Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBBB. USA, 1967. Warner Brothers/Seven Arts, Tatira-Hiller Productions. Screenplay by Cinematography by Produced by Warren Beatty. Music by Charles Strouse. Production Design by Dean Tavoularis. Costume Design by Theadora Van Runkle. Film Editing by Dede Allen. Academy Awards 1967. Golden Globe Awards 1967. New York Film Critics Awards 1967.
Arthur Penn’s electrifying account of the famous criminal couple is still a ripping good film, and after years of endless gunfire in films it is quite amazing how shocking the violence still manages to be. Warren Beatty (making his first film as producer) plays Clyde Barrow and a debuting Faye Dunaway the gorgeous Bonnie Parker, the two of them taking off from their dusty little American town and ripping across the country robbing banks and murdering civilians. They eventually get together quite a little band of criminals, including Gene Hackman as Clyde’s brother and a hilariously shrieky Estelle Parsons as Hackman’s wife. The gorgeous photography and scintillating editing by Dede Allen only further serve this very scary story about two people who are reprehensibly immoral but sympathetically human at the same time. Much has been done to clean up the story and make the two of them more cinema-friendly, especially considering that many of the physical hardships of the duo’s spree is lightened up for the film and Barrow’s (alleged) bisexuality has been turned into impotence. A more recent television movie that claimed to tell the “real” story of Bonnie and Clyde wasn’t nearly as successful, as it did not capture the spirit of the experience successfully whether it was more accurate or not.