Warner Brothers had so little faith in the film that, in an unprecedented move, they offered first-time Producer Warren Beatty forty percent of the gross, instead of a minimal fee. The movie went on to gross over fifty million dollars.
Gene Hackman was on the set one day, when he noticed a guy standing behind him and staring. The man said, "Hell, Buck would've never wore a hat like that." Hackman turned around and looked at him and said, "Maybe not." He looked like an old Texas farmer. The man introduced himself and said, "Nice to meet you, I'm one of the Barrows."
In the Special Edition DVD Documentary, Estelle Parsons says she was the only member of the cast who actually researched the history of the Barrow Gang. She also says that early in the filming, she wanted to meet the real Blanche Barrow, but Warren Beatty, in his capacity as the producer, was against the idea. Finally, after a week, Warren relented, and set up a meeting with Blanche, but at that point, Parsons lost interest, and never met Blanche. In fact, Warren Beatty brought the script to Blanche for her to read for her approval before she would give permission to use her name. She agreed the script was factual and approved it. While there, he played her piano and sang for her. She was very fond of Warren, even though the director completely changed the script to make her look as in her own words, "a screaming horse's ass." She took her third husband Eddie to see the movie with her for the first time, and nearly died of embarrassment.
In a 1968 interview, Warren Beatty mentioned that his last conversation with ex-girlfriend Natalie Wood took place in the summer of 1966 when he tried unsuccessfully to get her to play Bonnie Parker in his film. Later that evening, she attempted to take her own life, and was discovered by her live-in housekeeper.
Michael J. Pollard didn't realize in eating scenes that you don't actually eat all the food because of the possibility of repeated takes. Sure enough, he soon regretted it in the scene in which the outlaws kidnap a couple and eat their lunch in the car. By the twelfth take, Pollard was feeling decidedly ill, having had to eat twelve whole hamburgers.
One of Director Arthur Penn's intentions was to make the character of Blanche as hysterical as possible, so that it would make Bonnie look even cooler.
The poem that Bonnie reads aloud in the rented apartment is "The Story of Suicide Sal", written by Bonnie Parker in 1932.
When Warren Beatty was on-board as producer only, his sister Shirley MacLaine was a strong possibility to play Bonnie. But, when Beatty decided to play Clyde himself, for obvious reasons, he decided not to use MacLaine.
Arthur Penn originally turned the script down, but after various other directors did likewise, including William Wyler, Warren Beatty was compelled to take it back to Penn. He agreed only on the condition that he could make some important changes, the main one being making Clyde impotent, as opposed to bisexual.
In one scene, while holding up a bank, Clyde Barrow tells a farmer he can keep his own money. ("Is that your money or the bank's?" "It's mine." "You keep it then.") In real-life, it was bank robber Pretty Boy Floyd who allowed a farmer to keep his own money during a hold-up.
In real-life, Clyde Barrow was a highly dangerous marksman who had mastered most firearms including the Browning automatic rifle and the Thompson submachine gun. The lawmen chasing him were well aware of his ability with a gun, which partly explains the ruthlessness behind the way he was gunned down.
The scene in which C.W. Moss (Michael J. Pollard) parallel parks the getaway car while Clyde (Warren Beatty) and Bonnie (Faye Dunaway) are in the bank, and then has trouble getting the car out of the space, is based on a true event, but it didn't happen to Bonnie and Clyde. It occurred on June 10, 1933. The bank robbers in question were John Dillinger and William Shaw, and the driver was Paul "Lefty" Parker. This is documented in Bryan Burrough's "Public Enemies: American's Greatest Crime Wave and the Birth of the F.B.I., 1933-34," upon which Public Enemies (2009) was based.
Bonnie's family reunion scene was shot through a window screen to give it a hazy, nostalgic effect.
A screening for Jack L. Warner went very badly for Warren Beatty and Arthur Penn, Warner got up three times to pee. Warner initially dumped the film into drive-in and second run theaters, and apparently went to his grave still hating the film.
For the climactic massacre, Faye Dunaway's leg had to be tied to the gear shift to prevent her from falling completely out of the rocking car.
The real Blanche Barrow sued Warner Brothers over the way she was depicted in the film. In reality, Barrow was the same age as Bonnie Parker, arguably better looking than her, she was not a preacher's daughter, and had married Buck knowing fully well that he was an escaped prisoner and twice divorced.
