Although the 1967 film Bonnie and Clyde took liberties in bending facts, it made up for that factual creativity in spades with controversial. Sure the real Bonnie didn’t likely share the same gun-lust or manic stare as Faye Dunaway, but Bonnie and Clyde in its time defied convention of not only violence, but comedy and romance in film.
For those that missed out on what was a pop-culture film phenomenon, Bonnie and Clyde is slated for a re-release on regular DVD as a two-disc Ultimate Collector’s and Special Edition, as well as Blu-ray and HD DVD. In celebration of its revival, we take a look at key movies in recent history that took a cue from the classic.
O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000)
While not the Coen Brothers’ most critically-acclaimed movie, O Brother Where Art Thou? nonetheless made an impact with its distinct sepia-toned visuals, Depression-era vibe and a comedic undertone running throughout in what plays out as an allusion to Homer’s Odyssey. Musically-charged with bluegrass tunes, the film somehow spins racism, financial hardship and romantic betrayal into a relaxed comedy — and makes it work.
Thelma & Louise (1991, )
Most known for giving boost to Brad Pitt‘s still young career, Thelma & Louise is on surface a girl-power tale of overcoming an over-bearing, male-dominated society. But director Ridley Scott isn’t content on making some trite social commentary, instead painting a beautifully sorrow landscape of rural drama and tragedy. The film takes on numerous themes similar to Bonnie and Clyde: both are in pairs, both are on the run from the law, both try to escape the mundane drudgery of every-day life, and both meet a sad fate, seemingly misunderstood by those pursuing them. And like the notorious romantic duo, Thelma and Louise are constantly on the road, absorbing the rural sights and the vast empty stretches of highway.
Natural Born Killers (1994)
Utterly lacking in subtlety, Natural Born Killers almost asks you to be disgusted with its satirical take on the Bonnie and Clyde mold. Lambasting media fascination with criminals, Oliver Stone paints the sociopathic duo of Mickey Knox (Woody Harrelson) and Mallory Wilson (Juliette Lewis) as tabloid stars. Manically cruising down nondescript highways of middle-America, they wreak havoc upon the innocent unlucky enough to stumble into their path — and the film almost taunts you to be entertained by their unrepentantly brutal violence.
Midnight Run (1988)
A less black-comedic film than Bonnie and Clyde, Midnight Run nevertheless stands as one of the best in its genre in the 80s. Robert De Niro and Charles Grodin click as the dysfunctional duo, with De Niro trying to turn in Grodin for a hefty $100,000 bounty. Like Bonnie and Clyde, this modern classic stars an antagonist law enforcement official you love to hate. FBI Special Agent Alonzo Mosely (Yaphet Kotto.) proves to be a perpetual thorn at their side — but with failure written on his forehead. Blue-grass jams fuel flighty car chase scenes in an upbeat comedy that evokes films of old.
For those interested in revisiting the classic, check out Bonnie and Clyde when it hits retailers March 25, 2008.