Bonnie and Clyde (2000) from Tuna

Bonnie and Clyde (1967) managed two Oscars and 7 more nominations in a very tough year that included "In the Heat of the Night," "Doctor Doolittle," "The Graduate," "Cool Hand Luke," "The Dirty Dozen," "Barefoot in the Park," "Thoroughly Modern Millie," "In Cold Blood," "Camelot," Valley of the Dolls," and "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner." If a critic dared to award less than 4 stars, their typing license would be revoked. Trend setting in 1967, it holds up well today, partly because it is a period piece, and mostly because it is a nearly perfect film.
It is the somewhat romanticized story of real life depression era bank robbers Bonnie Parker, Clyde Barrow, and the rest of their gang. Clyde had just been released from prison, where he had been serving time for armed robbery, when he caught Bonnie's attention while stealing her mother's car. She was immediately smitten, as was he -- she for the excitement and a chance to get out of a backwater town and waitressing, and he because she was the best looking and cockiest woman he had ever met. In one of the two controversial elements in the film, we find that Clyde is impotent, and the parallel is drawn between impotence and guns as a substitute penis. The two began a robbing spree together that barely afforded a living. The first bank that Clyde robbed to impress Bonnie had failed, and had no money.


Although Faye Dunaway did not do any explicit nudity, You can see the shadow of her nipple through the window and the top of her panties in the full screen frames (The widescreen frames crop out even this limited exposure.)

The real exposure is only three frames where you see clear breasts through a wet blose after Bonnie has been shot and is escaping. There are also a very few frames where you can make out a breast through a dressing curtain.

Things escalated when they killed someone getting away. In a pivotal scene, Bonnie runs away from Clyde and the gang into a corn field. Clyde chases her, and, as he catches her, a cloud bathes them in shadow, foreshadowing their violent death. This would be much less impressive today, when computers can supply clouds and drop shadows anywhere you need them, but, in 1967, microprocessors had not yet been invented. This was either dumb luck, or a lot of patience waiting for the exact shot. The violent death caused a lot of controversy at the time. It was a rallying point for the hippie generation proving that the establishment was evil, and many said it was gratuitously violent. Some projectionists played it in slow motion, making the gunfire last for two to three minutes. There was a great deal of media hype for this film, and the Flatt & Scrugs recording of Foggy Mountain Breakdown, which was the theme used during the chase scenes, blared from every radio for months.

DVD info from Amazon.

  • The DVD has both widescreen and full screen versions, and lots of extras.

  • letterbox 1.85:1

By the time I saw it, my expectations were so high that no film could meet them, and I was a little let down. In retrospect, this is a more thoughtful film, with more depth, then I recalled. It also has less action and less violence than I remembered. Maturity makes me notice different things, and Bonnie and Clyde well deserves it's classic status.

The Critics Vote

  • General consensus: four stars. Ebert 4/4, , Maltin 4/4.

The People Vote ...

  • With their votes ... IMDB summary: IMDb voters score it 7.9, (#194 of all time). This score is consistent with the critical consensus.
IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, this film is a A.

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