The Clutter murders shocked the entire country when they happened in 1959, just as Truman Capote’s “non-fictional novel” on the subject shocked the literary world. This movie adaptation of Capote’s novel is brutally realistic, sketching out the characters of the two killers—particularly Robert Blake as Perry Smith, in full detail. It’s one of the few movies based on true stories that doesn’t “clean up” what actually happened to make it easier for audiences to swallow—we see the killers carry out their brutal and completely senseless murders, and then we’re made to (or almost made to, depending on your constitution) with them. That’s the kind of thing that happens in real life, not in the movies.
The bank-robbing pair of Bonnie and Clyde were folk heroes during their reign of, uh, terror(?) in the 1930s, so why wouldn’t they eventually have a movie made about them? This movie is filled with true-to-life historical details, and even includes some actual bits of poetry written by Bonnie and sent to newspapers of the period. And the famous ending, which shows Bonnie and Clyde eviscerated by police officers’ bullets, was perhaps the first scene in Hollywood history to show violence in such a realistic way.