Bonnie and Clyde (1967)

111 mins | Biography, Drama | 13 August 1967

Director:

Arthur Penn

Producer:

Warren Beatty

Cinematographer:

Burnett Guffey

Editor:

Dede Allen

Production Designer:

Dean Tavoularis

Production Company:

Tatira-Hiller Productions
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HISTORY

Two title cards appear at the end of opening credits. The first contains a black and white photograph of Faye Dunaway as “Bonnie Parker” beside the following written statement: “Bonnie Parker, was born in Rowena, Texas, 1910 and then moved to West Dallas. In 1931 she worked in a cafe before beginning her career in crime.” The second card displays a photograph of Warren Beatty as “Clyde Barrow,” next to the statement: “Clyde Barrow, was born to a family of sharecroppers. As a young man he became a small-time thief and robbed a gas station. He served two years for armed robbery and was released on good behavior in 1931.”
       In a 24 Aug 1997 LAT interview about the making of Bonnie and Clyde, David Newman and Robert Benton reflected on the detailed, seventy-five-page treatment that was heavily inspired by the works of French New Wave filmmakers Jean-Luc Godard and François Truffaut, which they wrote in late 1963 while working for Esquire magazine. After receiving a small option from acquaintances Elinor Jones and Norton Wright, the pair took a research trip to East Texas to immerse themselves in the former home of outlaws Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker, who were famously hunted and killed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (then simply known as the “Bureau of Investigation”) for several counts of murder, robbery, and kidnapping in the early 1930s. Upon their return to New York City, the first-time screenwriters secured a meeting with Truffaut through their friend, Helen Scott, hoping to convince him to direct, as they had since struggled to secure interest in Hollywood. Although he was unavailable, Truffaut reportedly contributed ... More Less

