47 of 50 people found the following review helpful
on April 16, 2004
Trust Hollywood to turn two common criminals into two American folk heroes. Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker were two small-town young people drifting aimlessly during the Great Depression of the 1930's; she's bored out of her gourd, and he's a felon who had killed fourteen men by the time he met his end at the ripe old age of twenty-four. They meet, fall sort of in love, and embark on a petty crime spree. At first it's all good-humored fun; they steal a couple of cars, hold up a couple of stores, and in a moment of hilarious insanity, Clyde attempts to rob a bank that went bust a week before, much to the amusement of the banker and Bonnie, who's collapsing with laughter over the steering wheel. But then a storekeeper takes offense at Clyde attempting to hold him up, and is pistol-whipped by Clyde in his frantic efforts to escape. Once the battered storekeeper ID's Clyde's photo to the cops, things turn serious.
As Clyde's posse expands to include a lowlife neer-do-well named C.W. Moss and Clyde's brother Buck and his sister-in-law Blanche, their crimes get bolder and the violence spirals out of control. A bank robbery in broad daylight (while C.W. manages to get their getaway car stuck in a too-tight parking space) goes off almost without a hitch; but when Clyde shoots a pursuing cop in the face and his head explodes all over their back windshield, the fun stuff is over. They're wanted criminals being chased from Arkansas to Oklahoma and back to Louisiana. As their notoriety spreads, so does their audacity. In one of the funniest scenes in the film, they capture a sheriff who was about to sneak up on them and handcuff him while Clyde snaps pictures of Bonnie holding a gun on him. But their fame comes at a terrible price; they're wanted outcasts, alienated even from their own. When Clyde meets Bonnie's mother and tells her they'd like to live within three miles of her, Mrs. Parker tells her daughter, "You try to live three miles from me, and you won't live long, honey."
From the scene where Buck expires in a hail of police bullets to the slow dance on the killing ground in Louisiana, the film takes on a somber tone in stark comparison to the lighthearted opening sequences. Once the cascading violence has turned brutal, the movie becomes darker and more foreboding as well. But as bad as the two protagonists are, we can't help but like them. Maybe that's the difference between Hollywood and real life. One wonders how many people who came across Bonnie and Clyde actually liked this pair?
The tension between Bonnie and Clyde helps keep the movie on edge. Arthur Penn's superb direction, assisted by knockout performances from the cast, helps keep the movie on a razor edge balanced between laughter and revulsion. Warren Beatty was never better than in his title role as Clyde Barrow, and Faye Dunaway makes a perfect Bonnie to his Clyde. Michael J. Pollard is winning as the doofus C.W. Moss and Gene Hackman is wonderful as Buck, torn between his loyalty to his brother and his love for his ditzy wife. But Estelle Parsons, as that ditzy wife, almost runs off with the film; her hysterics during the shootout between Clyde's gang and the cops has the viewers in equal hysterics rolling in the aisles. The cinematography is great; we feel all the heat, dust, and emptiness of Depression-era America, and the foot-stompin' banjo music by Flatts and Scruggs helps anchor the movie to its time and place. "Bonnie and Clyde" has become an American classic, one of the best films to come out of the 1960's.
101 of 113 people found the following review helpful
on January 19, 2008
Warner Home Video is releasing newly remastered transfers of Bonnie and Clyde, with new special features, in several editions. Amazon is taking orders at the following links:
Standard DVD 2-disc Special Edition
Standard DVD 2-disc Ultimate Collector's Edition
The first three were released on March 25th; the HD version is due out on April 15th. Warner Brothers has announced that it won't support HD after May 31, 2008, so there may be a limited window to get the HD version.
The new transfers have been made from the "original elements," meaning stuff like original negatives or original prints. (See below for an update on the video and audio quality.) The special features announced, included in all the new releases, are these:
-- the full-length History Channel documentary about the real Bonnie and Clyde called "Love and Death: The Story of Bonnie and Clyde" (43:10)
-- a new three-part documentary about the making and releasing of the film and its relation to the real Bonnie and Clyde:
. . . "Bonnie and Clyde's Gang" (22:35)
. . . "The Reality and Myth of Bonnie and Clyde" (24:07)
. . . "Releasing Bonnie and Clyde" (18:06)
-- two newly discovered deleted scenes (5:23)
-- two trailers (4:11)
-- Warren Beatty's wardrobe tests (7:39)
The HD and Blu-ray editions will also include as a "high-def exclusive" a hardcover book (34 pages according to Amazon, 32 pages according to dvdbeaver) with a detailed production history, star/director filmographies and rare archival behind-the-scenes photos. The book is an integral part of the case. This isn't included in the standard DVD Special Edition.
