Backlot: 80 Years of The Hollywood Reporter

Courtesy Everett Collection
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.'

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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.