Gangster Movie Month: "Bonnie and Clyde" Review

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A somewhat romanticized account of the career of the notoriously violent bank robbing couple and their gang.
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Gangster Movie Month: "Bonnie and Clyde" Review

-- Rating: R
Length: 112 minutes
Release Date: Aug. 13, 1967
Directed by: Arthur Penn
Genre: Biography/Crime/Drama

"Bonnie and Clyde" is the sentimental tale of a couple of lovebirds who decide to live a violent life of crime. It's an outstanding movie based on the true-life story of Clyde Barrow (Warren Beatty) and Bonnie Parker (Faye Dunaway). The notorious duo meets during the Great Depression when Clyde attempts to steal a car owned by Bonnie's mother. Clyde doesn't get the car, but he gets the girl. In fact, he gets the girl because of his attempt to steal the car. She feels a need to be with him and can't help but flirt with him. Clyde is outspoken and proud to talk about his criminal history. He's also quite intuitive about Bonnie, and he calls her out on her small-town existence as a waitress. She appears to be uncomfortable with Clyde, but she is attracted to him nonetheless. She's tired of her life and intrigued by his bad-boy image.

After they share a couple of sodas, Bonnie teases Clyde into using his gun, and he robs a local grocery store. During their getaway, they politely introduce themselves and take off with the money in a stolen car. Their shenanigans and lawlessness begin, and as they attempt to climb their own crime-ridden ladder, they meet up with C.W. Moss (Michael J. Pollard) who joins the Barrow Gang along with Buck Barrow (Gene Hackman) and his wife Blanche (Estelle Parsons). As their vanity grows, they leave pictures of themselves posing with their ill-gotten gains, as well as their victims. Eventually, this will lead to their downfall. Tensions rise between the women of the gang, and family ties get in the way of their criminal adventures. In an explosive ending, Bonnie and Clyde notice a friend's car on the side of the road. In a fateful move, they attempt to help him. The ill-fated lovers quickly realize it's an ambush, but not quickly enough. Despite the pair's criminal activities and killing sprees, "Bonnie and Clyde" will leave you feeling a sense of tragic loss for the brutal ending of this notorious couple.

Without a doubt, Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty capture the hearts and imaginations of viewers just as the original Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow captured those who followed their crime sprees. Faye Dunaway is exceptional in her role as Bonnie. She flaunts. She robs. She kills. Dunaway pulls these antics off in the manner of someone who is just looking for some fun and means no harm. Beatty is superb in his role as bank robber and paramour. He teases. He robs. He kills. If anyone can play a love-struck couple, it's Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty. Meanwhile, Michael J. Pollard will win you over as he plays the slow-witted C.W. Moss, who is their trusty sidekick and getaway driver. He's brilliant in his antics and thoroughly convincing in his role. Gene Hackman is undoubtedly the right choice to play Buck. Buck is Clyde's older brother, and you can't help but acknowledge the sense of family Hackman brings to the role. Estelle Parsons plays Buck's wife, Blanche. She is the antithesis of her nemesis Bonnie, and it's apparent in their scenes together that she feels Bonnie is no good for her brother or her brother-in-law.

"Bonnie and Clyde" received ten Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, Best Cinematography, and Best Costume Design. Arthur Penn received a nomination for Best Director. Best Actor and Actress nominations went to Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway respectively. Gene Hackman and Michael J. Pollard both received nominations in the category of Best Actor in a Supporting Role. David Newman and Robert Benton were nominated for Best Writing, Story, and Screenplay. Nominee Estelle Parsons won for Best Supporting Actress, and Burnett Guffey won the Oscar for Best Cinematography.

"Bonnie and Clyde" also won seven Golden Globe nominations, including Best Motion Picture, Best Motion Picture Actor, Best Motion Picture Actress, Best Motion Picture Director, and Best Screenplay. Michael J. Pollard won the awards for Best Supporting Actor and Most Promising Newcomer.

"Bonnie and Clyde" will keep you rooting for this treacherous twosome and their gang of miscreants. They disregard every law in the book and show only contempt for the consequences. "Bonnie and Clyde" is a ride you will never forget.

Rating: 4 out of 5