Column: If you have Netflix, watch 1967’s ‘Bonnie and Clyde’

Adam Tumino

An American classic is available to stream for those who are subscribed to Netflix.

It is Arthur Penn’s 1967 film “Bonnie and Clyde.” This is not just one of the most entertaining movies ever made, but also one of the most influential.

Based on the true story that many people are aware of, it follows young criminals Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker as they become famous robbing banks throughout the Great Plains during the Great Depression.

Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty star as Bonnie and Clyde, Michael J. Pollard as their getaway driver CW Moss, Gene Hackman as Clyde’s brother Buck and Estelle Parsons as Buck’s wife Blanche.

The Barrow gang becomes hated by the authorities and also become heroes of sorts for lower-class Americans who feel betrayed by banks during the Depression.

As the police begin to close in on the crew, the violence increases until the film’s final scene. What happens in this scene will not be a surprise to people familiar with the true story of Bonnie and Clyde, but it still feels shocking nearly 54 years later.

When viewed on its own, the movie is highly entertaining and features some excellent performances. Dunaway and Beatty are very effective as the title characters.

For Hackman, this was a breakout role of sorts. It earned him an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor, the first of five Oscar nominations in his outstanding career.

In fact, all five of the top-billed actors in “Bonnie and Clyde” earned Oscar nominations for the film, with Parsons winning for Best Supporting Actress.

But “Bonnie and Clyde” is more than just a movie.

It was a major landmark for American movies, handling violence and sex in a way that most movies had not to that point.

It is credited with being one of the first movies of the New Hollywood era, which extended through the 1970s.

“Bonnie and Clyde” was also considered to be a film that represented the anti-established counterculture in America during the Vietnam era.

Later films like 1969’s “Easy Rider” expanded on this, but the impact of “Bonnie and Clyde” cannot be ignored.

It changed the trajectory of American movies, and did so in a very entertaining way.

 

Adam Tumino is a senior journalism major. He can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]