If you were looking for a film that perfectly encapsulated the 1960s then you’d struggle to find a better one than Bonnie and Clyde. Often described as the start of ‘New Hollywood’, Bonnie and Clyde feels, even now, exciting and rule defying. Its stars are young and fresh faced (indeed, Warren Beatty looks almost impossibly young, although Gene Hackman just looks like Gene Hackman), and its anarchic sense of humour is combined with a healthy disrespect for authority. There’s a real sense that anything could happen, that the film was creating something very different to what had gone before.
The film also predicts the souring of the 60s. In 1967, the year the film was released, you could still believe that the world would be changed by cocksure youths who thumbed their collective noses at the man and lived the way THEY wanted to live. Then 1968 comes along and with it assassinations, an ever-worsening Vietnam War, the start of the modern ‘Troubles’ in Northern Ireland and riots in Paris. The optimism came to a violent end, just like our title characters do in the film…
I’d never seen Bonnie and Clyde before and wasn’t really sure what to expect, but as you’ll hear on the podcast, we both enjoyed it immensely. I should warn you that the podcast was recorded in two halves: when we first started recording I wasn’t feeling too good, and we actually had to stop the recording. We then picked it up a week later. Can you spot the join?
Anyway, without further ado, let us present our feature presentation:
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Director: Arthur Penn Year of release: 1967 Studio/Distributor: Warner Bros Country: USA