In a television interview, Director Arthur Penn pointed out that this film showed, for the first time, the firing of a gun, and the consequences in one single take. Before that, you would see a gun being fired, then cut, and the next clip shows the bleeding body. In this movie, you see a gun being fired into the face of a person without inter-cut. This was incredible at the time, and would have been censored in the past. (Such a shot had, however, had already been used in all three of Sergio Leone's "Dollars" trilogy.)
In the movie, Bonnie catches Clyde stealing her mother's car, and that is how they meet. In reality, it is believed that they met when a mutual friend broke her arm, and Bonnie was staying with her to act as caretaker. Clyde happened to come pay the friend a visit, and discovered Bonnie making hot chocolate in the kitchen. It was claimed that it was love at first sight. That was on January 5, 1930 at Clarence Clay's house. The address was 105 Herbert Street in Dallas, Texas.
Warren Beatty requested that the sound of gunshots in the movie should be much louder than the rest of the soundtrack. He was greatly influenced by Shane (1953) in this regard. However, at a screening in London, he noticed that the gunfire sounds were much softer than intended. He went to the projection booth, where the projectionist told he that he had "helped" the film by adjusting the gunfire sounds. The projectionist said that he had not come across a film as poorly mixed since Shane (1953).
In real-life, Blanche Barrow did not run from the Joplin apartment screaming with a spatula. In fact, she helped Clyde push one of the police cars out of the driveway, which was downhill. The car started rolling faster and rolled across the street into a large tree. They were dragged by the momentum, and that is what witnesses saw. Clyde was shot at that time, and Blanche let out one yelp and kept moving to get out of the line of fire. That was about the last shot since the officer shooting ran out of ammo, so Buck called her back and she returned to get into the escape car in front of the apartment rather than being picked up down the street as the movie portrayed.
Near the end of the film, Bonnie and Clyde are lying in bed discussing marriage. In reality, Bonnie was already married. She married her high school sweetheart, Roy Thorton, before meeting Clyde. Thorton was a petty criminal who was sent to prison for life for murder. Despite his conviction, Bonnie never divorced him, and to the day she died, Bonnie Parker was officially "Mrs. Roy Thorton." Bonnie was still wearing Thornton's ring when she was killed.
While it was most likely W.D. Jones' interview with police shortly after his capture that lead to rumors of Clyde being homosexual (as well as Bonnie supposedly being a nymphomaniac), in a November 1968 interview with Playboy Magazine, W.D. claims he does not know where those rumors started. In the interview, he is quoted as saying, "I've heard stories since, that Clyde was homosexual, or, as they say in the pen, a "punk", but they ain't true. Maybe it was Clyde's quiet, polite manner, and his slight build that fooled folks. He was only about five feet, six inches tall, and he weighed no more than one hundred thirty-five pounds. Me and him was about the same size, and we used to wear each other's clothes. Clyde had dark hair that was wavy. He never had a beard. Even when he didn't shave, all he had on his chin was fuzz. Another way that story might have got started was his wearing a wig sometimes when he and Bonnie had to drive through a town where they might be recognized. He wore the wig for a disguise and for no other reason. Clyde never walked right, either. He'd chopped off his big toe and part of the second toe on his left foot when he was in prison, because he couldn't keep up, with the pace the farm boss set, or the story could have come from sensation writers who believed anything dropped on them, and who blew it to proportions that suited their imagination. I knew a lot of convicts the years I was in prison, some of them years on Eastham Farm where Clyde had served his time, and none of them had a story on him being a punk. Matter of fact, nobody, not the police who asked me questions for hours and hours, or the reporters who got in to see me,ever mentioned it. The subject just never come up then. It's just here recently, more than thirty years since Clyde was killed, that I've heard the story. I was with him and Bonnie. I know. It just ain't true."
During one of the bank robberies, Buck Barrow (Gene Hackman) does a leap over the tellers' cage. This was a stunt routinely pulled by John Dillinger, who in turn learned it from watching Douglas Fairbanks in the "Zorro" movies.
The final moment of the field shoot-out, in which the posse surrounds a dying Buck and a hysterical Blanche, is based on the rare "action" photo taken of that moment. In actuality, Blanche was screaming at an officer who had his foot on Buck's wounded head and a gun to his face threatening to shoot him again. She was begging him not to shoot him again, because he was already dying.
