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
They met in 1930. She was stark naked, yelling at him out the window while he tried to steal her mother's car. In a matter of minutes they robbed a store, fired a few shots and then stole somebody else's car. At that point they had not yet been introduced. See more »
Prologue: "Bonnie Parker, born in Rowena Texas, 1910 and then moved to west Dallas. In 1931 she worked in a cafe before beginning her career in crime. Clyde Barrow, was born to a family of sharecroppers. As a young man he became a small-time thief and robbed a gas station. He served two years for armed robbery and was released on good behavior in 1931." See more »
About 50 minutes into the film Bonnie tells Clyde to pull the car over. Clyde drives into a field and they both get out, walk a way behind the car and start squabbling about getting rid of Buck's wife. Bonnie's hair is messed up and a few strands are draped back to front and more hair is hanging down the middle of her face. Scene cuts to Clyde momentarily then right back to Bonnie - with her hair out of her face and the back to front strands are gone. See more »
You know Clyde, I read about you all in the papers, and I just get scared.
Now Ms. Parker, don't you believe what you read in all them newspapers. That's the law talkin' there. They want us to look big so they gonna look big when they catch us. And they ain't gonna catch us. 'Cause I'm even better at runnin' than I am at robbin' banks! Shoot, if we'd done half that stuff they said we'd done in that paper, we'd be millionaires by now, wouldn't we? But Ms. Parker, this here's the way we know best ...
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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 & Clyde stands today as one of the most important films of the 60s, it's impact on culture alone marks it out as a piece of work to note, but as gangster films go this one is something of a landmark. Quite how writers Newman & Benton managed to craft a story of two deadbeat outlaws into cinematic heroes is up for any individual viewers scrutiny, but they bloody well do it because we all want to be in the Barrow gang, because we get lost in this romanticised outlawish tale unfolding in front of our eyes.
The film is a fusion of incredible violence and jaunty slapstick, and smartly pauses for delicate moments to let us into the psyche of the main protagonists. We know they have hangups, and with that we know they are fallible human beings, and this sets us up a treat for the incredible jaw dropping finale, the impact of this finale hits as hard now as it did back with the audience's of 1967.
The cast are incredible, Warren Beatty gives a truly brilliant performance as Clyde, he looks good and suave tooting those guns, but it's in the tender troubled scenes where he excels supreme. Faye Dunaway as Bonnie is the perfect foil for Beatty's layers, she nails every beat of this gangsters troubled moll. Gene Hackman, Michael J Pollard and Estelle Parsons put the cherry on the icing to give depth and range to the rest of the Barrow gang, and these fine actors are clothed in gorgeous cinematography courtesy of Burnett Guffrey. To round out the plaudits I finish with love for director Arthur Penn, because it's his vision that gives us something of a nostalgic movie that plays up and down with its subjects with cheeky aplomb, in fact it's just like the banjo music that features so prominently throughout this wonderful film.
Nominated for 9 Oscars it won just the two, the entire actors who played the Barrow gang were nominated, and truth be told they all would have been worthy winners, as it is they gave out just the one to the least strongest performance from Estelle Parsons, go figure. Its legacy both in culture and box office lives on and for me Bonnie & Clyde is not only one of the best films of the 60s, it's also one of the best in history. 10/10
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