Bonnie and Clyde

Director: Arthur Penn
Screenwriters: Robert Benton, David Newman

Institute History

  • 1994 Sundance Film Festival


"We could cut a path clean across this state, and everybody'd know about it," Clyde Barrow (Warren Beatty) tells Bonnie Parker (Faye Dunaway) right after they meet. That romantic bravura is the source of both the couple's overwhelming appeal and their downfall.

With Bonnie and Clyde, Penn takes the gangster film and transforms it into a character study, a comedy interwoven with chaos, and a sober portrait of the limited possibilities open to people in depression-era rural America. Bonnie and Clyde have no options but to rob banks, a dilemma consistently represented by the tight framing Penn chooses to restrict them throughout the film, a sharp contrast to Helen Keller's freedom in The Miracle Worker. Robbing banks is the source of what little identity they possess, they even announce that fact when they introduce themselves to people.

Bonnie and Clyde is Penn's most controversial film because of its moral ambiguity and the intensity of its violence. But Penn sees violence as the inevitable downside of the American Dream, the inescapable result of frustrated ambition and aspirations Leaving violence out of film, he has said, "would be like eliminating one of the primary colors from the palette of the painter"

Saturday, Jan 22 3:30 pm
Park City Library Center

Saturday Jan 29 10:40 pm
Holiday Village Cinema III


— Barbara Bannon

Screening Details

  • Section: Challenge and Innovation: A Tribute to Arthur Penn
  • Film Type: Dramatic Feature
  • Country: U.S.A.
  • Run Time: 111 min.
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