Bonnie and Clyde

Bored with life and looking for adventure, Bonnie Parker (Faye Dunaway) meets the man of her dreams, Clyde Barrow (Warren Beatty), right outside her bedroom window. In order to impress the girl, Clyde holds up a local store, marking the start of a vicious crime spree that sweeps the Depression-ravaged South in the 1930s.

Bonnie and Clyde was not supposed to be a successful film. Released in August, 1967, it was pulled from the theaters after coming under attack by critics such as The New York Times' Bosley Crowther, who called it "a cheap piece of bald-faced slapstick."

But much like the hits of today, critical acclaim isn't everything. Young moviegoers fell in love with the film, and by December, Time magazine put the movie on its cover. The following month, the film was nominated for 10 Academy Awards and launched the careers of Faye Dunaway, Gene Hackman, and Estelle Parsons (who won the 1967 Best Supporting Actress nod for her role as Blanche). It would also serve as the vehicle for establishing Warren Beatty as a filmmaker.

Meticulously restored by Warner, Bonnie and Clyde probably hasn't looked this good since its debut in theaters over 40 years ago. The VC-1 presentation preserves the grain structure of the original cinematography with detail and depth surpassing what should be expected from a film this old. The color saturation really blew me away, causing the image to "pop" right off the screen, even with the subdued Depression-era color palette. Warner has a great track record of restoring old films, and Bonnie and Clyde is another notch on its belt.

Although a new video master was used for this disc, the audio elements were limited to the original mono soundtrack, and the resulting sound is less than impressive. Volume levels are inconsistent throughout, with dialog-driven scenes on the low side and action scenes loud and harsh. As expected, all the action takes place in the center speaker with little to no surround ambience, but the sound is good enough to support the action on the screen.

This was one of the first films to make its way to DVD back in 1997; it didn't even have any bonus features. Befitting its classic heritage, Warner has included a number of bonus features on this disc, such as the documentary "Revolution! The Making of Bonne and Clyde," a History Channel program called "Love and Death: The Story of Bonnie and Clyde," two deleted scenes (with no audio), a wardrobe test by Warren Beatty, and a couple of trailers from the film, all in standard definition.

Of special note is Warner's first foray into the "book" type of special-edition packaging. The case itself is stiff cardboard with a plastic insert for the disc. It also includes a 35-page book that is bound inside the front cover and offers production details, cast biographies, and some press clippings from 1967. This is a cool addition to the disc and a good read to boot!

I can see why Bonnie and Clyde was considered a very violent film in its day, but compared to what we see in cinema today, I found it tame. The restoration is nothing less than spectacular, and it translates well to Blu-ray. If you are a movie collector, there is no reason not to add this to your library. For those with casual interest who have never seen the film, add it to your Netflix queue or take a trip to your local Blockbuster—it is definitely worth it.

Release Date: March 25, 2008

Film: 8 out of 10
Picture: 9 out of 10
Sound: 4 out of 10

Review System

Sony PlayStation 3

JVC DLA-RS1 projector
Stewart FireHawk screen (76.5" wide, 16:9)

Onkyo Pro PR-SC885 pre/pro
Anthem PVA-7 power amplifier
Belkin PF60 power conditioner

M&K S-150s (L, C, R)
M&K SS-150s (LS, RS, SBL, SBR)
SVS PC-Ultra subwoofer

Monoprice HDMI cables (source to pre/pro)
Best Deal analog-audio cables
PureLink HDC Fiber Optic HDMI Cable System (15 meters) from pre/pro to projector