the first time that we the audience were allowed inside the killers minds, and could see what made them tick. This is perhaps the first film that takes a somewhat objective look at crime; we the audience don't have "FBI Seal of Approval" morality shoved down our throats, but we still can tell by the actions of the characters that they are evil, whether they know it or not.
The story is of two Texas young adults who, bored with their lives and the prospects of going nowhere in the world, decide to live out their dreams of stardom by going on a crime spree. They fancy themselves a sort of "Romeo and Juliet" couple, and think of their robberies as harmless fun. They start out small by knocking over grocery stores and gas stations, but soon graduate to banks when they need more money to accommodate their lifestyle. Soon they have a simple minded gas clerk named C.W. and Clyde's brother and wife in the gang, and the duo goes down into history.
Then the fun and games are over. With law enforcement officials now looking for Bonnie and Clyde, they become targets of bounty hunters, unethical cops and other greedy persons who wish to make a name for themselves, and they lose a part of their childish innocence as the escalation of their crimes makes them become more and more violent. When death finally comes for Bonnie and Clyde, it comes with a vengeance.
Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway have never been better. Beatty, who plays Clyde Barrow as an impotent, ne'er do well country boy who seems to be sowing his wild oats, is in top form. He makes Clyde likable, with a goofy smile perpetually pasted on his face, even when sticking up a bank with two guns in his hands. Dunaway is the ultimate femme fatale as Bonnie Parker, a sweet natured Southern belle who likes the feel of a .38 in her hands as she politely asks for all the money. It's absurd, it's unrealistic, but hey, it's Hollywood. And the film works.
But most importantly, Bonnie and Clyde are in love. It's a kind of love that only few films afterward have been able to equal. There is a genuine feeling of giddy romance between the two no matter what the scene, be it a bank robbery or family get-together away from the reaches of society.
Arthur Penn was obviously a man on a mission when he directed this film. You could sense with every frame that he knew of the importance of this movie; a cinematic masterpiece that dares to make its audience evoke pathos for what would have been banned just a few years earlier.
The finale is still to this day a triumph of audience manipulation. The two bandits, finally captured and unable to escape, are dealt with in a fashion that will haunt you days after viewing. It's sad, it's disgusting, but it brings closure to the lives of two individuals whose works and existence could not be tolerated by the powers that be.
The movie "Bonnie and Clyde" inspired a generation of film makers to look at cinema in a different light. Actions movies were allowed to be funny from this point; funny movies could get away with violence. On the negative side, however, the film changed the morals of Hollywood by allowing murder to be dealt with in such a nonchalant fashion.
Sure, Claude is obviously shaken up after his first kill, as are Bonnie and C.W., but from that point on violence against law officials is no longer a problem. The police in this film are rather like the way gangsters used to be portrayed; a collection of stupid, soulless individuals who only want to ruin Bonnie and Clyde's fun.
In the end, this in an excellent film about Depression era gangsters. Most ironically, however, is that it seems dedicated to the two real life robbers who don't deserve such an honor of having a film legacy created in their names.
10 stars. Innovative, fresh, and hey, it helped pave the way for "Dillinger", my favorite movie in the robber-gangster genre.
When Arthur Penn's Thirties-set gangster movie first appeared in 1967
it was like a breath of fresh air in the American cinema, (though to be
fair, on hindsight, the American cinema in the previous few years,
particularly in the Independent sector, wasn't doing too badly). Still,
Penn's movie seemed to break new ground and not just in it's depiction
of violence. It had a lyrical intensity that belonged more to the
French New Wave, (and at one time Truffaut's name was associated with
the project), and, in that it took back to the American cinema the
trappings that the French had originally borrowed in films like "A Bout
De Soufflé" and "Shoot the Pianist", seemed to square the circle.
In the intervening years it has fallen somewhat out of fashion. It now almost seems quaintly old-fashioned, it's form more classically structured and narratively driven than might first appeared. But there are virtues that have largely been overlooked. Like "The Graduate" which came out in the same year, it is a young person's film yet it burns with a fierce intelligence that is conspicuously absent from similar films today. I suppose you could say the film has a pop-art sensibility, (a close-up of Faye Dunaway's face, lips burning bright red, could come from a Lichtenstein poster), and its cast seem unnaturally young, (only Beatty had established a persona for himself at the time; the others had yet to establish a reputation), but they became stars because of it. (Gang members Parsons and Pollard didn't make the leap; they were character actors from the start). Arguably you could say Beatty, Dunaway, Hackman, Parsons and Pollard were never to better their work here. They may have equalled it but their performances were definitive.