Jane Fonda appeared on the December 6, 2012 episode of Bravo's Watch What Happens: Live (2009), and confessed that she auditioned for Bonnie, a role she wanted desperately, and was still angry for losing it to Faye Dunaway, ending decades-long rumors that Fonda had turned down the role.
Roger Ebert had only been a film critic for six months when he saw this film, and hailed it as the first masterpiece he had seen on the job.
The family gathering scene was filmed in Red Oak, Texas. Several local residents were watching the film being shot, when the filmmakers noticed Mabel Cavitt, a local school teacher, among the people gathered. She was chosen then and there to play Bonnie Parker's mother.
In planning her performance, Faye Dunaway wanted to wear slacks as Bonnie Parker, since the character would need to move freely to race in and out of getaway cars. In contrast, Costume Designer Theadora Van Runkle suggested a more glamorous look with long skirts, a beret, and a short jacket. The "Bonnie and Clyde Look" became a fashion rage, and for many years afterwards, Dunaway would insist on having Van Runkle design her costumes.
In reality, Buck Barrow's death was much more brutal. After being shot repeatedly, a police officer stepped on his face and was about to deliver the killer shot before Blanche's screaming alerted him to what he was actually doing.
The infamous climactic shoot-out was filmed with four different cameras, all running at different speeds. The scene itself lasts fifty-four seconds.
The story of Bonnie Parker smoking a cigar in a picture is accurate. She did it as a joke. But after the shoot-out at the bungalow in Joplin, Missouri, police found the photos the gang had taken and published the photo of Bonnie, thereby leading to her unearned rep as a "Cigar Smokin' Gun Moll".
Arthur Penn was particularly fascinated with the way Akira Kurosawa handled violent action and death in his films. In particular, he drew on Kurosawa's balancing of slow motion and real time that he employed in Seven Samurai (1954).
Half a dozen of the cars used in the movie, including the one stolen from Eugene Grizzard (Gene Wilder) were loaned to the studio by a private owner who specialized in the restoration of Model A's, Roadsters, and Model T's, Mr. Seng of Castro Valley, California. His only requirement in loaning the studio his cars was that they were not to be shot up.
According to the film's editor Dede Allen, the climactic massacre was meant to evoke Abraham Zapruder's footage of John F. Kennedy's assassination. As Clyde Barrow (Warren Beatty) goes to the ground in slow-motion, a fragment of his skull is dislodged by a bullet hit, a similar head shot captured by Zapruder's footage of the JFK assassination.
Many consider one of the reasons why the film was so successful was because of its anti-establishment stance. At the time, disillusionment with America's involvement in Vietnam was gaining ground.
Warren Beatty wanted to produce this movie in black and white. This was rejected by Warner Brothers.
Veteran Cinematographer Burnett Guffey, an Oscar winner for From Here to Eternity (1953), had frequent arguments with Arthur Penn over his radical shooting style. Ironically, Guffey went on to win another Oscar for his work on Bonnie and Clyde (1967).
Since this was Estelle Parsons' first film, she was amazed at the extent of the special effects. When she and Gene Hackman attempt an escape from a motel room using a mattress for protection from police gunfire, Parsons was required to crank a concealed wheel that sequentially detonated squibs embedded in the foam, simulating police bullet hits.
In contrast to his infamous womanizing, Warren Beatty did not have an affair with Faye Dunaway. They agreed to remain platonic for the sake of the film.
C.W. Moss (Michael J. Pollard) was a fictional conglomeration of all of Bonnie and Clyde's minor sidekicks including: Ralph Fults (their first sidekick), William Daniel Jones (nicknamed "W.D." and "Deacon", and was an attendant at the gas station owned by Clyde's father), Ray Hamilton, and Henry Methvin (whose father made the deal with Frank Hamer to set Bonnie and Clyde up).
The car, in which the real Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow met their fate, is on display (along with Barrow's bullet-riddled shirt) in Whiskey Pete's Hotel and Casino in Primm, Nevada, I-15 exit 1, one mile from the California border. The prop car used in the film was displayed as part of a "Bonnie and Clyde" diorama at Planet Hollywood, in Dallas, Texas. The Planet Hollywood in Dallas closed in 2001, and the car is now owned by a private collector.
