Backlot: 80 Years of The Hollywood Reporter

Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty in 1967: A gun-shy Bonnie Parker gets schooled in the gangster game by Clyde Barrow. The film first was offered to Francois Truffaut, who instead made 'Fahrenheit 451.'
Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty in 1967: A gun-shy Bonnie Parker gets schooled in the gangster game by Clyde Barrow. The film first was offered to Francois Truffaut, who instead made 'Fahrenheit 451.'
 Courtesy Everett Collection

There’s some irony that a film set during the 1930s, when the studio system was at its height, came to symbolize New Hollywood’s rebellion against the existing order. Bonnie and Clyde heralded a break with Old Hollywood, but the generational handoff was not smooth. The New York Times panned the film as “a cheap piece of bald-faced slapstick comedy” and began a campaign against screen violence. However, The Hollywood Reporter’s John Mahoney praised it as “an unqualified success.” And Pauline Kael — in her first-ever review in The New Yorker — called it an “excitingly American movie” and said “it is the violence without sadism that throws the audience off-balance.” The film went on to garner 10 Oscar noms, winning for supporting actress and cinematography. First-time producer Warren Beatty, then 30, had a deal for 40 percent of the gross on a film that brought in more than $70 million worldwide (about $450 million nowadays). Certainly, no bank robber would have the nerve to steal that kind of money today.

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