Arthur Penn, too, was never to make another movie as good. The film's extraordinary critical and popular success gave Penn the freedom to tackle 'weightier' material, but "Little Big Man" and "Georgia's Friends" now seem misguided attempts at solemnity, while even his brilliant western "The Missouri Breaks" seems to succeed more for it's oddness rather than it's originality. Perhaps "Bonnie and Clyde" was a one-off though it did spawn an awful lot of break-neck thrillers and up-dated film-noirs, and was more responsible for the baby-boom in movies in the seventies than "Easy Rider" which followed it two years later. It remains a film ripe for reassessment.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Boy meets girl, boy takes girl on robbery spree, cops chase boy and
girl. This innovative film transformed Hollywood's approach to the crime
genre and ushered the nouvelle vague into America's mainstream.
The real-life Bonnie and Clyde ranged the rural Texas-Oklahoma-Missouri emptiness in the early 1930's, holding up village banks. A product of the Depression, these amateurish outlaws attracted media attention because they brought drama to a bleak, joyless world. They were freewheelers who turned the tables on the banks, notorious but somehow admirable villains. The Robin Hood theme is quietly insisted upon throughout the film. Banks foreclose on poor farmers, or suddenly fail, wiping out ordinary folks' savings. Out of this chaos emerge these youngsters, scourging the rich and living for the moment, riding their luck for as long as it lasts, "uncertain as times are".
Mythology is the stuff that Bonnie and Clyde are made of. The film deals admirably with both reality and myth. A farmer touches Clyde reverently, as he might touch a sacred relic. On the other hand, Old Man Moss is disappointed by the ordinariness of the dynamic duo - "they ain't nothin' but a coupla kids!" We see the clumsy, ragged robberies and the burgeoning fame. Our lovable rogues may be violent thugs, but they favour the little guy. During a robbery in progress, a farmer is permitted to keep his money. The authorities are portrayed as hapless oafs, as is customary in 'Robin Hood' movies, but here it bears an underlying significance - America's institutions have failed the citizens. People can't repose trust in the police. (The film was made at the depths of the Vietnam War and the Civil Rights disturbances.)
One of the striking features of the film, and one which attracted criticism on its release, is the linking of violence with comedy. This was a period when violence was being portrayed graphically onscreen, and what is new in this film is that the firing of the gun and the bullet hitting the victim are both contained in the same camera shot, as opposed to the traditional euphemism of the cut away from the gun. We never forget that, for all their hedonistic levity, our two leads are "staring square into the face of death". The final shoot-up is a shocking and fascinating danse macabre. "There's nothing quite like the kinetics of violence," says director Arthur Penn. He uses crazily juxtaposed running-speeds to compound the horror of the madly-flailing corpses, an effect which he calls "both spastic and balletic".
And then, of course, there is sex. The real Clyde Barrow maintained a homosexual liaison with C.W. Moss, and originally the writers Benton and Newman had wanted the menage-a-trois with Bonnie to be a part of the film. Warren Beatty objected to playing a bisexual, and on reflection the Beatty-Penn-Benton-Newman production team dispensed with the sexual sophistication, reasoning that it would complicate the story unnecessarily and alienate cinema audiences. The only remaining vestiges are Clyde's difficulty making love to Bonnie, and some laddish cuddles during the card game in the hideout. The meeting of Bonnie and Clyde at the start is filled with playful sexual imagery. A bored, trapped Bonnie pummels the slats of her bedframe, pouting with sexual frustration. Clyde bursts into this 'prison' and seduces her with his aura of danger and excitement. Check out the phallic symbols - toothpick, gun and coke bottle.
The music is wonderful in itself, and wonderfully appropriate. Flatt and Scruggs' "Foggy Mountain Breakdown" evokes place and time perfectly, and provides a rousing accompaniment to the car chases. Director Penn has the boldness to dispense with incidental music and, where dramatic effect requires it, to rely on ambient sound such as eerily-rustling grass.