The Ultimate edition will also include some non-DVD extras. Details are given in the earlier reviews of the Ultimate edition (January 17, 2008).
No commentary was announced, so I subtract one star. For some the making-of features may partially make up for the lack of commentary.
As for the movie itself, it's a landmark, but there are already many helpful reviews here about that ....
Update on the video and audio quality of the new releases (March 27th)
I haven't got my copy yet, but I've checked out some early professional reviews. All the ones I've seen that compare to the older DVD agree that the video quality of the new releases is much improved. I'll give some details from a sampling of reviews here for anyone interested, but the upshot is that everyone is pleased with both new transfers (HD not being out yet).
DVD Beaver, which specializes in DVD image evaluations and comparisons, says the standard DVD 2-disc Special Edition video is "very strong," clean, with minimal noise. They report improved detail, contrast and color from the older DVD. Skin tones are said to be a bit on the red side (which is what most people prefer to accurate color). The image is said to have a glossy look at times, perhaps the same look described at DVD Town as "a little glassy."
The sound is the original mono, described by DVD Beaver as "clear and consistent." No one raves about the sound, but everyone finds it good overall, for mono.
The review at DVD Town finds the new transfer "excellent for a movie some forty years old." It mentions noticeable grain in some shots, but this may refer to scenes in which there was intentional grain introduced for effect. Also mentioned are occasional softness, skin tones a touch dark, but overall color "quite realistic." Says the definition is superb for standard DVD, contrast strong.
DVD Verdict says, "The remastered print looks very good, with strong colors and high contrast, and superb detail ...," with a little grain at times.
DVD Beaver says the Blu-ray version is, as would be expected, even better. The darks are darker than on the new standard DVD, the brights brighter, very strong detail, with a touch redder skin tones, very minor noise. The image is said to retain a natural look.
The sound is described with very same adjectives as for the standard DVD: clear and consistent.
Home Theater Forum's reviewer calls the Blu-ray transfer's color fidelity "outstanding" and overall quality "excellent," including sharpness and detail. Blacks are said to be very black, though less so in the later part of the movie.
A review at High-Def Digest praises the Blu-ray image quality very highly, particularly the color, which it describes as vibrant, smooth and natural.
(I've posted the links to the reviews cited in the first comment for this review.)
66 of 77 people found the following review helpful
on May 23, 2000
This movie ignited critics and the public alike when it was first released in theatres. Much discussion centered around the movie's graphic violence (which was considered shocking by 1967 standards --- two years later "The Wild Bunch" would raise the ante even higher); there was also considerable hullaballoo over the film's glamorization of its lawless true-life anti-heroes (which was in fact an old Hollywood tradition best exemplified by a handful of late 1930's and early 1940's biographical Westerns including "Jesse James", "Belle Starr", "Billy the Kid", etc. in which beautiful actors portrayed the murderous title characters as Technicolored lads and ladies).
35 years later the fires of debate have burned out, and what remains notable about "Bonnie and Clyde" is neither its cutting-edge violence nor its historical inaccuracies, but instead the fine craftsmanship that went into its creation. The performances are uniformly outstanding; the cinematography is evocative of a time and place that can still be glimpsed in parts of the Ozarks, Oklahoma, and North Texas; the editing is clean and well-paced; the direction is innovative and assured, even poetic in some sequences (the initial acquaintance of Barrow and Parker, the reunion of Bonnie's family, the final ambush scene). This film is the telling of legend, not the chronicle of biographical scholarship, and it unfolds its story masterfully.
The DVD showcases the film beautifully. The edition I purchased offers both the widescreen and reformatted versions; an earlier issue of this title on DVD offered only the widescreen release (which I personally prefer and recommend, but you may not agree). This is a classic worthy of multiple viewings, and a DVD I endorse without reservation.
