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Bonnie and Clyde is one of the most influential American films ever made. Arthur Penn‘s 1967 masterpiece about two Depression-era bank robbers left an immeasurable mark on Hollywood, setting new standards for what Hollywood was capable of and carving a path for the rebellious, challenging cinematic shake-up of the 1970s.
As detailed in the Now You See It video essay “The Movie That Changed Cinema,” Bonnie and Clyde is one of the most revolutionary movies to ever hit Hollywood. With debts to avant-garde films like Breathless and Jules and Jim, Bonnie and Clyde repackaged the French New Wave for stateside audiences, recontextualizing the experimental stylings and discontinuous editing of a continental movement in an American myth.
The result is a film that went places no Hollywood film had gone before. Bonnie and Clyde had a daring approach to sex, violence, and gender that pushed boundaries. The filmtreated The Great Depression with a sense of levity, introduced audiences to the shocking impact of the blood squib, and oscillated on a dime from slapstick humor to violent tragedy. There may never be another film like it.
You can watch “The Movie That Changed Cinema” here:
Who made this?
This video essay comes courtesy of the fine folks at Now You See It, the YouTube channel dedicated to film analysis that searches for meaning in unexpected places. You can follow Now You See It and check out their back catalog here. Now You See It It is run by Virginia-based software engineer Jack Nugent, whom you can follow on Twitter here.
More Videos Like This
- “How the French New Wave Changed Cinema” from No Film School
- A video essay from ScreenPrism on how Bonnie and Clyde changed the makeup of American cinema forever
- Now You See It on how filmmakers weaponize geometry to change the way audiences think
- Here’s another sample of Now You See It’s work: “How Dave Chappelle Dodges Laser Beams“
- The original trailer for Bonnie and Clyde
- Another great Now You See It essay: “How To Break the Fourth Wall“
- “The Death of the American Gangster Film“
- Burnett Guffey winning the Oscar for Cinematography for Bonnie and Clyde