1934. Young adults Bonnie Parker, a waitress, and Clyde Barrow, a criminal just released from prison, are immediately attracted to what the other represents for their life when they meet by chance in West Dallas, Texas. Bonnie is fascinated with Clyde's criminal past, and his matter-of-factness and bravado in talking about it. Clyde sees in Bonnie someone sympathetic to his goals. Although attracted to each other physically, a sexual relationship between the two has obstacles. They decide to join forces to embark on a life of crime, holding up whatever establishments, primarily banks, to make money and to have fun. They don't plan on hurting anyone or killing despite wielding loaded guns. They amass a small gang of willing accomplices, including C.W. Moss, a mechanic to fix whatever cars they steal which is important especially for their getaways, and Buck Barrow, one of Clyde's older brothers. The only reluctant tag-along is Buck's nervous wife, Blanche Barrow, a preacher's daughter....Written by
Warren Beatty fought to shoot the film on-locations around Texas, partly to create an authentic image of the Barrow Gang's exploits, but also to avoid interference from Warner Brothers executives. See more »
While fleeing Texas law enforcement after a bank robbery, the gang drives into Oklahoma on dry land instead of over a bridge, as one might expect. The substantial Red River forms the boundary between Oklahoma and the parts of Texas (northeast and north-central) in which they were active criminals. The dry-land section of the Texas-Oklahoma boundary lies to the north and east of the Texas "Panhandle" which is quite far (about 200 miles at the least) from any of their known bank robberies. See more »
[Blanche wants a cut of the loot]
Well why not? I earned my share same as everybody. Well, I coulda got killed same as everybody. And I'm wanted by the law same as everybody... I'm a nervous wreck and that's the truth. I have to take sass from Miss Bonnie Parker all the time. I deserve mine.
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Several scenes (most of which can be read in the film's script) were shot but removed or altered for various reasons, either for content or to keep the running time under two hours. These scenes are, in chronological order:
The earliest versions had Clyde shooting and killing the butcher during their fight. This was toned down to Clyde just shooting the butcher, and finally just pistol whipping him. In real life, speculation still exists as to whether Clyde Barrow actually committed the crime this is based on; although his photo was picked out, the method in which it was executed doesn't fit his MO. In the final cut, there is a brief jump in the film during the fight, where it was spliced from the original, more graphic conclusion.
After picking up C.W., Clyde and Bonnie take him to a diner where they plan their next robbery.
After Clyde kills Doyle Johnson (the man on the running board), Bonnie talks with CW in the bathroom while Clyde cleans his guns and laments his actions. In the bathroom CW bathes and Bonnie attempts to seduce him, but changes her mind when CW proves to be less than romantic material. A still from this scene-- Bonnie wearing a slip and Clyde's hat-- can be seen on the DVD.
A longer scene of Buck and Blanche's approach to the motor lodge. Buck is singing Bible hymns and Blanche scolds him for bringing her to see Clyde.
A longer version of Bonnie's visit home; she sits in the car and her sister gives her a perm (a portion of this-- Bonnie on the running board getting her hair put up-- exists in the final film).
A very long sequence in which Bonnie and Clyde get drunk and come to terms with their impending death. They trash their room and rip out the mattress from their bed, turning it into a makeshift coffin. They then put on their best clothes and put makeup on each other so they can see what they will look like when they're dead. The scene concludes with Bonnie and Clyde dancing around CW by candlelight and chanting "The Hearse Song."
During the Platte City raid, C.W. uses a machine gun to attack the armored car instead of grenades.
The final shootout, in its earliest form, was done entirely with still photos shown over sounds of machine gun fire and screams, and we never actually saw Bonnie or Clyde dead. The movie ended with the two farmers running towards the car while "Foggy Mountain Breakdown" Played in the background.
'Bonnie and Clyde' is not a film about two real people famous for so many bank robberies and murders across the big country... It shows a new kind of fury in which people could be harm by weapons... The film, however, manages to carry the impression that these two youngsters took great pleasure in robbing banks and stores... It also suggests that it was very easy for them to fool the lawas certainly occurred in real life... Though merited punishment caught up with them, audiences laughed at their remarkable deeds and wanted them to get away...
In 'Bonnie and Clyde,' Penn created an emotional state, an image of the 1930s filtered through his 1960s sensibility... The sense of this period reflects Penn's vision of how the 1930s Depression-era truly was, and for all the crazy style and banjo score, this vision is greatly private...
What is also personal about 'Bonnie and Clyde' and constitutes its incomparable quality, is its unusual mixture of humor and fear, its poetry of violation of the law as something that is gaiety and playfulness...
'Bonnie and Clyde' is both true and abstract... It is a gangster movie and a comedy-romance... It is an amusing film that turns bloody, a love affair that ends with tragedy...
A modification between pleasure and catastrophic events is important to the essential aim of the film... In their second bank robbery, a daring and joyful action goes morosely embittered when Clyde is forced to kill an executive in the bank, and real blood pours out from his body...
Bonnie and Clyde take self-gratification posing for photographs with their prisoners But when surrounded by detectives in a motel, they turn into vindictive bandits struggling for their lives... C. W. Moss, specially, brings to mind Baby Face Nelson, when he murders policemen with a blazing machine gun...
One of the stimulating moments in the film happens when Clyde chases Bonnie through a yellow corn field, while a cloud transverses the sun and slowly shadows the landscape... Here the characteristic quality of the Texas countryside and the vague aspect of the story are beautifully communicated......
Penn's masterpiece nominated for ten Academy Awards, including Best Picture, won two Oscars, one for Best Actress in a Supporting Role and another for Best Cinematography...
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