Two title cards appear at the end of opening credits. The first contains a black and white photograph of Faye Dunaway as “Bonnie Parker” beside the following written statement: “Bonnie Parker, was born in Rowena, Texas, 1910 and then moved to West Dallas. In 1931 she worked in a cafe before beginning her career in crime.” The second card displays a photograph of Warren Beatty as “Clyde Barrow,” next to the statement: “Clyde Barrow, was born to a family of sharecroppers. As a young man he became a small-time thief and robbed a gas station. He served two years for armed robbery and was released on good behavior in 1931.”
       In a 24 Aug 1997 LAT interview about the making of Bonnie and Clyde, David Newman and Robert Benton reflected on the detailed, seventy-five-page treatment that was heavily inspired by the works of French New Wave filmmakers Jean-Luc Godard and François Truffaut, which they wrote in late 1963 while working for Esquire magazine. After receiving a small option from acquaintances Elinor Jones and Norton Wright, the pair took a research trip to East Texas to immerse themselves in the former home of outlaws Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker, who were famously hunted and killed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (then simply known as the “Bureau of Investigation”) for several counts of murder, robbery, and kidnapping in the early 1930s. Upon their return to New York City, the first-time screenwriters secured a meeting with Truffaut through their friend, Helen Scott, hoping to convince him to direct, as they had since struggled to secure interest in Hollywood. Although he was unavailable, Truffaut reportedly contributed his own ideas to the structure of the script and passed their work along to Jean-Luc Godard. Discussions quickly fell through due to Godard’s impulsive scheduling demands, and the property soon found its way to actor Warren Beatty.
       On 8 May 1966, NYT announced that Bonnie and Clyde was one of two vehicles Beatty had acquired to produce through his new company, Tatira Productions, along with Robert Towne’s comedy, Keith’s My Name, Hair’s My Game, which would later become Shampoo (1975, see entry). Benton cited a purchase price of $10,000, and by late summer, deals had been arranged with director Arthur Penn and Warner Bros. Pictures for distribution. As the production team began to take shape, the 25 Aug 1966 DV reported that Penn, unit manager Russ Saunders, and location scout Bill Wallace were surveying possible filming sites in Dallas, TX, while the search commenced for Beatty’s co-lead. An item in the 26 Apr 1966 Citizen-News indicated the actor’s early interest in his Splendor in the Grass (1961, see entry) co-star and former offscreen lover, Natalie Wood. Penn later confirmed in the LAT interview that he rejected Wood based on her status as a “movie star,” and several other actresses were considered, including Tuesday Weld, Jane Fonda, Sharon Tate, and Ann-Margret. The 4 Mar 1968 issue of Newsweek revealed that Katharine Ross also auditioned, but Faye Dunaway won the role only days before principal photography was scheduled to begin. Dunaway was relatively unknown at the time, having just recently completed supporting roles in The Happening and Hurry Sundown (see entries), which were released in early 1967.
       Both the LAT and Citizen-News referred to an earlier version of the script in which Michael J. Pollard’s character, “C. W. Moss,” engaged in a three-way relationship with Bonnie and Clyde. Newman claimed that Beatty objected to the characterization on the basis that Clyde’s bisexuality may make him less sympathetic to the audience. Jordan Christopher and Dennis Hopper were reportedly considered for Moss before Beatty cast Pollard, his longtime friend. According to the 16 Jul 1969 DV, Pollard earned a paycheck of $14,000. Gene Hackman also knew Beatty from their previous collaboration on Lilith (1964, see entry). Although Gene Wilder’s role as “Eugene Grizzard” was his first job in feature films, The Producers (see entry) was the first to be released in theaters (18 Mar 1967).
       Principal photography began 4 Oct 1966, as stated in a DV production chart published one month later. Filming took place in and around the Dallas area, including cities such as Denton and Pilot Point. The production’s presence drew the attention of the local residents, many of whom appeared in the film as background actors—most notable was the schoolteacher selected from a crowd of onlookers to portray Bonnie’s mother. As Beatty continued to develop Shampoo during the shooting of Bonnie and Clyde, he recruited Robert Towne to assist with script rewrites; for his contributions, Towne receives credit as a “special consultant.”
       After ten weeks in Texas, a 7 Dec 1966 DV brief announced that the unit would be moving to the Warner Bros. studio lot in Burbank, CA, for interiors and special effects shooting. A 23 Feb 1968 DV news story revealed that principal photography concluded 1 Jan 1967, but weeks later, the 26 Jan 1967 edition indicated that Beatty had since returned to Texas to complete additional scenes with a second unit crew. Although a public tax roll cited Warner Bros.’ investment of $1,790,360, Penn told the 16 Aug 1967 Var that the production was brought in for a final negative cost of approximately $2.5 million.
       On 5 Jul 1967, DV announced Bonnie and Clyde as the 4 Aug 1967 opening night feature at the eighth annual International Film Festival in Montreal, Canada. That day’s Var also reported plans for a Dallas premiere on 13 Sep 1967, with local screenings beginning the following day. Meanwhile, the picture debuted to strong box-office returns at the Forum Theatre in New York City on 13 Aug 1967, with the Los Angeles engagement set to begin ten days later at the Vogue Theater. The 24 Aug 1997 LAT suggested that Warner Bros.—Seven Arts, Inc. lacked confidence in the film’s appeal, and its initial run ended that fall.
       During this time, Penn’s frank and previously unparalleled depiction of gruesome violence garnered considerable controversy, as some critics accused Bonnie and Clyde of sensationalizing brutality and criminal behavior. The most vocal of the dissenters was the NYT’s Bosley Crowther, who scorned the enthusiastic approval of his fellow audience members in Montreal, and one week later published a follow-up calling the film a “cheap piece of bald-faced slapstick comedy that treats the hideous depredations of that sleazy, moronic pair as though they were as full of fun and frolic as the jazz-age cut-ups in Thoroughly Modern Millie.” On 28 Aug 1967, Newsweek critic Joseph Morgernstern retracted his original negative review and completely reversed his opinion after attending a second viewing. Calling the move “virtually unprecedented,” the 30 Aug 1967 Var detailed his response, which included a rebuttal to Crowther’s piece and ultimately stimulated publicity for the film.
       A 24 Jan 1968 Var article reported that the Bonnie and Clyde had recently returned to midtown theaters in New York City based on its surge in media coverage, with the 14 Feb 1968 Var issue announcing that an additional 340 second-run bookings were planned to coincide with the upcoming Academy Award announcements. By this time, domestic rentals had already far surpassed the initial projections of $4 million. Several years later, a 9 Jun 1971 Var news story revealed that as producer, Beatty owned forty percent of the film—a stake that had earned him several million dollars in profits to date.
       According to a 27 Dec 1966 DV item, Paul Rosenfeld, composer and Sunday editor of the Dallas Times Herald, was originally hired to write music to accompany the “The Ballad Of Bonnie and Clyde,” a melodic iteration of Bonnie Parker’s poem of the same name. Although not used in the final film, Mitch Murray and Peter Callender borrowed the title for an original song sung by British recording artist Georgie Fame, which the 11 Mar 1968 NYT reported had climbed the U.K. charts and was gaining popularity overseas. In addition to the soundtrack record, Bonnie and Clyde- inspired pop songs were released on discs by performers such as Brigitte Bardot, Mel Tormé, and Merle Haggard.
       Bonnie and Clyde was nominated for seven Golden Globes and ten Academy Awards, of which it won two: Actress in a Supporting Role (Estelle Parsons) and Cinematography. Nominated categories included Actor (Warren Beatty), Actor in a Supporting Role (Gene Hackman and Michael J. Pollard), Actress (Faye Dunaway), Costume Design, Writing (Story and Screenplay—written directly for the screen), Directing, and Best Picture. AFI ranked it 27th on the 1997 100 Years…100 Movies list of the greatest American films, and 42nd on the 10th Anniversary Edition list in 2007. The film is also 65th on the list of 100 Years…100 Passions, and 13th on the list of 100 Years…100 Thrills. Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker share the 32nd spot as the greatest cinematic villains, while the quote, “We rob banks,” placed 41st on the list of 100 Years…100 Quotes.
       The movie theater scene contains footage from Gold Diggers of 1933 (see entry). More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Citizen-News
26 Apr 1966.
---
Daily Variety
8 Aug 1966
p. 2.
Daily Variety
17 Aug 1966
p. 1.
Daily Variety
25 Aug 1966
p. 4.
Daily Variety
31 Aug 1966
p. 2.
Daily Variety
6 Oct 1966
p. 2.
Daily Variety
14 Oct 1966
p. 12.
Daily Variety
4 Nov 1966
p. 7.
Daily Variety
7 Dec 1966
p. 10.
Daily Variety
27 Dec 1966
p. 3.
Daily Variety
26 Jan 1967
p. 2.
Daily Variety
5 Jul 1967
p. 3.
Daily Variety
14 Aug 1967
p. 3.
Daily Variety
23 Feb 1968
p. 4.
Daily Variety
16 Jul 1969
p. 2.
Daily Variety
25 Sep 1984
p. 8.
Film Daily
7 Aug 1967
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
7 Aug 1967
p. 3.
Life
13 Oct 1967
p. 16.
Life
12 Jan 1968.
---
Los Angeles Times
15 Aug 1967
Section E, p. 9.
Los Angeles Times
20 Aug 1967
Section C, p. 1, 15.
Los Angeles Times
24 Aug 1997.
---
New Republic
4 Nov 1957
pp. 27-29.
New York Times
8 May 1966
Section X, p. 9.
New York Times
7 Aug 1967.
---
New York Times
14 Aug 1967
p. 36.
New York Times
18 Feb 1968
Magazine, pp. 26-29.
New York Times
11 Mar 1968
p. 46.
New Yorker
19 Aug 1967
pp. 77-79.
New Yorker
21 Oct 1967
pp. 147-48.
Newsweek
28 Aug 1967.
---
Newsweek
4 Mar 1968
p. 41-44, 49-50.
Saturday Review
5 Aug 1967
p. 40.
Sight and Sound
Winter 1967
pp. 2-8.
Time
25 Aug 1967
p. 78.
Time
8 Dec 1967
pp. 67-68.
Variety
5 Jul 1967
p. 5.
Variety
9 Aug 1967
p. 6.
Variety
16 Aug 1967
p. 5.
Variety
30 Aug 1967
p. 5, 28.
Variety
24 Jan 1968
p. 24.
Variety
14 Feb 1968
p. 3.
Variety
9 Jun 1971
p. 4.
Village Voice
24 Aug 1967
p. 21.
Vogue
15 Sep 1967
p. 68.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
COSTUMES
Men's ward
Women's ward
MUSIC
Mus comp
Played by
Played by
SOUND
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
MAKEUP
Makeup created by
Miss Dunaway's makeup by
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Spec consultant
Asst to the prod
Prod mgr
Scr supv
SOURCES
SONGS
"Foggie Mountain Breakdown," words and music by Earl Scruggs, played by Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs, courtesy of Mercury Records.
COMPOSER
DETAILS
Release Date:
13 August 1967
Premiere Information:
Montreal International Film Festival screening: 4 August 1967
New York opening: 13 August 1967
Los Angeles opening: 23 August 1967
Production Date:
4 October 1966--1 January 1967
Copyright Claimant:
Warner Bros.--Seven Arts, Inc. & Tatira--Hiller Productions
Copyright Date:
30 September 1967
Copyright Number:
LP35800
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Technicolor
Duration(in mins):
111
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
21395
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