To avoid censorship problems, Warren Beatty held off sending a script to the Production Code Administration (PCA), the industry's self-censorship organization, until just before shooting began. Even so, PCA head Geoffrey Shurlock fought, unsuccessfully, to remove the intimation that Bonnie was nude in the first scene, the suggestion of oral sex in one bedroom scene, and the scene in which a bank teller is shot in the face when he jumps on the getaway car's running board. Later, Beatty had another fight to convince the head of the National Catholic Office of Motion Pictures (the successor to the Legion of Decency) that Faye Dunaway was properly covered when she runs downstairs to meet Beatty in the film's first scene. The official kept insisting that he could see her breasts.
After François Truffaut's departure from the project, the producers approached Jean-Luc Godard. Some sources claim Godard didn't trust Hollywood and refused; other allege he planned to change Bonnie and Clyde to teenagers and relocate the story to Japan, prompting the film's investors to force him off the project.
Unusually for such a graphic and violent film, Arthur Penn intended it to be partly comic, almost like a send-up of the 1930s-era gangster films.
Originally, Writers Robert Benton and David Newman wrote Clyde Barrow as a bisexual (even though he wasn't), a point which they felt was non-negotiable. Warren Beatty had no objections, but Arthur Penn did. He felt that to have Clyde be part gay on top of all the other social dysfunctions featured in the film, would just make the audience think they were watching a bunch of freaks. Benton and Newman couldn't help but agree.
Before deciding to play the role, Producer Warren Beatty's first choice for the role of Clyde Barrow was musician and Composer Bob Dylan, who resembled the actual Barrow more strongly than Beatty.
According to Warren Beatty in the Special Edition DVD documentary, in the death scene, the Make-up Department fixed a fake scalp over his real hair with a line, so that while he was being shot, it would look like his head was being blown off. Beatty said that part of the reason why he had the fruit in his hand, was that's the moment he squeezed the fruit, that was supposed to signal the Make-up Artist to pull the line and rip the scalp off. However, when the scene was being filmed, the artist was so nervous, that he forgot to pull the line. By the same token, Faye Dunaway mentions that the Make-up Artists also put appliances over her face that were also wired, so that when she was being shot they would yank off the flesh colored covers.
Co-Writer Robert Benton got the idea for his script from his father, who had attended the separate funerals of Parker and Barrow.
Jack Nicholson was considered for the role of C.W. Moss. He was deemed too similar to Warren Beatty. He was considered for Buck Barrow.
Heavily influenced by the French New Wave directors, mainly through its rapid shifts of tone and its choppy editing.
The movie portrays Texas Ranger Frank Hamer as a bungler who is humiliated by Bonnie, Clyde, and Buck, being forced to pose for pictures before being set adrift in a rowboat. In reality, Hamer, an already legendary Texas Ranger, came out of semi-retirement at the request of the Texas Governor following the notorious Eastham Prison raid in 1934. He was tasked with hunting down and killing Bonnie and Clyde. He had never met the pair until the fateful ambush. His family were very upset by the portrayal and successfully sued Warner Brothers for an undisclosed sum.
At the time, this was Warner Brothers' second highest grossing film, after My Fair Lady (1964).
When scouting for locations, Production Designer Dean Tavoularis was delighted to see that a lot of the smaller Texas towns hadn't changed much from the 1930s.
Sixteen-year-old Patsy McClenny (the future Morgan Fairchild), who at the time was active in Dallas theatre, had her stand-in (for actress Faye Dunaway) footage left on the cutting room floor.
Warner Brothers gave the movie a limited, "B" movie-type release at first, sending it to drive-ins and lesser theaters. When critics began raving about the film, and young people began to show up at screenings, it was better promoted, given a wider release, and became a huge hit.
After bad notices in The New York Times, Time Magazine, and Newsweek Magazine, what turned things around for the film was a nine thousand-word rave by Pauline Kael, who was just starting her career as a film reviewer. When the magazine for which she regularly wrote, The New Republic, refused to print the lengthy review, she sold it to The New Yorker, which marked the start of her long tenure there. According to rumor, she also got Joe Morgenstern to reevaluate the film in Newsweek Magazine. After initially panning the film, he reported that he had totally missed the point, and gave it a rave.
Gene Hackman regretted his decision to film Buck's death scene in his vest. The scene was shot several times out of sequence. When they came to complete it, winter had set in, and Hackman had to play it in his vest in nearly freezing conditions.
The family gathering scene was filmed in Red Oak, Texas. Several local residents gathered to watch the film being shot. When the filmmakers noticed Mabel Cavitt, a local school teacher, among the people gathered, she was cast as Bonnie Parker's mother.
