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'Bonnie and Clyde' director Arthur Penn dies

Arthur Penn, a television and film director best known for the 1967 bank heist flick "Bonnie and Clyde," has died. He was 88.

Mr. Penn was the younger brother of acclaimed portrait photographer Irving Penn, who died Oct. 7, 2009.

Many critics wrote that "Bonnie and Clyde" was a revolutionary mix of raucous comedy, blood spurting violence, and gun stroking sexuality.

Starring Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway, the film was marketed by Warner Brothers under the tag line: "They're young. They're in love. They kill people."

The film was based on two small time 1930s criminals and had previously unseen levels of gore and eroticism.

In one moment, a bank teller's face is blown off with a shotgun blast and in another Bonnie fondles the barrel of Clyde's gun.

Nominated for ten Academy Awards, the movie only won two, for cinematography and best supporting actress.

Still, film critic Roger Ebert wrote in the Chicago Sun Times that "Bonnie and Clyde," was "a milestone in the history of American movies."

A full obituary is on the way. In the meantime, please leave your thoughts and memories of the director below.

Also, what's your favorite scene in the movie?

By T. Rees Shapiro  | September 29, 2010; 11:51 AM ET
Categories:  T. Rees Shapiro  | Tags:  Arthur Penn, Bonnie and Clyde, Faye Dunaway, Irving Penn, Warren Beatty  
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My mother and father took the family (2 sisters and a brother) to see Bonnie and Clyde in 1967. We still laugh about that to this day ... and we didn't leave either -- my mother says that of course, she had no idea. My 50th birthday was celebrated in April and I still hold this movie dear to my heart. I don't have a copy of it but whenever I can catch it on cable I watch -- it will always thrill me.

Posted by: gordonj1 | September 29, 2010 2:24 PM | Report abuse

To this day, whenever I have to proclaim my bravery, I say, "I ain't afraid, if that's what's yer thinkin'"...and think of Michael J. Pollard as C.W. Moss at the gas station where he meets Bonnie and Clyde.
That movie gets better every time I see it.

Posted by: cjbass55 | September 29, 2010 2:34 PM | Report abuse

wasn't he a true commie?

Posted by: julcubdish | September 29, 2010 2:37 PM | Report abuse

"Dirt...dirt in the fuel line just blowed it away."

Posted by: wydafish | September 29, 2010 2:47 PM | Report abuse

I think the most memorable scene in "Bonnie and Clyde" occurs when Bonnie decides to run away to see her mother. Clyde spots her in a field and runs in pursuit. As he does, the camera shows both of them in the field as a cloud passes over and the sunlight briefly darkens. I always wondered if that was happenstance, or intentional. In any case, given the ending, that scene has an ominous quality to it.

For anyone interested in reading about the making of this film and four others that all premiered in 1967, I highly recommend the book "Pictures at a Revolution" by Mark Harris.

Posted by: MillPond2 | September 29, 2010 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Although Bonnie and Clyde is truly a great American movie, Little Big Man was my favorite of Penn's films. It was also a wonderful combination of humor and violence, and portrayed the culture of the Plains Indian and its destruction. Again, excellent performances by a cast of talented actors, which is a sign of a great director. This film was highly underrated and, I think, one of the best Westerns ever. His talent will be missed, but I hope it will inspire others that follow him. PS. It also contains one of the great movie lines "It is a good day to die"

Posted by: riswest | September 29, 2010 5:57 PM | Report abuse

I've read a fairly decent book "Go Down Together" about Bonnie and Clyde. Blanche, Buck's wife in her later years stated "That movie made me look like a screaming horse's a**". Great movie, though.

Posted by: Alex511 | September 29, 2010 6:24 PM | Report abuse

Bonnnie and Clyde, Little Big Man...Mr. Penn opened a door to a more complete and purposeful representation of verite in American cinema.

Posted by: jato11 | September 30, 2010 7:56 AM | Report abuse

Little Big Man is still my favorite movie. Many great scenes and great lines including the above mentioned "It is a good day to die."

Also, Mrs. __, I sure wish you had come after me back then. And the Custer scene, where he says he is saying they are out there because they're not, but that is what he really wants me to believe, so they are probably not over that hill.

Bonnie and Clyde: my favorite scene was when Bonnie first met Clyde. She was up in her room getting dressed and she came down to talk with him. I've been in love with Faye Dunaway ever since.

Posted by: whatt | September 30, 2010 10:47 PM | Report abuse

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