During the Depression in the early 1930s, Bonnie Parker meets Clyde Barrow when he tries to steal her mother's car. Intrigued by his brazen manner and bored with her job as a waitress, she decides to become his partner in crime. Together they stage a series of amateur holdups that provide them with excitement but little monetary reward. Eventually they take on C. W. Moss, a dimwitted garage mechanic, who serves as their getaway driver. Finally they are joined by Clyde's brother Buck, recently released from prison, and his wife, Blanche, a whining preacher's daughter. As they add bank robbery and murder to their list of crimes, the quintet quickly becomes the object of statewide manhunts. While holed up in a rented apartment in Joplin, Missouri, they make the first of their incredible escapes from the police. Fascinated by the legendary reputation growing around them, they brag about their exploits, take pictures of each other, and, on one occasion, force a Texas Ranger to pose with them. Through it all a love relationship develops between Bonnie and Clyde that endures despite Clyde's impotence. After a visit with Bonnie's mother, the gang is surrounded in Dexter, Iowa. Buck dies with half of his face shot away, Blanche is blinded and captured, and Bonnie is wounded in the shoulder. The three survivors find a temporary hideout with C. W.'s father in a Louisiana town, and there Bonnie and Clyde finally consummate their love. Bonnie recovers from her wounds, and they plan to move on again; but C. W.'s father, hoping to lighten his son's punishment, has cooperated with the police in setting a trap. In May of 1934, Bonnie and Clyde ... +


