Bonnie and Clyde

1967

Bonnie and Clyde

Critics Consensus

A paradigm-shifting classic of American cinema, Bonnie and Clyde packs a punch whose power continues to reverberate through thrillers decades later.

88%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 58

88%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 56,489
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Movie Info

Producer/star Warren Beatty had to convince Warner Bros. to finance this film, which went on to become the studio's second-highest grosser. It also caused major controversy by redefining violence in cinema and casting its criminal protagonists as sympathetic anti-heroes. Based loosely on the true exploits of Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker during the 30s, the film begins as Clyde (Beatty) tries to steal the car of Bonnie Parker (Faye Dunaway)'s mother. Bonnie is excited by Clyde's outlaw demeanor, and he further stimulates her by robbing a store in her presence. Clyde steals a car, with Bonnie in tow, and their legendary crime spree begins. The two move from town to town, pulling off small heists, until they join up with Clyde's brother Buck (Gene Hackman), his shrill wife Blanche (Estelle Parsons), and a slow-witted gas station attendant named C.W. Moss (Michael J. Pollard). The new gang robs a bank and Clyde is soon painted in the press as a Depression-era Robin Hood when he allows one bank customer to hold onto his money. Soon the police are on the gang's trail and they are constantly on the run, even kidnapping a Texas Ranger (Denver Pyle) and setting him adrift on a raft, handcuffed, after he spits in Bonnie's face when she kisses him. That same ranger leads a later raid on the gang that leaves Buck dying, Blanche captured, and both Clyde and Bonnie injured. The ever-loyal C.W. takes them to his father's house. C.W.'s father disaproves his son's affiliation with gangsters and enters a plea bargain with the Texas Rangers. A trap is set that ends in one of the bloodiest death scenes in cinematic history. The film made stars out of Beatty and Dunaway, and it also featured the screen debut of Gene Wilder as a mortician briefly captured by the gang. Its portrayal of Bonnie and Clyde as rebels who empathized with the poor working folks of the 1930s struck a chord with the counterculture of the 1960s and helped generate a new, young audience for American movies that carried over into Hollywood's renewal of the 1970s. Its combination of sex and violence with dynamic stars, social relevance, a traditional Hollywood genre, and an appeal to hip young audiences set the pace for many American movies to come. ~ Don Kaye, Rovi

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Cast

Warren Beatty
as Clyde Barrow
Faye Dunaway
as Bonnie Parker
Gene Hackman
as Buck Barrow
Denver Pyle
as Frank Hamer
Dub Taylor
as Ivan Moss
Gene Wilder
as Eugene Grizzard
Evans Evans
as Velma Davis
James Stiver
as Grocery Store Owner
Joe Spratt
as Farmer
Ken Mayer
as Sheriff Smoot
Martha Adcock
as Bank customer
Mabel Cavitt
as Bonnie's mother
Sadie French
as Bank customer
Russ Marker
as Bank guard
Ann Palmer
as Bonnie's sister
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Critic Reviews for Bonnie and Clyde

All Critics (58) | Top Critics (12) | Fresh (51) | Rotten (7)

Audience Reviews for Bonnie and Clyde

  • Dec 07, 2013
    With new attention being drawn to the story, having spawned a History Channel miniseries, I thought it time to visit the acclaimed 1967 Bonnie and Clyde. Receiving large praise for its ingenuity and boldness, Arthur Penn's Bonnie and Clyde can rightly be called a classic. It's a film ahead of its time in approach, style, and execution. Watching Penn's Bonnie and Clyde, one might forget the way it redefined cinema for its time. This is a testament to how it has aged, being almost indistinguishable, and in many ways better, than modern films. The violence in this film is unflinching, not sanitized, but also not over-glamorized. The characterizations are surprisingly fresh and bold, casting two anti-heroes, both with deeply flawed personas and hints of even social taboos. The film progresses at a brisk pace, yet never feels rushed. Penn guides the narrative in a way that feels organic and engaging, giving us necessary back-story, but never feeling the need to pander. The hallmark of the film is the central performances from Warren Beatty and Fay Dunaway. Both have a palpable chemistry, and both bring an enormous amount of charisma to the screen. Dunaway is perfect as the lonely, thrill-seeking, and self-destructive Bonnie Parker, and Beatty is superb as the vulnerable, yet dogged Clyde Barrow. These performances are set against strong action scenes, and within a script that emphasizes the characters, never attempting to force-thrills. The one criticism of Penn's Bonnie and Clyde is the historical accuracy. To be sure, we expect liberties to be taken, and Penn's version is certainly more true than others, yet the film subscribes to some of the more dubious notions about the couple. The hints of Clyde's impotence, for example, seem to be a substitute for other questions regarding his sexuality, yet substance for this is lacking, with an actually and intense romantic relationship between the two being likely more accurate. A strong film overall, largely befitting its classic status. 4/5 Stars
    Jeffrey M Super Reviewer
  • Jun 18, 2013
    Heavy on the French New Wave influences, this surprisingly modern film showcases a compelling, dysfunctional romance amidst a decent amount of generic, albeit well executed pulpy crime tropes.
    Kevin C Super Reviewer
  • Apr 14, 2012
    "Bonnie and Clyde" is a lot different than what I expected for it to be, and I guess that's a good thing. There's a lot to like about it. Sure, the editing and cinematography are a little off and Estelle Parsons is annoying as all god-given hell, but "Bonnie and Clyde" has this brutal and fast-paced nature to it that's just exhilarating. Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway both give great performances, although Dunaway certainly does a better job, and Arthur Penn's direction is stylish and on-track. "Bonnie and Clyde" may be a little dated, but it's never boring.
    Stephen E Super Reviewer
  • Feb 10, 2012
    A landmark gangster picture that stands up 45 years on thanks to its unflinchingly brutal honesty, babe and bullets classic Bonnie & Clyde is rightly credited with giving a flaming beginning to the Easy Riders/Raging Bull generation. For this reviewer, this film rings with a particularly striking resonance. It was the one motion picture that can be solely credited with making him want to become a filmmaker. And it was all because of an edit. Before going out in a blaze of lawman gunfire, the titular lovers give each other a longing glance that lasts mere seconds...though the hair trigger cutting done by editor Dede Allen makes the moment seem like an eternity. It's one of the many then-revolutionary cogs in a freshly-greased wheel that helped Warner Brothers turn the gangster genre as far away from its own landmark pictures as possible (this ain't Angels with Dirty Faces), squibs, sex, and all. In this R-rated gangster classic, a fidgety ex-con (Warren Beatty) hooks up with a small-town waitress (Faye Dunaway), which begins a murderous bank robbery spree through the Depression-era Midwest. Forget that it romanticizes the facts. Robert Benton and David Newman's incendiary screenplay knowingly plays with the events behind a real life kill-crazy couple who channeled their bedroom problems into a blood ballet in the streets indicative of a certain Sexual Revolution about to transpire in the modern day. It helps the quarrelsome anti-heroes are played by Beatty and Dunaway, two actors who would go on to more iconic roles (Beatty: Shampoo; Dunaway: Network), albeit not as perfectly played. Director Arthur Penn seemed to take most of his cues from the edginess made famous years before by the French New Wave, giving the events an agitated sense of urgency and tension indicative of the hell about to pop in the modern day. Bottom line: Number one with a bullet.
    Jeff B Super Reviewer

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