I talked briefly about this film already because it made my top ten Best Directors list too. But consider the astounding cast of this film and the wonderful performances. Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway are both at the absolute height of their respective powers and these are either their best or second best performances; I’d rank both Beatty and Dunaway as better here than anywhere else, but I have to admit that Splendor in the Grass and Chinatown, respectively, occasionally give a moment of doubt. Beatty, in particular, gives a surprising and bold performance, finding the vulnerability and fear inside the legendary outlaw. Then there’s Gene Hackman and Estelle Parker as Clyde’s brother and sister-in-law. Warren’s performance is both hysterical and hysterically funny as the obnoxious, constantly flustered naïf; Hackman’s performance is quite literally a star-making one and he’s like a shot of pure adrenaline into the movie, his energy dialed all the way to eleven. The smaller roles are wonderfully cast and performed as well. Gene Wilder, in both his film debut and also less than year from his star-making turn in The Producers, is hilariously funny as a nervous undertaker that runs afoul of the gang in a wonderful, witty ten minute section of the film. The always brilliant Michael J. Pollard is sweet, funny and charming as the abashed, retiring C.W. Moss and Dub Taylor is genuinely frightening and disturbing in a brief appearance as C.W.’s abusive father. Evans Evans (seriously?) is fine support as Gene Wilder’s neurotic girlfriend. It’s a wonderful cast all told; it’s impossible to picture anyone else in any of the roles. That’s about as perfect as it gets.
Tomorrow, we’ll jump from 1967 up to a more modern movie, albeit not one from 2013. It’s a film anchored by an astonishing lead performance, but everyone else in the movie is basically perfect as well. So, look forward to that.