19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on January 17, 2008
Warner Home Video is releasing a newly remastered transfer of Bonnie and Clyde in several editions, including an Ultimate edition with some special extras for collectors. The new transfer has been made from the "original elements," meaning original negatives, original prints, or the like.
The Ultimate edition will be on standard DVD. There will also be a standard DVD Special Edition, and Blu-ray and HD editions. All will share the following special features:
-- the full-length History Channel documentary about the real Bonnie and Clyde called "Love and Death: The Story of Bonnie and Clyde"
-- a new three-part documentary about the making and releasing of the film and its relation to the real Bonnie and Clyde: "Bonnie and Clyde's Gang," "The Reality and Myth of Bonnie and Clyde," and "Releasing Bonnie and Clyde"
-- two newly discovered deleted scenes
-- two trailers
-- Warren Beatty's wardrobe tests
In addition, the Ultimate Collector's Edition will include these non-DVD extras:
-- a 36-page hard-cover book of behind-the-scenes photos
-- a 24-page reproduction of the press book for the original 1967 release
-- a mail-in offer for a poster
The artwork I've seen for the HD and Blu-ray releases doesn't show all the non-DVD materials included in the artwork for the Ultimate edition, so it appears for now that the Ultimate extras will only be available with standard DVDs. I see no pages at Amazon for an HD or Blu-ray Ultimate edition, and none was announced.
However, according to Amazon, the HD and Blu-ray editions will include as a "high-def exclusive" a 34-page hardcover book with a detailed production history, star/director filmographies and rare archival behind-the-scenes photos. That sounds a lot like the 36-page book for the Ultimate edition, possibly leaving as the main differences the press book and poster offer.
The Ultimate edition will reportedly only be available for a limited time. Amazon is taking pre-orders here.
No commentary was announced, so I wouldn't call this an "ultimate" edition myself, but maybe the making-of features will partially make up for the lack of commentary.
The movie is a classic, but there are already plenty of helpful reviews about that here ....
(You can find the announcement of this info, with larger photos of the Ultimate and other editions, at dvdactive, dvdtimes and other sites--just do a web search for "bonnie and clyde" plus "ultimate collector's edition." Amazon apparently doesn't allow external links in reviews.)
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on April 10, 2008
Bonnie and Clyde: The Ultimate Collector's Edition (Warner Home Video) gives us a chance to reexamine a classic film forty-one years after its initial release. If you're asking whether it's worth shelling out the money for this, the answer is a qualified "yes." Is it a "perfect package?" No, not by a long shot...no pun intended. My review will address the component parts of this product.
The film "Bonnie and Clyde" was released rather tepidly by Warner Brothers (which had been purchased by Seven Arts during post-production) in 1967. The film stands on its own (literally) in this box set, and unless improved picture quality is important to you, you would probably be satisfied with the earlier DVD issuance of the film.
Still, the film is astonishing enough. Unlike many 1960's films, it is ageless. "Bonnie and Clyde" is regarded by some reviewers as being one of two classic "anti-hero" films released that year ("The Graduate" being the other film). In case you haven't seen the film....
"Bonnie and Clyde" succeeded in reviving interest in the lives of two Depression-era outlaws, Clyde Barrow (1909-1934) and his girlfriend, Bonnie Parker (1910-1934). Skillfully combining some fact with quite a bit of fiction -- a device that's become commonplace in film -- "Bonnie and Clyde" boasts an outstanding cast. Warren Beatty, who also served as producer of the film, is Clyde -- a charming albeit criminal personality who is also impotent. Bonnie is portrayed by then newcomer Faye Dunaway as a tough young woman yearning for excitement even as she is frustrated by Clyde's lack of sexual interest or prowess ("You're advertising is just dandy," she tells Clyde in an early scene, "Folks would never guess you don't have a thing to sell."