Cher auditioned for the role of Bonnie Parker, but when her husband and manager at the time, Sonny Bono, heard about the audition, he was furious at Warren Beatty for letting his wife audition for such a "controversial film".
The movie's line "We rob banks" was voted as the #41 movie quote by the American Film Institute (out of 100).
Cinematographer Burnett Guffey was dismissed during this production, due to artistic clashes with Director Arthur Penn (Guffey wanted more light, Penn wanted a more subdued tone). In the meantime, veteran Cinematographer Ellsworth Fredericks replaced Guffey, but only for a brief period. Penn, realizing that he'd misjudged Guffey, ultimately reinstated him, and Guffey went on to win a second Oscar for Best Cinematography for his efforts.
Allegations about Clyde Barrow's homosexuality may have stemmed from the fact that, as an inmate at Texas' Eastham Prison Farm (1930 to 1932), Barrow was repeatedly raped by another male convict. According to Jeff Guinn, author of an authoritative biography of Bonnie and Clyde, Barrow finally killed his assailant by luring him into an isolated area of the prison, and then beating him to death with a lead pipe. It was Barrow's first murder. Another inmate, already serving a life sentence, took the rap for Barrow, who was released from the prison farm in February 1932, a bitter and hardened killer at the age of twenty-two.
C.W. Moss mentions, in the first scene with Buck and Blanche, that Myrna Loy is his favorite movie star. Loy was supposedly a favorite actress of John Dillinger. In fact, when he was gunned down outside the Biograph Theater in Chicago, the film he had just seen was Manhattan Melodrama (1934), in which Loy starred.
In the movie, the Barrow Gang are ambushed in a field near where they escaped the Red Crown police raid. They are shown as being surrounded, with police shooting up both getaway cars. A Deputy crawls out on a bridge and shoots Bonnie before Clyde kills him. In reality, local law enforcement and almost a hundred campers approached the gang, who were too busy tending to Buck's wounds to notice the unwanted company. When they did see the police, Clyde, W.D. Jones, and Bonnie exchanged shots with the police, and escaped on foot. During the escape, Buck was shot in the back, and Blanche was captured while trying to help her husband. Buck is shown dying at the scene in the movie, but in reality, died of pneumonia in an Iowa hospital following surgery for his bullet wounds.
When Warren Beatty and Arthur Penn showed the finished movie to Jack L. Warner, he called it "the longest two hours and ten minutes I ever spent." A few weeks later, he sold his share in the studio to Seven Arts Productions for almost two hundred million dollars, but the new management was no more interested in selling the film. They decided to premiere it at a Texas drive-in, then dump it into second-string theaters. Even when the film had a triumphant preview for industry insiders at the Directors Guild, they refused to change their plans. Finally, Beatty convinced them to premiere the film at the Montreal Film Festival, where the stars were given fourteen curtain calls and a standing ovation, and still, studio management stuck to their original distribution plan.
Leading Newsweek Magazine film critic Joseph Morgenstern hated the film when he first saw it, but then later took the unprecedented step of admitting that his original review was completely wrong. His revised version raved about the film.
Timothy Carey was up for a big part in this film, but Arthur Penn didn't cast him, because he was genuinely afraid of Carey.
The first choice for director, François Truffaut, expressed a keen interest in the project and may have even been involved in the development of the screenplay. However, before filming could begin, the opportunity arose for Truffaut to make Fahrenheit 451 (1966), a long-cherished project of his, and he dropped out to make that film instead.
Costume Designer Theadora Van Runkle had to deal with Warren Beatty's worries (6'4") that he would be upstaged by Faye Dunaway(who stood 5'7"). This is why Van Runkle kept Dunaway in flat shoes throughout the film.
Michael J. Pollard admitted in later interviews that he borrowed his accent from Bob Dylan on the "Blonde on Blonde" album.
Although technically still the only film rated "M" by the MPAA (the early equivalent of the later "PG", introduced in 1973), since this rating no longer exists, all home video and DVD versions released after 1973 are marked "Not Rated". Bonnie and Clyde was released before the ratings so this may be the reason it is labeled unrated. The M rating was used for more than one year, and many movies were given that rating. It was changed to GP in 1970 and then later to PG.
Initially, Warren Beatty refused to have Faye Dunaway billed above the title with him. Even during shooting, he fought efforts to raise her billing. Finally, after the film was shot, he realized how strong an impact she was going to make in the role, and agreed to give her star billing.