At the writing stage, Benton and Newman were in love with the French New Wave and wanted this project to enshrine the nouvelle vague principles. Strenuous but abortive attempts were made to recruit first Truffaut and then Godard, but Beatty finally convinced the writers that outer trappings such as European directors were unnecessary, because the script held all the New Wave ingredients. Truffaut's benign influence pervades the final version, especially the section where Bonnie reads her ballad aloud. We move visually through three scenes as Bonnie's voice proclaims the couple's testament, a cinematic gem suggested by Truffaut. Throughout the action, the jump-cut style of editing captures perfectly the spareness which is the essence of New Wave. Two sheets of newspaper are scattered on the swirling wind, an image which underscores the feckless, empty existence of the protagonists. Benton may not have got his francophone director, but in this fresh treatment of classic American subject matter he succeeded in making his "specifically European film".
"We couldn't have made it on the back lot," says Beatty, and he is right. The rural Texas locations are terrific, their open spaces hinting at both freedom and emptiness. Bonnie and Clyde are at their best when on the move, and they grow fractious whenever cooped up. The countryside is almost a participant in the story, as when the distraught Bonnie, filled with thoughts of death and separation, absconds through the field of withered corn, or the Eugene-Thelma episode closes with a dustcloud 'wiping' the action. The night-to-day sequence around the two cars after Buck's misfortune is beautifully done.
Beatty produced the film as well as starring in it. He held daily pre-shoot discussion sessions for the cast, an admirable attempt to enrich the creative process. By the evidence of this fresh, entertaining and superbly-constructed film, his inclusive instincts triumphantly augmented a winning formula.
"Bonnie and Clyde" is a real innovative film in the fact that it does contain some extremely violent content. 1967 was a different time in the cinema. This film was one of the first, if not the first, that really showed violence the way it would be in real life. People bleed when they get shot and they die in gruesome fashions. The film itself is the somewhat true story of the infamous bank robbers who terrorized parts of Texas and Oklahoma in the early-1930s before they were finally terminated by the authorities. Warren Beatty, Faye Dunaway, Gene Hackman, and Michael J. Pollard all received Oscar nominations. Estelle Parsons won one in the Supporting Actress category. Dunaway and Hackman proved to be the finds of the decade and Beatty became the first real star to be an instrumental part in the actual production of the film. Watch for Gene Wilder in a somewhat funny sequence during the course of the action. Unrelenting and overall exceptional, "Bonnie and Clyde" is easily one of the top 10 films of the 1960s and one of the greatest films of all time. 5 stars out of 5.
"Bonnie and Clyde" is, what I would consider to be, the movie that let
loose violence in cinema. Artur Penn's based on a true story classic of
violence, sexuality, and crime, was excellent thirty-two years ago when it
first came out, is excellent today, and will be excellent for decades to
come. Plus, it is one of those rare movies that are at the same time a
landmark for cinema history as well as a true classic for more than just its
landmark aspect. This movie earned five nominations only for acting and won
best supporting-actress for Estelle Parsons.
One morning, as she wakes up, Bonnie Parker (Faye Dunaway) notices that a man is trying to subtly break into her car. She quickly dresses up and runs down. The man looks up at her embarrassed and we are than revealed Clyde Barrow (Warren Beatty). The two of them go for a walk down the road but when Clyde tells Bonnie that he is a robber, she doesn't believe him. So, he decides to prove to her that he isn't lying and robs a small grocery shop right away. As soon as he exits the store, he shows Bonnie the money and they escape in a car that they steal. And so begins an adventure they will never forget.
Along their way, they pick up a young boy who works at a gas station who is called C.W. (Michael J. Pollard). They begin doing more and more robberies until Clyde is finally forced to kill someone. Later on in their trip, Clyde's brother (Gene Hackman) and his wife Blanche (Estelle Parsons) catch up with Clyde, C.W., and Bonnie and they continue committing crimes such as robberies and even sometimes murders but usually in cases of self-defense.
"Bonnie and Clyde" is beautifully acted and expertly directed. After "Bonnie and Clyde", Arthur Penn directed some other good movies such as "Little big man" but as good as they were all, none ever equalled "Bonnie and Clyde". If you haven't seen it yet, you should put it first on your "Next movies to watch" list.
