Director: Arthur Penn
Cast: Warren Beatty, Faye Dunaway, Michael J. Pollard, Gene Hackman, Estelle Parsons, Denver Pyle, Dub Taylor, Gene Wilder
Some day they'll go down together.
They'll bury them side-by-side.
To few it'll be grief,
to the law a relief,
but it's death for Bonnie and Clyde.
-Bonnie Parker, 1933
Bonnie Parker (Dunaway) and Clyde Barrow (Beatty) were real-life American depression-era outlaws who became criminal celebrities during the 'public enemy' craze between 1931 and 1934. This film adaptation of their story is comedic, sultry, fashionable, and action-packed, and it stands today as a true classic in the genre of American outlaw films.
This young unmarried couple leads a gang of criminals around the country, robbing banks, grocery stores, gas stations, and stealing cars all along the way. While they manage to stay free, this doomed couple is aware that their luck is bound to run out soon. They suffer from being sensationalized in the media, and consequently, pinned with many crimes they didn't commit. However, they were responsible for numerous murders... so don't feel too bad for them.
This film is often referred to as a slapstick comedy, but I didn't see that so much. Much more notably it was a film about sex and violence, as this was one of the first films to be made after a significant "loosening" of the censorship rules. Estelle Parsons won an Oscar for her performance as Buck Barrow's (Clyde's brother) wife, and this film also was Gene Wilder's first on-screen appearance. I actually have to admit that I would've probably given this movie another star if it weren't for Parsons' performance-- I found it almost intolerably annoying. Of course, that IS the point of her character, but it was excessive and ruined some key scenes of the film for me. Dunaway is a gorgeous Bonnie, and her costuming was truly outlaw-French chic. Beatty as Clyde sometimes is almost a toonce too... hunky... to be believable, but I still think this is an amazing classic.
It stands as a clear predecessor to an entire genre of great crime films, especially The Godfather which would follow in 1972.