Estelle Parsons had been appearing on Broadway in the title role of Tennessee Williams' "The Seven Descents of Myrtle" at the time the Oscar nominations were announced, and had to be whisked out of New York City by Warren Beatty to attend the Los Angeles ceremonies and receive her first Oscar.
With positive attention from the press and the critics, Warren Beatty pressured Warner Brothers to re-release the film. This was an unprecedented move at the time. At first, studio CEO Elliot Hyman said he would only do it if Beatty agreed to a cut in his profit participation. When Beatty threatened to sue, hinting that he knew more about Hyman's business dealings than he did, the bluff worked. The film went back into theaters a few weeks later.
In reality, the bank robbers picked up about three people in their travels. This was merged into one character in the form of C.W. Moss.
The film has a dynamic soundtrack that gets much louder during the gunfights. The British premiere of the film was notable because the projectionist previewed the film and thought the volume changes were a mistake, so he made careful notes for when to turn it up and when to turn it down so that the volume was "corrected."
The idea of shooting the final ambush in slow motion came from Arthur Penn, who wanted to make something more "balletic" out of their death scene. The scene, as written, depicted the shoot-out as a series of stills, with screams and machine gun fire played in the background.
The movie that Bonnie and Clyde go to see after their botched bank robbery when C.W. Moss parallel parked their get away car was Gold Diggers of 1933 (1933).
Ann-Margret was approached to play Bonnie Parker, but negotiations broke down over salary. Tuesday Weld was also offered the role, but had to turn it down because she was pregnant. Natalie Wood turned it down because she didn't want to be separated from her psychoanalyst, with whom she met daily. Other actresses considered included Jean Hale, Carol Lynley, and Sue Lyon.
In 2007, the American Film Institute ranked this as the #42 Greatest Movie of All Time.
Ranked number five on the American Film Institute's list of the 10 greatest films in the genre "Gangster" in June 2008.
Once Warren Beatty came on-board, one of the first things deleted from Robert Benton and David Newman's script was a homosexual affair between Clyde and Moss.
To commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of this movie, Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway were invited to present the award for Best Picture at The Oscars (2017). This led to the infamous moment in which Dunaway mistakenly read out the wrong name La La Land (2016) for Best Picture, instead of the actual winner, Moonlight (2016). This was due to Beatty having been given the wrong envelope by PriceWaterhouseCoopers accountant Brian Cullinan, who had been distracted with sending Tweets on his mobile phone backstage. Dunaway was later overheard at an afterparty saying, "I really f**ked that up, didn't I?"
Jack Warner told Warren Beatty that he would only finance the film if it was filmed in the style of the Warner Brothers 1930s and 1940s gangster movies. When Beatty argued with him, Warner pointed to the water tower that dwarfs the Burbank backlot, and told him that it was his name over the studio, and his name only. Beatty walked over to the window and said to Warner, "They're my initials". Warner relented, but hated the final product.
While they were shooting Bonnie and Clyde's confrontation in the fields after she tries to run away from the gang, a cloud passed over the sun, casting an unexpected shadow over Faye Dunaway's face. Rather than re-shoot the scene, Arthur Penn kept it in as a means of foreshadowing the character's tragic end.
For the climactic ambush, Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway were covered with dozens of squibs embedded in their costumes and make-up and wired to a central control that made them explode in sequence to create the illusion that they were being shot.
Future filmmaker Curtis Hanson, who began his career as a photographer, took a series of modelling photos of Faye Dunaway, which helped to get her the job as Bonnie Parker. According to Hanson on the Special Edition DVD Documentary, when Dunaway came under consideration, Warren Beatty called him and asked him to bring a slide show presentation of the photos to show toBeatty and Arthur Penn. After viewing the photos, Dunaway was cast. According to Hanson, Warren Beatty wanted to pay him for the photos, but Hanson instead asked to accompany them to Texas so he could observe the filming, to which Beatty agreed.
Initially, Arthur Penn went for a realistic depiction of rural life in the 1930s. Many scenes were modelled on Walker Evans' photographs and NRA posters. When he shot Bonnie's reunion with her family, however, he was entranced by the more romantic aspects of the story, and used slow motion and hazy photography to create a dreamlike feeling he would return to for other scenes.
Legendary outlaw John Herbert Dillinger had a very low opinion of Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker, calling them "punks who are giving bank robbers a bad name!"
