When Warren Beatty tried to convince Warner Bros. to make a film out of the brief, brutal lives of Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow, the studio balked. It might have been a true story, but the tale of two homicidal hoodlums and their gang rampaging through the Depression didn't sound like a good bet. In the end, however, Beatty prevailed and in 1967, the film, directed by Arthur Penn, won two Academy Awards.
Starring Beatty as Clyde and Faye Dunaway as Bonnie, it's considered by some to be one of the most influential movies of its era. The sex, violence and dark humor were ground-breaking at the time. But what really makes "Bonnie and Clyde" feel perpetually contemporary is its depiction of two charming, charismatic, media-hungry psychopaths introducing a new brand of celebrity killer to the American landscape.
Bonnie and Clyde didn't become famous by accident. They documented themselves with the portable hi-tech device of the time — a camera. Pre-Instagram era, the duo mailed their pics to the papers along with the ballads Bonnie wrote. They posed smiling with guns and cigars and the cops they captured.
The film is a not-so-exaggerated analogue for our own gun-loving, media-saturated era populated by social-media celebs who go to absurd lengths to be famous. We've all slipped down the rabbit hole Bonnie and Clyde dug nearly a century ago [source: Ebert].