Bonnie and Clyde (1967)

Bonnie and Clyde.  Romanticized bank robbers in the Depression-era South.

I found the opening credits both appropriate, a little bit creepy, and after a while tedious.  The era of Bonnie and Clyde makes the type-writer noise along with pictures of Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow is fitting given the subject matter.  I didn’t like that it seemed to drag on and on, but I also realize that this is still on the tail end of the era in Hollywood where the credits played before the movie starts instead of afterwards as they do now.

Both Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway turn in Oscar-nominated-worthy performances in this film, although they seem old compared to the real life Bonnie and Clyde.  That’s probably more me nit-picking that anything else.  Bonnie’s character development was nice in the sense that she still wants to go home, but also wants to take part in this different adventure.  It was a sobering reality when her mother told her she couldn’t come home, or wouldn’t last long with all the law enforcement looking for her.

I liked the progression and the difficulties Bonnie and Clyde faced early on.  It seems fitting that they’d need to figure out how to rob banks and after a while, especially after Buck, Blanche, and C.W. joined the gang.  It almost became an art-form, at least under the end of the movie when things came to their inevitable conclusion.

I found that Gene Hackman and Estelle Parsons carried the movie almost as much and at times more than Beatty and Dunaway.  Estelle earned an Academy Award for her performance, and it was fitting, although I found her screaming to be more than annoying.  Her progression from the reluctant participant t a full-share earner, even though she really does little in the robbing.  The real life Blanche Barrow provided a lot of the insider information on the gang, which makes sense since she and W.D. Jones (C.W. in the movie) were the only two living members of the gang.

The shooting scenes I think are very well done, and the driving getaways were also well done.  The other Academy Award the film earned was in Cinematography, and appropriately so.

Something noteworthy is that this was Gene Wilder’s first movie.  His performance seems fitting for the type of actor he became: fun and ironic.

Overall I learned a lot about the Barrow Gang, and this film sparked some research into their role in Depression-era America.  Though romanticized, this was a good look at the Barrow Gang.  I realize that the filmmakers took liberties, but I feel they stayed close and true to the real-life events.  While I probably won’t watch this movie again, it was a treat to see young performances from Warren Beatty, Faye Dunaway, and Gene Hackman.

My rating: 3 out of 5 stars.


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