Sponsored by Peter & Nancy Rabinowitz
It’s arguable that Bonnie and Clyde is the most important, influential movie of the past half-century, galvanizing both the politics of its audience and the start of the most innovative period in the history of American moviemaking. At first dismissed by reigning critics of its time (1967), the film found a groundswell of support from an audience that Hollywood hadn’t paid attention to—a younger generation, who made sure that the times they were a changin‘ and found a voice for themselves and the growing “counterculture” of the era in Bonnie and Clyde’s unconventionally romantic hero and heroine. They were outlaws who had no use for the banks they robbed, in part because the banks had caused the Great Depression, the time period in which the film is metaphorically yet literally set. Charismatic performances by Warren Beatty, Faye Dunaway, Gene Hackman, and Gene Wilder match former MIFF Lifetime Achievement Award honoree Arthur Penn’s fine direction, but the impetus for the film’s power is unquestionably Robert Benton’s and his then-writing partner David Newman’s groundbreaking screenplay. In the almost 50 years since it appeared, the film has lost none of its impact.