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YMMV / Bonnie and Clyde

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  • All There Is to Know About "The Crying Game": An outlaw couple makes it to the end, in a car, then they get a rain of bullets for their troubles.
  • Alternate Character Interpretation: Word of God says that Clyde is impotent, but more modern audiences may view the character as asexual, a concept that was not widely known when the film was made. Clyde's reluctant to even attempt sex, and his claim that he "never saw no percentage in it," may be a sign that he is asexual or just a natural defense mechanism from someone who knows that he won't be able to perform.
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  • And You Thought It Would Fail: Warner Bros. had so little faith in the film that, in an unprecedented move, it offered its first-time producer Warren Beatty 40% of the gross instead of a minimal fee. The movie then went on to gross over $50 million. Jack L. Warner, who was already angry with Beatty over past disagreements, despised the film and clashed frequently with Beatty throughout the film's production. During his screening of the film, Warner excused himself three times use the restroom and later called it "a three piss picture".
  • Audience-Coloring Adaptation: Virtually all mainstream knowledge of the historical Bonnie and Clyde is from this film, despite the various liberties it takes with the two. There's been some attempts to make a more historically true film about the pair, such as The Highwaymen, from the viewpoint of Texas Rangers Hamer and Gault.
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  • Award Snub: Losing out on nearly all of the major Oscar categories, despite the recognition it received by (some) critics as an innovator for the cinematic landscape. Additionally, it failed to even earn a nomination for Best Film Editing. Roger Ebert once said that the moment he lost faith in the Academy Awards was when Bonnie and Clyde failed to win Best Picture.
  • Critical Dissonance: Despite being such a huge commercial success and its current reputation as a classic, most critics at the time were repulsed by the film's violence and romanticization of the titular outlaws. One of the few critics that lauded the film, Pauline Kael, quit the New Republic newspaper when they refused to publish her review.
  • Damsel Scrappy: The movie version of Blanche, at least in the estimation of her real-life counterpart—she was quoted as saying that "That movie made me look like a screaming horse's ass."
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  • Draco in Leather Pants: Audiences came out of the film rooting for the bad guys against the cops and their victims. The film-makers were fully trying to invoke this trope:
    Bonnie and Clyde were out of their time in the 30s...If Bonnie and Clyde were here today, they would be hip. Their values have become assimilated in much of our culture — not robbing banks and killing people, of course, but their style, their sexuality, their bravado, their delicacy, their cultivated arrogance, their narcissistic insecurity, their curious ambition have relevance to the way we live now. Of course, what makes them beautiful is they didn’t know it...They are not Crooks...They are people, and this film is, in many ways, about what’s going on now.
    — Screenwriters Robert Benton and David Newman, of Arthur Penn's Bonnie and Clyde, excerpted from Mark Harris' Pictures of a Revolution.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: C.W. Moss became a popular enough character to earn Michael J. Pollard a bit of a cult following. There was even a tongue-in-cheek campaign to draft him as a presidential candidate in 1968.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: With all due respect to Splendor in the Grass, the role of the bank robbing Clyde was Warren Beatty's big claim to fame. About two decades later he would take on the role of one of pop culture's most famous fictional lawmen in Dick Tracy.
  • It Was His Sled: One of the most famous endings in film history, but the unsparing, matter-of-fact way it's presented still packs a wallop even when you know what's going to happen.
  • Nightmare Fuel:
    • Right after Sheriff Frank spits on Bonnie, the look of absolute anger and hate on Clyde's face right before delivering a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown to Frank is terrifying.
    • The ambush that kills the protagonists remains gruesome and horrifying even today, and was considered even more so when it was released. If you look closely, you can even see a bit of Clyde's scalp fly off.
  • Older Than They Think: This was actually the second biographical film about the couple, after 1958's The Bonnie Parker Story, where she teams up with "Guy Darrow" and his gang. Likewise, films on the Outlaw Couple trope inspired by the duo include Fritz Lang's You Only Live Once and Joseph H. Lewis' B-Movie classic Gun Crazy. The latter film features much of the Freudian subtext between guns and sex in this film, and indeed François Truffaut made the film's screenwriters watch that film during his brief involvement during pre-production. There was also Edward Anderson's 1937 novel Thieves Like Us, which was adapted by Nicholas Ray in 1948 as They Live By Night (and remade under the novel's title by Robert Altman in 1974).
  • One-Scene Wonder: Gene Wilder in his film debut as the dorky undertaker who gets his car stolen by the Barrow gang made a strong impression with just a few minutes of screen time.
  • Retroactive Recognition: Gene Wilder in his film debut as the male half of the couple that B&C capture.
  • Special Effect Failure: Most of the driving scenes feature Obvious Blue Screen.
  • Vindicated by History: The violent demise of the title two characters was considered a dealbreaker for a number of critics at the time the movie was released, who argued that the film glorified violence. Not too long after, the sheer brutality of the scene instead became praised for its audacity, and the other aspects of the film were viewed in a more positive light.


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