The cast is rounded out by the always excellent Gene Hackman as Clyde's brother Buck alongside Oscar-winner Estelle Parsons as Blanche, his tightly-wound, unhappy and (portrayed rather shrewishly) wife. Michael J. Pollard portrays C.W. Moss -- the only fictional composite amongst the film version of the Barrow gang (he represents three of Clyde's real-life accomplices: Raymond Hamilton, W.D. Jones and Henry Methvin). Smaller roles feature Gene Wilder (his first film) and Evans Evans as a couple who are, in essence, kidnapped by the Barrow gang for a while and forced to accompany them until being released -- a slightly fictionalized incident that in real life involved Dillard Darby and Sophia Stone of Louisiana. Denver Pyle portrays Texas Ranger Frank Hamer and Dub Taylor portrays C.W.'s father. The film is directed by Arthur Penn.
One of the things that has always struck me about the film is the change in tempo and mood. The movie begins with Bonnie and Clyde flirting after Bonnie spies Clyde trying to steal her mother's car. There is the early comedic touch (Clyde trying to rob a bank that has failed). But then Clyde kills a bank teller during a bothched robbery, because C.W. has parked their getaway car and gets boxed in (a scene that goes from laughter to horror as effectively as the oft-mentioned scene in "Jaws" when Roy Scheider sees the shark for the first time aboard the Orca).
From that point on, the violence escalates and the comedic touches are gone. Instead, we are treated to various portents of what is to come. The Barrow gang escape their early shoot outs but then become increasingly bloody in subsequent engagements; dark clouds appear over a cornfield as Bonnie runs away from Clyde, missing her mother; Bonnie ejects the two captives (Wilder and Evans) after learning he is an undertaker -- death is now next to them. This culminates, of course, in the death ballet as Bonnie and Clyde are riddled with bullets.
I am sure others have commented on the historical inaccuracies in the film, but I'll mention a few:
* Bonnie and Clyde actually met at the home of a mutual friend in 1930, and Bonnie did not accompany Clyde on his criminal escapades until 1932.
* Contrary to the film depiction, Bonnie and Clyde seldom robbed banks. Most of their robberies involved small businesses.
* The motivation behind the formation of the Barrow gang was to perpetuate a raid on the Eastham Prison farm, where Barrow had been abused, and to free Raymond Hamilton.
* The most outrageous fictional event in the film, in my opinion, is the film incident where Clyde captures and humiliates Texas Ranger Frank Hamer -- who spits on Bonnie. In reality, Frank Hamer never met Bonnie and Clyde until May 23, 1934 when he was part of the posse that ambushed and killed them near Arcadia, Louisiana. Hamer had been hired as a special agent by the Texas Prison System, following Barrow's Eastham Prison raid, and he was assisted by five other men (B.F. "Manny" Gault, a former Texas Ranger colleague; Henderson Jordan and Prentiss Oakley from the Bienville Parish Sheriff's Office; and Robert Alcorn and Ted Hinton from the Dallas Sheriff's office).
The second disc in this edition is certainly worth the price of admission. There is a three part "Making of.../Marketing of" featurette with interviews of Beatty, Dunaway, Hackman, Parsons, Pollard, Evans, screenwriter Robert Benton (his co-writer, David Newman, is deceased), editor Dede Allen, director Arthur Penn...
While it has been noted by others that Benton and Newman's screenplay owed much to the French New Wave cinema and that they sought Francois Truffault's involvement (he passed, but mentioned the screenplay to Beatty), I was not aware that the original treatment included a menage-a-trois involving Clyde-Bonnie-C.W. This was dropped from the final screenplay at the suggestion of Arthur Penn.
I also was unaware (or had forgotten) that the film bombed on its first release, and that Beatty had taken over the publicity campaign and the film was re-released, garnering a rave review from Pauline Kael. It's a nice bit of film history....and Faye Dunaway still looks stunning!
The second disc also features the A&E documentary, "Love and Death: The story of Bonnie and Clyde." It is well done, and features comments from historians and Clyde's sister Marie -- who died just a few years ago.
There are two deleted scenes offered as an extra, both of them without an audio track. They're interesting but not essential and it is easy to see why each ended up on the cutting room floor. There is also a Warren Beatty wardrobe test.
There is a perfect bound "photo book" of stills from the movie, which is very nicely done. There is also a smaller "press book" which is a nice keepsake -- although some of the print is a tad small.
