Dec 16

AFI rated the movie” Bonnie and Clyde” as one of the top 100 movies ever made and I wholeheartedly agree with their assessment.  In my opinion, “Bonnie and Clyde” was one of the best if not the best movies we have seen in class this semester.  This movie exhibits many different elements that would classify it as quality cinema. For example, the movie has, action, love, despair, and death.  One of the main reasons why I enjoyed this movie is because, Arthur Penn (director) was not afraid to break away from the common practices in Hollywood.  Penn used sex and death in a way no ever had.  Also, I appreciated the fact that Penn for the most part, kept the movie historically accurate, to the story of Bonnie and Clyde.

“Bonnie and Clyde “ is based upon the real life story of Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow who were bandits in the 1930’s.  The story begins when Clyde who tries to steal Bonnie’s mom’s car after he gets out of jail.  Instead of calling the police on Clyde for grand theft auto, she finds his robbery attempt rather interesting.  The two talk, and Clyde convinces Bonnie to leave her boring job and life and go on the road with him committing crimes.

Their crime spree starts off small by robbing small stores, but their crimes escalate with the addition of other people into their gang.  The first addition is C W Moss who was a gas attendant. They felt he would be essential not only to aid in committing crimes, but also fixing cars is his specialty and bank robbers need a getaway car.  The other person that elevates their crimes to another level is Clyde’s brother Buck and his wife.  The crew starts robbing banks instead of the small stores.

Things seemed to be going well, until Clyde had to shoot a bank manager, who was trying to stop their car from fleeing the scene.  This earns the gang notoriety with y the police.  Additionally, they gain more publicity when they embarrass a ranger, by making him take pictures with them, and then set him adrift on a boat in the middle of the water.  The police try to capture the group on a number of occasions, but they are unsuccessful. On one occasion, when the gang was least expecting it, the police opened fire. Buck is injured and ultimately dies, Buck’s wife is captured, and Bonnie, Clyde and C W are all injured.  The three of them flee to C W’s father’s house, which would lead to the end of Bonnie and Clyde.  C W’s father helps the police set up Bonnie and Clyde, so that his son would a more lenient punishment.  Bonnie and Clyde are ambushed trying to help C W’s father fix a tire and are brutally killed.

This movie broke many Hollywood rules of that time and opened the door to more action and violence in movies than ever before.  Never before in any movie was there a death scene similar to the one in this movie.  The audience actually gets to see every bullet that was shot by the police hit the couple and the blood that poured out of them.  In addition, the audience experiences two obvious sexual references that were not exhibited on that scale in any other film at the time.  I feel that by breaking many of the traditional rules of Hollywood Penn led the way for modern day directors to try and explore with new ideas.

Most of this film is factually accurate to the true story of Bonnie and Clyde.  I believe that if a director wants to portray past events the most important thing he needs to do is to make the movie as accurate as possible.  Penn in this movie did just that, but he also added elements that made the story believable and more enjoyable.  Every time the crew went on a crime spree, they were never injured and always managed to escape, except for one time where they got unexpectedly raided.  By having Bonnie and Clyde successful never getting hurt, Penn tries to get the audience to side with Bonnie and Clyde, and even cheer for them even though they robbed banks and killed many people.  Additionally, the incident of the ranger being humiliated is not factual.  The ranger who they supposedly embarrassed, in actuality were a legendary ranger and never saw Bonnie and Clyde until he ambushed them.  I feel that by having how Bonnie and Clyde tie the ranger, making him take pictures with them and sending him adrift on the water, added humor to the movie. “Bonnie and Clyde” is one of AFI’s top 100 movies and one of my top movies as well.

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media studies