Sleeper Hit: Warner Bros. thought that the film would bomb, feeling that nobody would want to cheer for the outlaws in a gangster flick, and dumped it in August and offered Warren Beatty 40% of the gross as a result. Upon release, the mixed critical reception seemed to bear out their fears. But when young people started raving about it to everybody in earshot, it turned into one of the biggest films of 1967, and remains a classic.
The writers of this film originally hoped to they could get either of the great French New Wave directors to helm this film, François Truffaut or Jean Luc Godard. Unfortunately after helping develop the script, Truffaut ultimately decided to direct Fahrenheit 451 instead and Godard turned out to be an unreasonable jerk when the producers were courting him. So Arthur Penn, whom Truffaut had recommended, did it instead.