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 as commendation.
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.
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 nervous wife, Blanche Barrow, a preacher's daughter. The gang's life changes after the first fatal shot is fired. Following, their willingness to shoot to kill increases to protect themselves and their livelihood. Their notoriety precedes them, so much so that no matter what one's opinion is of them, most want to have some association to the Barrow gang, to help them, to be spoken in the same breath as them, or to capture and or kill them. Of the many people they encounter in their crime spree, the one who may have the most profound effect on their lives is Texas Ranger Frank Hamer, who is looking for a little retribution.
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