Upon its release in 1967, Bonnie and Clyde was given mediocre or negative reviews by much of the mainstream press. It looked like it was going to be a failure until Warren Beatty urged critics to give it another look. Beatty starred in the film and also helped secure much of the funding for it when things were looking grim. Upon second consideration, many of the critics changed their opinions of the film, and it became a financial and critical success. This was significant because it was one of the first American films to be influenced by the French New Wave.
The film broke new ground in a variety of ways. The graphic violence (especially in the end) depicted in the film was some of the most gruesome ever shown up to that point in any major film. This led to controversy about the effect of violence in cinema. The film also addressed issues of impotency- which was unheard of at the time in the film world. It was especially effecting because it showed the main male character Clyde (Warren Beatty) as the one with problems "performing." It also showed scenes with Bonnie and Clyde in bed together, which some of the public found inappropriate. Of course, many also loved the film and today it is generally considered a classic.