During the Depression in the early 1930s, Bonnie Parker meets Clyde Barrow when he tries to steal her mother's car. Intrigued by his brazen manner and bored with her job as a waitress, she decides to become his partner in crime. Together they stage a series of amateur holdups that provide them with excitement but little monetary reward. Eventually they take on C. W. Moss, a dimwitted garage mechanic, who serves as their getaway driver. Finally they are joined by Clyde's brother Buck, recently released from prison, and his wife, Blanche, a whining preacher's daughter. As they add bank robbery and murder to their list of crimes, the quintet quickly becomes the object of statewide manhunts. While holed up in a rented apartment in Joplin, Missouri, they make the first of their incredible escapes from the police. Fascinated by the legendary reputation growing around them, they brag about their exploits, take pictures of each other, and, on one occasion, force a Texas Ranger to pose with them. Through it all a love relationship develops between Bonnie and Clyde that endures despite Clyde's impotence. After a visit with Bonnie's mother, the gang is surrounded in Dexter, Iowa. Buck dies with half of his face shot away, Blanche is blinded and captured, and Bonnie is wounded in the shoulder. The three survivors find a temporary hideout with C. W.'s father in a Louisiana town, and there Bonnie and Clyde finally consummate their love. Bonnie recovers from her wounds, and they plan to move on again; but C. W.'s father, hoping to lighten his son's punishment, has cooperated with the police in setting a trap. In May of 1934, Bonnie and Clyde ride into a police ambush and die as their bodies are riddled with a thousand rounds of ammunition. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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