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
The year was 1967, a groundbreaking year for movies, the Academy Award nominees were: "The Graduate" "Guess Who's Coming To Dinner", "In The Heat Of The Night" "Dr Doolittle" and, last, but certainly not least, "Bonnie and Clyde". All of these films have received the highest form of critical acclaim from one movie critic or another, hence, 1967 became a revolutionary year for film making. Focusing on the movie "Bonnie and Clyde", AFI (American Film Institute) rates "Bonnie and Clyde" the 27th best picture out of the top 100 American films ever made. I wholeheartedly concur with this assessment, yet, others may not, and, here is where a great deal of the movie audience members are seemingly missing the boat. When mentioning to people that "Bonnie and Clyde" is one of the best films to ever be produced, many moviegoers will get very disparaging and say: "I don't like gangster films, a movie like that is probably very good, but, a glorified cops and robbers flick could not possibly be one of the best movies ever made"... This is a preconceived notion which is totally erroneous! While many hoodlum bank heist movies are filled with turgid rhetoric, and evoke a sort of sinister adolescent mindset, "Bonnie and Clyde" assertively differentiates itself from the run of the mill. Brilliant acting, directing, and the sophisticated concept of colorfully accurate costuming, establishes "Bonnie and Clyde" as a stellar production in the Hollywood paradigm for films. It is true that many genres run a higher risk of being easily categorized as "stilted" more than others, and, gangster flicks are indeed, films which frequently fall into that classification. In the case of "Bonnie and Clyde", however, labeling it just another flashy and overbearing gangster movie would be an egregious miscarriage of justice.!! The picture "Bonnie and Clyde" establishes a set of vitriolic circumstances which create a vivid aura of insurrection from the anti-establishment. This was a technique that became the most effective form of entertainment to mesmerize the movie audience!! As a result, "Bonnie and Clyde" initiated a cinematic precedent by advocating the proverbial dark horse philosophy which other movies followed suit on back in the late sixties! Such a high profile presentation of early twentieth century bank robbing chicanery establishes a bevy of hard bitten accuracy through depraved channels of belligerence and rudimentary lust! Subsequently, this film became an acrimonious portrayal of the cause and effect traumas of the Great Depression! This major motion picture purports an authenticity to the aggregate rancor which prevailed between dangerous gangsters, and the officials working for the law during the late 1920's and early 1930's. The hostile fragility contained in the conversations with everyone signified a defensive reflex that criminals like Bonnie and Clyde harbored to vindicate their heinous acts of violence and robbery. This was one of the first films to depict the disconcerting scenario where the good guys and the bad guys are not sequestered by ethical polarization. The Great Depression demoralized virtually all U.S. citizens in one way or another! Invariably, poverty becomes the culprit to adversity, adversity brings about illicit behavior, and bandits such as Bonnie and Clyde are by products of this entire dilemma. Capital crimes served a purpose to flaunt a formidable individuality and acknowledgment for the nefarious perpetrators involved. While "Bonnie and Clyde" did not win for best picture in 1967, (That award was given to "In The Heat of the Night") "Bonnie and Clyde" had an irrevocable impact on the cinema world back in 1967. This is mostly on account of the fact that "Bonnie and Clyde" exuded an intensely haunting realism through the implementation of an absolutely fascinating and acutely glamorous dynamic. The acting was so incredible in this movie: It comprises of: Warren Beaty ( Actor, director, writer, producer, and, oh yeah!! Ladies Man!!). Faye Dunaway (World renown actress, particularly for her roles in "Chinatown" and "Network"). Gene Hackman, (Basically the best in the business; Famous for "French Connection" and "The Conversation" to name a couple). Gene Wilder, (Hysterically funny! and, star of "Young Frankenstein").In addition, this movie contained a host of other great performers, including Estelle Parsons, Parsons won the Oscar for best supporting actress with this role. The timing to the volatility, the emotions, and the archaic introductory harbinger to realistic violence in "Bonnie and Clyde" are sensational! "Bonnie and Clyde" is a cunningly successful masterpiece in the Hollywood repertoire of major motion pictures. The cinematography, and the camera angles to the movie "Bonnie and Clyde" manufactured a cannon of creativity which made this movie production truly innovative! Director, Arthur Penn, ascertains a succinct articulation of the pejorative human element with this film. This enables the movie audience to garner a precarious camaraderie with the dubious plight of wanted criminals. The invidious disposition to this movie's desultorily criminal Depression laden era formats a situation whereby the purveyors of societal injustice are cavorting around on both sides of the law! Whether a movie is about elusive New Yorkers, space time continua, or visceral bank robbing thugs during the Depression, the key to making a remarkable movie is predicated on the superb manner in which the movie is produced! Essentially, a film is judged by how it is auspiciously consummated from head to toe! With the coveted accolade of being up for nine Academy Award nominations back in 1967, "Bonnie and Clyde" should be commended as being one of the greatest American films ever made!! ABSOLUTELY SPECTACULAR!!
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