Warren Beatty is one of Hollywood’s most accomplished actors. With a career that spans over half a century, he has seen himself involved in a number of memorable and even groundbreaking motion pictures. However, there is one film that is widely considered to be his most iconic and most revolutionary piece of cinema. And it just got added to Netflix.
Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway starred in Bonnie & Clyde, the 1967 film that fictionalizes the lives, romance, and criminal careers of Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker. The two famous bank robbers meet, fall in love, and go about their crimes before being gunned down by the police. That is a very simplistic synopsis of the film and does not quite get across exactly how revolutionary and powerful a film Bonnie & Clyde is in the history of film.
Up until that point, gangster and crime films had been crafted where the criminals were always framed as being morally wrong. But Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway brought an incredible amount of charm, comedy, and empathy to the characters of Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker. The movie decided to show the story from their perspectives and make their eventual fall a tragic one. Because of that, the film received serious controversy for being sympathetic to criminal characters.
It also depicted violence in a way that was shocking and far more gratuitous than what audiences were accustomed to seeing in major motion pictures. The final massacre of Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway in Bonnie & Clyde is still considered one of the most violent and horrendous endings in all of mainstream film history. The movie is often credited (or accused) for opening the floodgates to more mainstream movies showcasing brutal violence. It’s the film that is considered one of the kickoffs to the New Hollywood movement of the late ’60s throughout the ’70s.
And it was a movie that became strongly embraced by the counterculture of the time. Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway became counterculture icons for their characters’ refutation of the authority. Bonnie & Clyde was often viewed as an anti-establishment screed and helped the film become extremely popular with a younger generation of film fans. Though the movie was not originally heavily marketed, it became a sleeper hit for Warner Bros. and eventually ended up getting nine nominations at the Academy Awards.
Both Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway received Oscar nominations for their performances and it helped catapult them into stardom. They would both go on to the height of their careers throughout the ’70s and so much of that had to do with their popularity from Bonnie & Clyde. Beatty would also go on to be a prolific producer and director throughout his career. It is very possible that none of that could have happened without the success of Bonnie & Clyde.
If you have never seen Bonnie & Clyde, now is the best time to finally see this absolute classic of a film. You will even get to see a very young Gene Wilder in his first onscreen role. There is so much to still discover about this important and iconic movie.