On the whole, I am happy I made the purchase.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on February 21, 2001
A minute or so into the first scene (which begins with a close-up of a luscious, red-lipsticked, sensuous mouth) a young woman goes to the window of her second story bedroom and looks down on a young man milling about the family car parked in front of the house. "Hey, Boy!" she calls to him, "What c'you doin' with my mama's car?" And with that, the world got it's first glimpse of what was to become one of the most celebrated couples in cinematic gangsterdom, as portrayed by Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway, in "Bonnie & Clyde," directed by Arthur Penn and produced by Beatty. The red lips, of course, belong to Bonnie Parker (Dunaway), and in the first moments of the film, as she looks at herself in the mirror, then sprawls pensively across her bed, you feel her sense of longing, of wanting "something," of yearning for that intangible element that is seemingly just beyond her grasp. And then she meets Clyde Barrow (Beatty). Just released from prison, Clyde has a twinkle in his eye and a devil-may-care attitude that fits Bonnie's needs like a hand in a glove; and so begins the story of two real life criminals as they embark upon their now legendary, if infamous, spree of bank robberies and murder. How they actually met and came together is of no consequence here; the fact is, it happened, and unbeknownst to Bonnie and Clyde, their exploits and short lives would become--some thirty-odd years later-- the subject of a cinematic masterpiece. Beatty makes few movies, which apparently works to his advantage, because when he does, it's usually a film worth waiting for. And this is arguably one of his best, if not the best, he's every done. As Clyde, Beatty fairly oozes charm, with a down-home, southern, easy-going manner that belies who and what his character really is. But Beatty makes him memorable with an Oscar worthy performance in the role that will most likely be THE one for which he will be remembered, and with good reason, for he has never before or since been more charismatic or accessible than he is here. It is quite simply a remarkable performance by a talented actor at the top of his form. And Faye Dunaway, as well, has never been more beautiful or appealing, ever. Period. Her Bonnie is without question the stuff of which legends are born. But does her portrayal reflect the real Bonnie Parker? Of course not; neither does Beatty's reflect the real Clyde Barrow. But Dunaway's work here is nothing less than extraordinary and-- as with Beatty's Clyde-- this will probably be the role for which she will be remembered, as it showcases not only her exquisite beauty but here abilities as an actress more than any other part she's played, including her role in "Network," for which she won the Oscar for Best Actress. As the director, Arthur Penn-- it goes without saying-- played a tremendous part in the success of this film. It may have been Beatty's vision originally, but it was Penn who summarily made it his own and brought it to fruition. His handling of the camera to enhance the drama of the story is acute, from his use of close-ups (as in the opening scene of Dunaway's mouth, and later her eyes), to the more expansive vistas he uses to capture the action that is so well choreographed and staged. His pacing of the film, which maintains the necessary tension and emotional level throughout, is perfect, and the expertise through which he elicits exemplary performances from his actors is evident. Of all the elements that go into the making of a great film, choosing the right director is of unparalleled concern, and in this case it is obvious that Penn was indeed the right man for the job. The memorable supporting cast includes Michael J. Pollard (C.W. Moss), Gene Hackman (Buck Barrow), Denver Pyle (Frank Hamer), Dub Taylor (Ivan Moss) and Estelle Parsons, as Blanche Barrow, the role for which she received the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. A landmark film, "Bonnie & Clyde" has received criticism for glamorizing the lives of notorious criminals; but upon reflection, though the stars involved may have "beautified" the subjects of the film, there is certainly nothing in the presentation of the way they lived, and especially the way they died, that could be construed as "glamorous." What this film does, however-- and so successfully-- is evoke a sense of the desperation of a particular time and place in the history of America. Some may deem this perspective of infamy as politically incorrect; but the Great Depression was a fact of life, and gangsters like Bonnie and Clyde-- as with Jesse James before them-- were often hailed as heroes by certain factions who were themselves struggling to stay alive. The importance of a film like this, or perhaps on a grander scale, one like "Schindler's List," is that it maintains an awareness of events that for posterity simply must not be forgotten.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on February 2, 2000
Ok so history wise this movie is horrible but this is a masterpiece of cinema and story telling.
I agree romance between Bonnie and Clyde is potrayed with perfection. The acting is very very great, the actors probley got notes and some acting direction from Warren Beatty judging from his later work.