This was the final movie from Warner Brothers to use the classic WB shield logo until spring 1972. The following month after this movie's release, movies from Warner Brothers had a stylized "W-7" shield to represent the then-recent merge of Warner Brothers and Seven Arts, which lasted until 1970. (The movie is copyrighted to Warner Brothers - Seven Arts, however.)
Faye Dunaway nearly lost the part of Bonnie Parker as she had put on some weight for Hurry Sundown (1967).
During the shoot-out at the Red Crown Tourist Court near Platte City, Missouri, the movie depicts the Barrow Gang gunning down several police officers and blowing up an armored car before making their escape. In reality, it was a short gunfight that ended when a bullet knocked out the armored car's bullhorn. The ceasing of the irritating bullhorn requests to surrender was a prearranged signal for law enforcement to hold fire and stand down to avoid civilian casualties. The Barrows drove away unmolested. No law officers were killed, and the only casualties were Buck, who received his grievous head wound, and Blanche, who took glass shards in her left eye.
Warren Beatty fought to shoot the film on-locations around Texas, partly to create an authentic image of the Barrow Gang's exploits, but also to avoid interference from Warner Brothers executives.
Warren Beatty and Arthur Penn quarrelled constantly during filming, as Beatty questioned almost every one of Penn's choices. As a result, the rest of the cast spent hours waiting for them to settle their differences. One major bone of contention was Penn's insistence, early on, that they add a scene in which Bonnie and Clyde pretend to be dead. Beatty insisted the idea was ridiculously pretentious, but Robert Towne tried to write it anyway. The writer soon realized that Beatty was right, but cautioned him to avoid a confrontation on the matter. In his opinion, Penn was only holding onto the idea out of insecurity, he couldn't admit he was wrong. After a few weeks of filming bolstered Penn's confidence, Towne was sure he'd drop the idea, which is exactly what happened.
To get above-the-title billing, Faye Dunaway had to give back twenty-five thousand dollars of her sixty thousand dollar salary.
Morgan Woodward was originally slated to play Frank Hamer, but he was held up when filming of Cool Hand Luke (1967) fell behind, so the part was given to Denver Pyle.
Warren Beatty offered George Stevens, William Wyler, Karel Reisz, John Schlesinger, Brian G. Hutton, and Sydney Pollack the chance to direct.
Before filming started, Faye Dunaway was told to lose 25 pounds off her 5'7" frame. For weeks she fasted except for an occasional salad and walked around wearing a 12-pound weight belt, with smaller weights around her wrists to help her burn the pounds off faster. She only took the weights off to sleep and bathe.
Screenwriter Robert Towne did uncredited work as a story consultant on the movie. He is featured in interviews for the Special Edition DVD documentary.
Faye Dunaway had tried to get an interview with Arthur Penn when he was directing The Chase (1966), but was rebuffed by a casting director who didn't think she had the right face for the movies. When Penn saw her in scenes from her first picture, The Happening (1967), before its release, he decided to let her read for the role of Bonnie Parker.
Robert Towne accompanied the crew during the location shoot. In part, he was there to do last minute re-writes during filming. But he was also working with Warren Beatty on a script that became Shampoo (1975).
Originally, Warren Beatty intended to cast Leslie Caron, one of his girlfriends at the time, as Bonnie Parker. Then, according to Caron, "He told me bluntly, 'Let's face it, you're too old for me.' That hurt."
On the day the company shot the scene in which Bonnie and Clyde wade through a river after they're shot, a cold front hit Texas. It took three days to film the scene as the actor and actress fought not to shiver while the cameras were rolling.
When François Truffaut was planning to direct, he had hoped for Terence Stamp and Alexandra Stewart to play the leads. He later considered Paul Newman to play Clyde Barrow, with Robert Walker, Jr. as C.W. Moss.
Was Oscar nominated in all the major categories of Best Picture, Director, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor (2 nominations), Supporting Actress and Screenplay, but only won for Best Supporting Actress.
Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider.
Billed as "America's Most Wanted Broadway Musical", "Bonnie & Clyde" was set to open on Broadway at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre in November, 2011, starring Laura Osnes Laura and Jeremy Jordan.
Evans Evans, who played the role of Eugene Grizzard's (Gene Wilder's) girlfriend, was the wife of Director John Frankenheimer.
The only Best Picture Oscar nominee that year to be also nominated for Best Costume Design.