The 1960s represented a powerful awakening, shift, and revolution in American culture, with Hollywood being no stranger to those events. As the Hays Code's grasp on American cinema continued to erode, films that exploded into new territory emerged, with one standing at the forefront of the revolution.
Though "Bonnie and Clyde" is based on the story of the real-life oultaw couple, it's very much a microcosm of the 1960s and the complex evolution of culture that defined the generation. The 60s were of course very much about the loss of innocence and the embrace of things that were previously kept behind closed doors or simply unacknowledged and that, coupled with the death of the Hays Code, pervasive anti-establishment sentiments, and a tension between the younger and older generations and government forces created a perfect storm of which the film became a cultural vehicle, very suddenly rewriting (or simply destroying) the standards of decency and explicit expression that had previously held a tight grip on cinema. As this impressive video essay from Screen Prism shows, the film was a perfect culmination of timing, relevancy, and content, leading to its lasting impact even 50 years later.
[via No Film School]