Never ever ever see the pan and scan version, man does it ruin the film! I was suprised seeing the differences between the two, pan and scan is very claustrophobic and cuts 50% of the picture out. GO WIDESCREEN!
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on July 17, 2001
The debate about how graphic violence in the movies affects human behavior is an old story. And that debate started in 1967 with the release of Arthur Penn's BONNIE AND CLYDE.
First to the film: Though heavily romanticized, this portrait of the two notorious Depression-era bank robbers Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow remains significant as a film for having put Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty (who produced the film) into their roles and making big names out of them. Gene Hackman and Gene Wilder also became stars in this, and Estelle Parsons snagged a Best Supporting Actress Oscar. Burnett Guffey also picked up an Oscar for his brilliant cinematography.
And now to the violence: Up until this film, most cinematic violence had been clean (the PSYCHO shower scene being an obvious exception). But the way Penn handles the violence in BONNIE AND CLYDE was totally unanticipated either by critics or audiences in 1967. It was nasty and it was bloody. Each outburst of violence in the film increases in intensity until that infamous 30-second fusillade of bullets and blood at the end. This scene caused the most debate, and obviously paved the way for THE WILD BUNCH.
But in all aspects, even the infamous bloodshed, BONNIE AND CLYDE remains a most influential movie, making antiheroes out of thieves (which was correct for the rebellious youth of 1967). The film's folkiness is underlined by the hard-driving bluegrass of Flatt and Scruggs' "Foggy Mountain Breakdown" for the chase scenes involving the Barrow gang and the law. This remains one of the touchstone films of the turbulent 1960s; and for that reason alone, it is a must-see.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on June 13, 2008
I'm not going to review the film, chances are you have already seen it and if not then there are plenty of glowing reviews to read over out there. Instead I'm going to review the Blu-ray Disc itself.
The transfer is glorious, the grain structure is intact as it was during Bonnie and Clyde's original theatrical run - thankfully Warners Bros have avoided using the grain removal techniques that other studios use on there Blu-ray Discs.
In short, Bonnie and Clyde has never looked better.
One area where Warner COULD have improved would to of included a better audio track than the lossy Dolby Digital track that is used here but that's a minor gripe and I'm just glad they did not convert it into a 5.1 soundtrack.
There are also numerous special features to watch over which makes this Blu-ray one heck of an evening killer!
To close, if you are a fan of the film then the Blu-ray Disc blows the DVD out of the water in terms of visual quality, this looks as good as it did when it was first screened in cinemas.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
The film editor Dede Allen passed away a few weeks ago and since this was one of my favorites from the late '60's, I thought it time to check out this version as it was probably as good as it was going to get to the wide screen original. I hooked it up via dvd player through a wide screen projector, made popcorn, invited people over and had a party.
For the young and relatively young who have never heard of this film, here's a quick----very quick----synopsis. Bonnie and Clyde were bankrobbers in the 1930's. During the 'Great Depression' this was not so out of the ordinary. They and their gang were fairly successful and made it to the 'most wanted' list. They packed heat and so did the G-men who were hot on their trail. Basically the movie chronicles their adventures as well as their eventual downfall. As the case in Hollywood, the writers took some liberties with the facts and did some tweeking to make these people seem more attractive. To this I say 'what the heck'. It made the movie very interesting. The acting was superb, the script was interesting, the photography had a clarity that seemingly was way ahead of its time, the costuming was vintage and authentic looking (and made Faye Dunaway a fashion icon and trendsetter ca. 1967). One of the biggest draws for me was the final scene which was a slo-mo number that was composed of a gazillion contorted and well-choreographed shots which was stunning.
This movie is wonderfully entertaining because it represents a terrific composite of when all the elements come together to support a giant. In all honesty, I like every aspect of this movie so much that I can't find a weak link.
This new cut/reconstruction has restored the film to its brand new glory and rightfully validates its reputattion. The color balance is superb. The master print is in wonderful shape now and it is every bit as great as it was in 1967. And the final scene still gives me goose bumps.
On a funny note, Gene Wilder has a minor role. I totally forgot he was in the movie. It was also cool to see the principle actors ---- Faye Dunaway, Warren Beatty, Estelle Parsons, Gene Hackman, and Michael J. Pollard when they were early into their careers.
I haven't viewed the bonus features, but plan to soon.