The first installment of the two-part miniseries aired Sunday night and drew 9.8 viewers, making it the third-highest rated cable miniseries since 2006. Hatfields & McCoys and The Bible drew 14 million and 13.1 million respective viewers on their first nights.
Emile Hirsch and Holliday Grainger play the notorious outlaws, though A&E's version takes certain liberties with their true history.
Boston Herald critic Mark Perigard questioned the History channel's decision to air a film that portrays Bonnie as a "femme fatale" and Clyde as a prescient man who wants to start a family.
"You expect this sort of half-hearted attention to reality from Lifetime, but History, really?" Perigard wrote.
"We weren’t interested in doing a documentary," co-writer John Rice told The Wrap.
Even the best documentary isn’t actually true with a capital T. There’s opinions and points of view. Ultimately, we’re dramatists and we’re trying to tell a story. We don’t just want to write down the facts. Hell, anyone can do that. We’re interested in telling a tale, taking people on a ride and we think we did.