42 – Bonnie And Clyde (1967)

Clyde Barrow: You try to get something to eat around here and some son-of-a-bitch comes up to you with a meat cleaver.
 
Seen before?

F: Nope.

R: Me neither.

Thoughts?

F: To me the most obvious comparison so far on this list is Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid (1969). Two people on the run from the law where the relationship between the two characters is the driving force of the film. Do you think this deserves to be 31 places higher up than that?

R: Possibly not, but it does feel like a more challenging and ambitious film, and it probably deserves some credit for coming two years ahead of it too. Without this Butch Cassidy might never have been made, nor indeed Thelma & Louise (1991) or Hell or High Water (2016). But I don’t think it’s just about the legacy – there’s lots I enjoyed on its own terms.

F: I liked the characters here but I think the film works best when it’s just Bonnie and Clyde. I feel it loses its way a bit when more members join the gang. What is it you enjoyed about this?

R: It’s hardly controversial for us to say Bonnie and Clyde are the main attractions here, but I think you’re right the film would benefit from giving them more screen time. They are up there with the best cinema duos on the whole of this list, not just for their rapport, but also the real air of danger and unpredictability they give the film. I couldn’t help get sucked into the glamour of their crime spree, even if it is pretty far removed from true events. Whereas Blanche, for example, felt like a really one dimensional character who is only really there as a plot device, adding a bit of discord to proceedings.

F: Yeah she annoyed me probably about as much as she annoyed Bonnie. I don’t know much at all about the real story and this did feel like a glamorised version of real events. I don’t know, I thought this would be ‘cooler’ – I guess I’m used to seeing films like Pulp Fiction. I definitely expected more from the music in this.

R: Can’t say I particularly noticed the music. What was your problem with it?

F: That there wasn’t any of it! Maybe in some of these 60s films I expect a top notch soundtrack alongside it (see Easy Rider). But I wanted it to play alongside to the crime capers of Bonnie and Clyde more. Going back to the story, I also have no reason to believe why Bonnie went off with Clyde in the first place?

R: Yeah it’s a little hard to understand, although we do get more on Bonnie’s dissatisfaction with her life later in the film, which goes some way to explaining why she was so willing to go with Clyde. And of course, you could just put it down to love at first sight.

F: Perhaps that’s it. What do you think of the performances here?

R: They’re strong! As we’ve already mentioned, Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway in the lead roles are a joy to watch every moment they’re on screen. And I pretty much always enjoy a Gene Hackman performance. Did you think there were any weak links?

F: I think that Michael J Pollard as C. W. Moss is a bit of a caricature but I wouldn’t really call anyone a weak link. This is an 18 rated film – did you think it was overly violent?

R: By modern standards it doesn’t feel particularly violent, but compared to what was around at the time it’s brutal. The fact it valorises such blatantly illegal behaviour no doubt is a major factor on the rating. They are true anti-heroes.

F: And I love how Bonnie & Clyde pulled one last heist at the 2017 Oscars!

R: Poor La La Land. I thought Moonlight was over-rated…

Is it worthy of the top 100?

F: I enjoyed this but maybe not enough. Sorry it’s a no from me.

R: Same for me really. Clearly an important film and a fun watch, but it’s probably lost a bit too much of its power over the last 50 years.

Up next:
41 – King Kong (1933)
Previously:
43 – Midnight Cowboy (1969)

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