Driver’s Cinema: Bonnie and Clyde (1967)
Directed by Arthur Penn, Bonnie and Clyde is a film that tells the legendary tale of the infamous bank-robbing duo. The handsome and mysterious Clyde, played by Warren Beaty, is a bank robber out on parole. He lures the young and gorgeous Bonnie, played by Faye Dunaway, to come along with him on an adventure. I’m particularly intrigued by Clyde’s character, due to the fact that he is such a complex character, he’s a killer with a heart.
Faye can’t resist the thought of escaping her small town and exploring the world. The movie is about more than just bank robbing. It’s about the journey and spontaneity. The characters in the film don’t just rob banks for the cash, it’s for the thrill. They are out to live life on the road while stealing whichever automobile crosses their path.
The movie is centered around the automobile as the characters rely on a plethora of getaway vehicles to keep their journey alive. Within the first twenty minutes Bonnie and Clyde are in their third stolen car.
Of the over 30 cars featured in the movie, the ones Bonnie and Clyde piloted included a ’30 Ford Model A, ’33 De Soto Six, and a ’31 Studebaker Dictator 6. One of the most memorable moments in the film is a Gene Wilder cameo: the gang steals Wilder’s ’32 Nash 970 and after a small chase, wind up eating burgers with him and his significant other in his stolen car.
Nearly every sequence the cars are driven hard and fast. Considering their age during filming and the lack of CG back then, I was surprised to see them being flogged so maliciously. A majority of the high speed getaways take place on backcountry roads and large fields as the rambunctious team escapes the police time and time again. This made for thrilling chase sequences throughout the film.
For me, the film is a masterpiece because it takes on so many different modes. From the suspenseful shootouts, to the wild-goose chases, and even the comedic and lighthearted scenes, it is a movie that covers all the bases.
It keeps you on the edge of your seat even after seeing it a over and over again—I always get a kick out of it. Perhaps it’s because I just can’t take my eyes off the glamorous Faye Dunaway. I highly recommend Bonnie and Clyde if you’re feeling like you want to live vicariously through a dapper bank robber and his beautiful cohort.
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Halloween is almost upon us, and we think a Bonnie-and-Clyde couple costume could be a great choice. Click here to check out some Bonnie and Clyde Halloween costumes.