1 Year, 100 Movies: #42 Bonnie and Clyde (1967)

14797For 1 Year, 100 Movies, I will watch all of AFI’s 100 Years, 100 Movies list (compiled in 2007) in one year- and will complete a goal on my 2013 Manifesto. Come along on the ride with me- oh, and please pass the popcorn!

Everyone knows the basic story of Bonnie and Clyde. The bad boy and the good girl gone bad who rob banks and meet with an untimely and sticky end. I had never seen the movie interpretation however, but I loved it. It starts out with a restless Bonnie (Faye Dunaway)- a West Dallas waitress looking for more out of life. She meets Clyde (Warren Beatty) as he is trying to steal her mother’s car. Bonnie is intrigued by him, and decides to take up a life of crime with him in his exiting (but not very lucrative) small time heists.

Their crime spree kicks into high gear after they join up with a dim-witted gas station attendant C.W. Moss (Michael J. Pollard)  as their getaway driver, as well as Buck (Gene Hackman) and Blanche (Estelle Parsons), Clyde’s brother and sister-in-law. Although the robberies are only somewhat successful, and often clumsily executed, mystique and folklore builds around the Barrow Gang. The gang itself revels in the lifestyle as if it were a day at the amusement park.

In spite of the media’s constructed fame around them, the Barrow Gang are killers and thieves. Bonnie seems to realize the fate that awaits them. The climax and ultimate conclusion are ugly and brutal, and stirs the viewer’s complex emotions as we’ve come to if not like, appreciate the characters- even though we understand they are receiving the punishment they are due. The director, Arthur Penn, gave us a film that has largely stood the test of time. It is a tale that doesn’t skim over the messy bits, one that has real characters that are capable of love, pain, violence, and laughter.

In my humble, non-professional, average movie-goer opinion this movie earns:

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