Censorship In Arthur Penn's Bonnie And Clyde

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Bonnie and Clyde was a film that introduced America to the thrill-seeking life of an outlaw couple, and also was the first American film that seemingly celebrated the criminal lifestyle. Traditionally, films tended to portray criminals as the antagonists, and those trying to stop them as the protagonists. However, Arthur Penn switched the roles of the villain and the hero and created a film in which the audience was meant to sympathize with the outlaws, thus changing the notion that all protagonists had to be of a moral nature. In a sense, Bonnie and Clyde inaugurated a new era in filmmaking due to the fact that it seemed to have been the first film in Hollywood history to forgo censorship. Graphic displays of a sexual, and criminal nature…show more content…
Since 1930, “The church demanded that Hollywood permanently withdraw from circulation films it had viewed as immoral and the local theatre owners be empowered to cancel any film currently in circulation if they judged it to be immoral” (Black 167). The PCA, severely crippled the filmmakers when it came to the pursuit of true expression, because the rules set forth strict restrictions when it came to sexual, linguistic, and criminal behavior. However, artistically speaking, censorship in Hollywood is what “made most Hollywood pictures the emasculated, empty, and meaningless things they are.” (Black 167). With the emergence of Bonnie and Clyde in 1967, the PCA was disbanded in 1968. It is my opinion, that Bonnie and Clyde was a true catalyst in the New Hollywood Era because it was the first film that did not follow society’s traditions and rules. The graphic nature of the film’s aesthetics and themes of criminality were thrilling and fresh to the younger generation. However, suffice to say the older generation had difficulty readjusting to this new form of expression. Whereas the youth related more to the deeper meaning and plotlines of the story, the elderly viewed it as a mere attack to traditional values and already existing

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