Bonnie and Clyde

Introduced by Nat Segaloff

With Bonnie and Clyde, Arthur Penn gunned down the gangster film, giving it a new bullet-riddled life. His high-caliber rendition of thirties-era criminals recoils with pumped romance, sardonic commentary, and balletic violence. A soured waitress in a decrepit Texas town, Bonnie Parker is primed for a hot pistol like Clyde Barrow, a debonair ex-con with a hankerin' for something better. Portrayed with much bravura by Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty, this Depression duo sheds their drab thuggery for a chic outlaw life, donning fedoras, berets, and a Thompson submachine gun. With Michael J. Pollard, Estelle Parsons, and Gene Hackman in tow, they scurry across the dusty, poverty-ridden South, announcing their illustrious arrival with the tagline “We rob banks.” Penn's great insight here is not the voluptuous violence, typically stashed offstage even by his criminal predecessors, but that a life lustily lived is all mixed up with sex and death. From the first moment when Bonnie strokes Clyde's pistol to the final body-wrenching barrage, this doomed couple is seeking a lethal love that few survive.

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