AFI #42: Bonnie & Clyde

Bonnie & Clyde tells the supposedly true story of Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow, a couple of notorious criminals who stormed across the southwest in the 1930s robbing banks and killing cops. If we are to believe the script, Clyde had just gotten out of jail for armed robbery when he met a bored Texas waitress named Bonnie Parker who was looking for adventure. Well, she got it and a whole lot more. I was struck by several aspects of this story, the first being that they didn’t seem to have any plan or frankly any reason other than the thrill to rob banks. On top of that, they were really reckless and bragged about their exploits to anyone who would listen — almost assuring they’d get caught.

I thought the story was boring and pointless and I didn’t really like the film. I will say though that I thought Faye Dunaway was great (as she seems to be in everything she is in) and Beatty played a whacked out Clyde who if he was really that nuts was a definite sociopath. The film was nominated for tons of Oscars but only won two — one for cinematography and one for best supporting actress for a very annoying Estelle Parsons as Clyde’s sister-in-law Blanche. I actually really liked the performance of Michael Pollard as C.W. Moss and you can still find him in bit roles in tons of Hollywood films today.

If the point was to romanticize the legend of Bonnie & Clyde they did a lousy job. There was nothing romantic about this gang of losers robbing banks and getting shot to death.

Next Up: King Kong

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